The Symptom of Beauty (Essays in Art and Culture)

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9780674859883: The Symptom of Beauty (Essays in Art and Culture)

For a woman in the Western world, there's no escaping beauty. She has it or she doesn't. If she doesn't, she may hope to gain it. If she already has it, she will certainly lose it. But what is "it"? Not a singular thing, Francette Pacteau tells us, but a generic term for an unspecifiable number of disparate experiences. What these experiences are, what they mean, how they manifest themselves as a notion of beauty is the subject of Pacteau's book, an intriguing psychoanalytic study of beauty that looks into the eye of the beholder and into the mind conjuring behind it. Her book is an ambitious attempt to describe the mise-en-scène of beauty within a particular field of representations; that of the beauty of a woman.

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About the Author:

Francette Pacteau is Research Tutor in the Photography Department at the Royal College of Art, London

Review:

Rather than jettison the subject, Pacteau looks deeply and critically into its construction within society and culture, drawing on examples from the Renaissance to the present day and acknowledging beauty as a still potent force in the majority of women's lives. The book deals with the heavy issues of gender representation with a light hand and engaging prose. Drawing on psychoanalytic theory and French philosophy, the book guides the reader to a deeper understanding of the old adage that `beauty is in the eye of the beholder.' (Art Book Review Quarterly)

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Pacteau, Francett
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