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    The averted gaze: facial injury in WWI Britain

    Biernoff, Suzannah (2010) The averted gaze: facial injury in WWI Britain. In: War & Visuality: Conflict and the Politics of Perception, 2010, Centre for Citizenship, Identities and Governance, The Open University, Milton Keynes, UK. (Unpublished)

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    The horror of facial mutilation was evoked in journalism, poems, memoirs and fiction during the Great War. This paper explores civilian, aesthetic and medico-military responses to facial injury, using Francis Derwent Wood’s portrait masks as a point of departure. Wood is best known for his war memorials, but he was also responsible for the Masks for Facial Disfigurements Department at the 3rd London General Hospital in Wandsworth, and published his work in the Lancet. Surprisingly little has been written about this historical example of ‘sci-art’ collaboration, although it certainly captured the imagination of contemporary journalists. ‘Magical results are being achieved,’ reported The Times in August 1916, ‘by the provision of masks perfectly counterfeiting the lost section of the physiognomy.’ The aim of the paper is to place Wood’s work in its cultural context, and to explore the role of art and artifice in the reconstruction of identity and ‘humanity’.


    Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
    School: Birkbeck Schools and Departments > School of Arts > History of Art
    Research Centres and Institutes: Gender and Sexuality, Birkbeck (BiGS), Social Research, Birkbeck Institute for (BISR)
    Depositing User: Sarah Hall
    Date Deposited: 01 Oct 2013 14:25
    Last Modified: 12 Dec 2016 09:15


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