The Drowned Muse: The Unknown Woman of the Seine's Survivals from Nineteenth-Century Modernity to the Present by Anne-Gaelle SaliotThe Drowned Muse: The Unknown Woman of the Seine's Survivals from Nineteenth-Century Modernity to the Present by Anne-Gaelle Saliot

The Drowned Muse: The Unknown Woman of the Seine's Survivals from Nineteenth-Century Modernity to…

byAnne-Gaelle Saliot

Hardcover | October 10, 2015

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The Drowned Muse is the study of the extraordinary destiny, in the history of European culture, of an object which could, at first glance, seem quite ordinary. It tells the story of a mask, the cast of a young girl's face entitled "L'Inconnue de la Seine," the Unknown Woman of the Seine, andits subsequent metamorphoses as a cultural figure. "L'Inconnue" names the death mask of a girl who supposedly drowned herself in Paris at the end of the nineteenth century. Legend has it that the forensic scientist tending to the corpse awaiting identification on a block of ice at the Paris Morgue,was so struck by her allure that he captured in plaster the contours of her face. The unknown girl, also called "The Mona Lisa of Suicide", has become the object of an obsessive interest that started in the late 1890s, reached its peak in the 1930s and continues to reverberate today. Aby Warburg defines art history as "a ghost story for grown-ups." This study is similarly "a ghost story for grown-ups", narrating the aura of a cultural object that crosses epochs, geographical, and linguistic frontiers. It views the "Inconnue" as a symptomatic expression of a modern world hauntedby the earlier modernity of the nineteenth century. It investigates how the mask's metamorphoses track the main shifts in the cultural history of the last two centuries, and how they constitute points of negotiation through which to understand modernity. The "Inconnue" is approached as a point ofentry to understand a phenomenon most characteristic of 20th and 21st modernity: the translatability of media.
Anne-Gaelle Saliot is Assistant Professor at Duke University, where she teaches twentieth-century French literature and cinema. In 2011, she was awarded the Mellon Fellowship for her manuscript on the legacies of literature and on visual representations of the "unknown woman of the Seine." Her additional research interests include Fre...
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Title:The Drowned Muse: The Unknown Woman of the Seine's Survivals from Nineteenth-Century Modernity to…Format:HardcoverDimensions:384 pagesPublished:October 10, 2015Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198708629

ISBN - 13:9780198708629

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Table of Contents

IntroductionI. DEATH AND THE MAIDEN1. Thinking an Image in History and Theory2. "The Most Poetic Topic in The World"3. "White Ophelia Floats like a Great Lily"II. THE DEAD WOMAN AND THE PALIMPSEST OF THE CITY4. The Dead Woman and The Modern City5. The City as a Magnified Ghost". A Cartography of SurvivalsIII. TRACES OF A METAMORPHOSIS: POPULAR IMAGERY, PHOTOGRAPHY, CINEMA AND THEORY6. The Inconnue As Popular Icon7. Man Ray and Aurelien: When Text Meets Image8. "Jellyfish at the Cinema"9. "Emanating as if from the depths of a tomb": The Inconnue's Philosophical LivesConclusionAppendices