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Severed A History of Heads Lost and Heads Found by Frances Larson
  

Severed A History of Heads Lost and Heads Found

History   

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A startling view of Western history uncovering our obsession with skulls, decapitated (and decapitating) heads. We decry the “uncivilised” tribe or culture that worships human heads, shrunken or otherwise but it is very discomforting to learn that it was Western buyers who encouraged the trade in shrunken heads and that even up to WWII, soldiers were quite happy to send skulls (mostly Japanese) home as souvenirs. Frances Larson looks at the severed head throughout history, from the heads on poles which confronted you as you entered London through to the modern art of Damien Hurst. Prepare to be amazed, discombobulated and surprised by the history uncovered in Severed. ~ Sue Baker

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Synopsis

Severed A History of Heads Lost and Heads Found by Frances Larson

Our history is littered with heads. Over the centuries, they have decorated our churches, festooned our city walls and filled our museums; they have been props for artists and specimens for laboratory scientists, trophies for soldiers and items of barter. Today, as videos of decapitations circulate online and cryonicists promise that our heads may one day live on without our bodies, the severed head is as contentious and compelling as ever. From shrunken heads to trophies of war; from memento mori to Damien Hirst's With Dead Head; from grave-robbing phrenologists to enterprising scientists, Larson explores the bizarre, often gruesome and confounding history of the severed head. Its story is our story.

About the Author

Dr Frances Larson is an honorary research fellow in anthropology at Durham University. She is the author of a biography of Henry Wellcome, An Infinity of Things (OUP, 2009), which was part-funded by a Wingate Scholarship. The book was published to considerable critical acclaim and was subsequently shortlisted for the MJA Awards and chosen as a Sunday Times Book of The Year, as well as a New Scientist Best Book of 2009. She is also the co-author of Knowing Things (OUP, 2007), a book on the history of the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford, where she worked as a researcher after receiving her D.Phil.

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Book Info

Publication date

1st October 2015

Author

Frances Larson

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Publisher

Granta Books

Format

Paperback
336 pages

Categories

History: specific events & topics
Popular science
Anthropology

ISBN

9781783780563

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