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The Severed Head: Capital Visions

3.62  ·  Rating details ·  50 Ratings  ·  4 Reviews
Informed by a provocative exhibition at the Louvre curated by the author, The Severed Head unpacks artistic representations of severed heads from the Paleolithic period to the present. Surveying paintings, sculptures, and drawings, Julia Kristeva turns her famed critical eye to a study of the head as symbol and metaphor, as religious object and physical fact, further devel ...more
Hardcover, 176 pages
Published December 20th 2011 by Columbia University Press (first published 1998)
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Aug 06, 2013 rated it did not like it
Julia Kristeva‘s 2012 book "The Severed Head" accompanied an exhibition at the Louvre by the same title. I read this text to support a series of artworks which appropriate or parody art history; the blatant misogyny which motivated and colored paintings of Biblical women are a tempting target for this project.

Kristeva’s chapter on the guillotine, its development, and its continuing influence on French thought was the strongest part of "The Severed Head." Irony was particularly compelling in Robe
A remarkable examination of culture's fascination with severed heads. Kristeva begins with pre-Homo sapiens skull cults, and makes a very convincing argument that Freud failed to see the feminine in the totemic meal. If, for Freud, the eating of the father's brains signified the sons' desire to assimilate his power, for Kristeva it signifies both this as well as the primal infant's orality in coming to terms with the disappearance of the mother, prior to language and acculturation. So the head i ...more
Feb 16, 2014 rated it liked it
Kristeva looks at the symbolism and history of decapitation by looking at how decapitated heads have been used in art and literature.
Jan 08, 2017 rated it liked it
Interesting for sure and the history presented within is fascinating, but Kristeva is in fact a serious Freudian which I just can't get behind.
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Julia Kristeva is a French psychoanalyst, sociologist, critic and philosopher. She researches on psychoanalysis of the Lacanian tradition, and has interest in semiotics. She also founded the Simone de Beauvoir Prize.
More about Julia Kristeva

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