Of Victorian Interest

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Of Victorian Interest

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Birkbeck Forum for Nineteenth-Century Studies Summer 2014 Programme

urlThe next event of the spring term for the Birkbeck Forum for Nineteenth-Century Studies will feature Mary Hunter (McGill) presenting on 'Ladies in Waiting: Time and Gynecology in Toulouse-Lautrec's Rue des Moulins (1894)' on Wednesday 4 June 2014 from 6.00pm to 8.00pm in the Keynes Library, 43 Gordon Square, London, WC1H 0PD.
Over the past hundred years, Toulouse-Lautrec's painting of two prostitutes awaiting a gynecological inspection in a Parisian brothel has been understood as exemplary of the artist's assumed sympathy and innate understanding of the lives of the sick and downtrodden or as representative of the perverse fantasies of a crippled, heterosexual aristocrat at the fin de siècle. In both approaches, Lautrec's biography as the deformed bohemian of Montmartre predominates. In order to move away from biographically driven readings, this paper will examine the work through a discussion of the phenomenology of waiting and historical accounts of gynecological procedures in late nineteenth-century France. Through a focused visual analysis of the compressed space of the brothel interior and the close proximity of semi-clothed female prostitutes in Rue des Moulins, this paper will explore the troubled ties between bodily thresholds, medical penetration and artistic encounters.

Future Summer Term Forum events include:

  • Monday 16 June 2014, 6.00 - 8.00pm: Nicholas Gaskill (Rutgers): 'Interior Designs: Charlotte Perkins Gilman and the Progressive Art of Pure Colour'
  • Tuesday 1 July 2014, 6.00 - 8.00pm: Rachel Teukolsky (Vanderbilt): 'Cartomania: Sensation, Celebrity, and the Democratized Portrait'
  • Tuesday 8 July 2014, 6.00 - 8.00pm: Sue Zemka (Colorado State, Boulder): 'Prosthetic Hands and Phantom Limbs'
Unless otherwise noted, all sessions take place in the Keynes Library (Room 114, School of Arts, 43 Gordon Square, London, WC1H 0PD). The sessions are free and all are welcome, but since the venue has limited space it will be first come, first seated.
Please email c19@bbk.ac.uk to join our mailing list or to obtain further information about the series.

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