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Mourning with a female heart? grief and gender in the late eighteenth century

Camden House
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  • European Cultures And Languages


Book synopsis: The theme of women and death is pervasive in the German culture of the past five centuries. With the conviction that only an interdisciplinary approach can explore a typology as far-reaching and significant as this, and in accordance with the feminist tenet that images are accountable for norms, this volume investigates how iconic representations of women and death came about and why they endure. Traditionally, representations of women as agents of death -- when they have been considered at all -- have been considered separately from women as victims, as though there was no shared thematic ground. Here, familiar depictions of female victims are examined alongside the more unsettling spectacle of women as killers, exposing cultural assumptions. Essays explore, among others, the themes of virgin sacrifice and female infanticides, "Death and the Maiden" in art, female vampires in literature, and women killers in the media. Others compare cultural practices such as female mourning across historical contexts, examining change and the reasons for it. The authors' judgments eschew the simplistic and programmatic, contributing not just to current research in German literature, but also to understanding of cultural history in general.

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