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Severed: A History of Heads Lost and Heads…
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Severed: A History of Heads Lost and Heads Found (vuoden 2014 painos)

– tekijä: Frances Larson

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioMaininnat
2056104,162 (3.88)12
The human head is exceptional. It accommodates four of our five senses,encases the brain, and boasts the most expressive set of muscles in the body.It is our most distinctive attribute and connects our inner selves to the outerworld. Yet there is a dark side to the head's preeminence, one that has, in the courseof human history, manifested itself in everything from decapitation to headhunting.So explains anthropologist Frances Larson in this fascinating history of decapitatedhuman heads. From the Western collectors whose demand for shrunken headsspurred massacres to Second World War soldiers who sent the remains of the Japanesehome to their girlfriends, from Madame Tussaud modeling the guillotined headof Robespierre to Damien Hirst photographing decapitated heads in city morgues,from grave-robbing phrenologists to skull-obsessed scientists, Larson explores ourmacabre fixation with severed heads.… (lisätietoja)
Jäsen:glassWizard60
Teoksen nimi:Severed: A History of Heads Lost and Heads Found
Kirjailijat:Frances Larson
Info:Granta Books, Kindle Edition, 260 pages
Kokoelmat:Oma kirjasto
Arvio (tähdet):*****
Avainsanoja:misc

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Severed: A History of Heads Lost and Heads Found (tekijä: Frances Larson)

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Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 6) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
What I thought was going to be entertaining stories of beheadings and found heads, was not. After an interesting story about Oliver Cromwell’s head, the book moved into a look at racism and the philosophical and moral issues of what is a person, where does that person actually reside, why is it emotionally difficult for some people to dissect heads, the historical perspective and moral philosophy of whether it is torture to experiment and see if people feel things after beheading... blah blah blah. Half the stories didn’t even focus on heads, but around other body parts. I was looking for interesting and got long-winded, boring, and pretentious. It was a struggle to finish. Don’t be fooled by the catchy title like I was. ( )
  Monkeypats | Jun 1, 2021 |
This was certainly an interesting book. Yes, gory at times. This seems to be more about heads kept after they were cut off. We tend to think about cut off heads being about other times and places. Larson leads us through how those distanced heads may not be as far away as we thought, right up to today's dissecting labs and the practice of freezing heads in the hope that someday it might be possible to resurrect the person. ( )
  MarthaJeanne | Jan 5, 2021 |
This is a book on the social history of decapitation, which is rather more widespread than you might imagine. Starting with a rundown of the indignities heaped on the (severed) head of Oliver Cromwell after his death - kept on a spike for years, stolen, traded and passed around - Larson then goes on to cover various aspects of the way Western society has viewed the act of decollation and the resultant cranium.

And this is about how the Western (largely European and American) culture has both informed the view of the practices and, indeed, affected it. We start with a chapter on the vogue for early anthropologists and collectors to seek out those 'savage' tribesmen who took severed heads as part of their culture, in South America and New Guinea among other places, and how the act of seeking out and collecting these 'cultural artefacts' completely changes the behaviour of the people concerned, almost entirely for the more murderous; the Shuar tribe of Peru, who collected a small number of heads and shrunk them as part of rituals to obtain the glory of that individual massively increased production when offered valuable trade goods by European anthropologists, as did the Maori in New Zealand and others in New Guinea - although many more also referred to these strange white men as 'headhunters' due to their habit of going around asking the locals if they could procure severed heads. Subsequently, a good proportion of those shrunken and tattooed heads in various museum collections, rather than being those of 'native warriors' are those of innocent people, creations made purely for the procurement of incredibly valuable trade goods. Larson continues the chapter tracing the changing attitude toward these collections.

Each subsequent chapter follows a similar pattern, taking a specific aspect of the topic from its inception through its history to the most up-to-date perspective - the guillotine, trophy heads (largely in the Pacific Theatre in WWII), art and medicine - often referring back to previous entries (often done subtly but occasionally with clumsy repetition), the author weaves together stories that are interesting in themselves on a theme that opens up some thought-provoking avenues. I guarantee that some of the ideas - as well as some of the images - will stay with me long after the final page. ( )
  Pezski | Jun 21, 2020 |
This is an engaging study of the place of disembodied heads in Western culture. The severed head has myriad manifestations: anthropological speciman, war trophy, medical subject, sainted relic. In all cases, there is something disquieting about it, something that calls into question where our self resides, where life begins and ends.

All these topics are touched upon in a text that is lively and avoids repetition. The subject is disturbing and I spent one long night trying to purge the imagery from my consciousness, but the book is well worth reading for showing a problematic corner of our civilization. Like the dusty cabinets and formaldehyde-filled jars that preserve these heads, decapitation is simultaneously repugnant and alluring. ( )
  le.vert.galant | Nov 19, 2019 |
Great book. Original and well written. Also very learned, but accessible. Each chapter has its own theme and disciplinary approach, ranging from art history to medical history and postcolonialism. You can read them separately but I would not recommend doing that. Taken together they offer you an enjoyable introduction to the anthropology of things and their agency so in the end it's not about human heads: it's about humans and what humanity is all about. ( )
  Rudolf | Apr 13, 2017 |
Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 6) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
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Josiah Wilkinson liked to take Oliver Cromwell's head to breakfast parties.
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Englanninkielinen Wikipedia

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The human head is exceptional. It accommodates four of our five senses,encases the brain, and boasts the most expressive set of muscles in the body.It is our most distinctive attribute and connects our inner selves to the outerworld. Yet there is a dark side to the head's preeminence, one that has, in the courseof human history, manifested itself in everything from decapitation to headhunting.So explains anthropologist Frances Larson in this fascinating history of decapitatedhuman heads. From the Western collectors whose demand for shrunken headsspurred massacres to Second World War soldiers who sent the remains of the Japanesehome to their girlfriends, from Madame Tussaud modeling the guillotined headof Robespierre to Damien Hirst photographing decapitated heads in city morgues,from grave-robbing phrenologists to skull-obsessed scientists, Larson explores ourmacabre fixation with severed heads.

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