A History of Heads Lost and Heads Found

Book - 2014
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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 outer world. Yet there is a dark side to the head's preeminence, one that has, in the course of human history, manifested itself in everything from decapitation to headhunting. So explains anthropologist Frances Larson in this fascinating history of decapitated human heads. From the Western collectors whose demand for shrunken heads spurred massacres to Second World War soldiers who sent the remains of the Japanese home to their girlfriends, from Madame Tussaud modeling the guillotined head of Robespierre to Damien Hirst photographing decapitated heads in city morgues, from grave-robbing phrenologists to skull-obsessed scientists, Larson explores our macabre fixation with severed heads"--from publisher's description.
Publisher: New York :, Liveright Publishing Corporation, a division of W.W. Norton & Company,, [2014]
Edition: First edition
Description: xviii, 317 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
Copyright Date: ©2014
ISBN: 9780871404541
Branch Call Number: 306.4 Lar


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Jan 14, 2015

Covering the exploitative nature of shrunken heads to the sci-fi trope of "brains in a jar", Larson gives the reader a prompt run through of the fascination with, well, severed heads. If you're looking for a solid answer on why humanity seems to be drawn to severed heads, well, this might not be the read for you. Larson is fantastic at getting the reader to think critically; as she runs through the different ways that people have encountered skulls, she shares her personal opinions (without forcing the reader to agree with her and without quite blatantly forcing it down the reader's throat.

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