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978-1-879751-51-4 / 1879751518

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About the book:

Judging from appearances is an art long considered a science under the rubric of physiognomy. No one in the history of that dubious science stands out more than Johann Caspar Lavater (1741-1801), a Swiss theologian whose sensational "Physiognomische Fragmente" (1775-78) informs most modern notions of physiognomy. This work shows the widespread influence that the concept of judging from physical appearance had in the intellectual and artistic life of the 18th century. The essays in this volume re-examine physiognomy in the aesthetic, cultural, literary and scientific contexts of Lavater's day, and in so doing they, by necessity, deal with such major figures as Goethe, Lessing, Lichtenberg, Wieland, and Moses Mendelssohn in Germany, and figures such as Hogarth, Daumier, and Charlotte Bronte abroad. The essays include Ellis Shookman's "Pseudo-Science", "Social Fad", "Literary Wonder: Johann Caspar Lavater and the Art of Physiognomy", Christoph Slegrlst's "Letters of the Divine Alphabet", Carsten Zelle's "Soul-Semiology", John Graham's "Contexts of Physiognomic Description", Katherine Hart's "Lavater and late 18th-Century English Caricature", Siegfried Frey's "Lavater, Lichtenberg, and the Suggestive Power of the Human Face", C. Rivers's "Balzac, Physiognomy, and the Legible Body", Graeme Tytier's "Lavater and the 19th-Century English Novel", and Warja Lavater's "Perception: When Signs Start to Communicate."

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