Special Cases: Natural Anomalies and Historical Monsters

Special Cases: Natural Anomalies and Historical Monsters

by Rosamond W. Wolff Purcell
     
 
Dwarves, giants, conjoined twins, hairy people, albinos, humans with animal heads--SPECIAL CASES explores humanity's age-old obsession with monstrosity. Using photographs and artwork from numerous private and public collections, celebrated photographer Rosamond Purcell delves into the flip side of what we call normal. An art book for and about the curious, but

Overview

Dwarves, giants, conjoined twins, hairy people, albinos, humans with animal heads--SPECIAL CASES explores humanity's age-old obsession with monstrosity. Using photographs and artwork from numerous private and public collections, celebrated photographer Rosamond Purcell delves into the flip side of what we call normal. An art book for and about the curious, but definitely not for the squeamish. 100 full-color and b&w illustrations.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Under the guise of cultural studies, humankind's ceaseless fascination with human anomalies has gained a newfound legitimacy, and publishers are producing ever more works to satisfy both the prurient and intellectual ends of the scale. This handsomely produced book, unfortunately, seems unsure about where to place its focus and, ultimately, will disappoint most readers. Purcell, a photographer, writer, and curator of a show at the Getty Research Institute, from which this book was derived, has written a rambling, unconstructed text that not infrequently touches on fascinating ideas and historical examples. But just as often she abandons a theme just as she gets beneath the surface or moves on to another sample before fully examining the specimen before us. Her thesisthat the collectors and classifiers play as much a role in creating a freak as do the abnormalitiesis interesting, if not entirely new, but never truly develops. Recommended only for academic cultural studies collections; popular collections would do better with Lawrence Weschler's Mr. Wilson's Cabinet of Wonder (LJ 10/1/95) and Jan Bondeson's A Cabinet of Medical Curiosities (LJ 10/15/97).Douglas McClemont, New York
Booknews
The author, curator of an eponymously titled exhibition at the Getty Research Institute in California, presents a lavishly illustrated examination of the history of the depiction of monsters and their oft-times natural and cultural explanations. The material discusses the mythological depictions of conjoined twins, giantism and dwarfism, and the hirsute man of P. T. Barnum's circus, and speculates on the origins of a variety of mythological monsters. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780811815680
Publisher:
Chronicle Books LLC
Publication date:
01/01/1997
Pages:
176
Product dimensions:
8.84(w) x 9.57(h) x 0.89(d)

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