EVENT: CHH Annual Lecture | “Polarities of the Body,” by Paola Spinozzi

Here’s a January event to put in your diaries for next year:

Polarities of the Body in Literature, the Visual Arts, and Medicine
Paola Spinozzi | Department of Humanistic Studies, University of Ferrara

Wednesday 31st January 2018
Council Room, Strand Campus
King’s College London

Ir•regularity, as•symmetry, and im•balance inform our perceptions of the body. While referring to a physical material body, corporeality also evokes what is extracorporeal, immaterial, and intangible. Excess and defect, illness, flaws, and decay are perceived as structural as well as symbolic deviations from a sense of archetypal proportion and beauty, health and fitnessClassical / ideal / normal / normative / disabled / deformed / deviant / aging / transgendered will be explored as categories of thought and representation gaining momentum at specific times in history. The aim is not to illustrate how the body has been perceived in various centuries. Rather, it is to identify which conceptual polarities have triggered specific early modern to contemporary appreciations of the body in literature, the visual arts, and medicine.

Dying Gaul, 1st or 2nd century AD, Roman marble copy of a lost Hellenistic bronze sculpture, Musei Capitolini, Rome.

The works of Thomas More, Andreas Vesalius, Thomas Browne, Jonathan Swift, William Hogarth, William Morris, Virginia Woolf and Antonia Byatt will be explored to illustrate how they have been able to capture the physical and metaphysical polarities around which certain ways of thinking the body would take shape, proliferate, and mutate in scientific and humanistic thought.

Smugglerius, 1834, plaster cast copy by William Pink after Agostino Carlini & William Hunter bronze, Edinburgh College of Art.


We hope to see you for the lecture, which will be followed by a wine reception. If you have any questions, please contact centre administrator James Rakoczi.


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