September 2006 Archives

Judith & Salome Links and Resources

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Books on Tudor England

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Judith & Salome Book List

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Idols of Perversity

Miscellany Books

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General Links & Reference

Salome's Last Dance

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Salome's Last Dance
by Ken Russell
A film by Ken Russell
The moon has a strange look tonight. Has she not a strange look? She is like a mad woman, a mad woman who is seeking everywhere for lovers. She is naked too. She is quite naked.

Russell's 1988 adaptation of Wilde's "Salome" is exploitation at its most delicious. Russell and Wilde make an indomitable pair exploring the fears/delights of being engulfed by the female body. Russell takes his queues from the Oscar's lucious text, the result being Salome putting something in her mouth in nearly every scene. From an apple to a large heart shaped lollypop (in nod to Nabokov's LOLITA, a not-so-distant cousin), Salome mouths the props like a teething three year old. And in the final scene, of course, Salome sups on that "vermillon of Moab": the lips of the John the Baptist. By this time his head had been removed from his body, which does not seem to deter the ever eager Salome from giving him a thorough schlupping. As the grand finale, Salome lifts her robes and lowers herself over the Baptist's head, engulfing him in one great dark moist metaphor.

Vagina dentata, indeed.

Salome & Judith Links

Galleries & Art:

Web Gallery of Art
Representations of Women and Death in German Literature, Art and Media after 1500
Links to images of the Death of John the Baptist

Beatrice Cenci, Executed 1599

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Portrait of Beatrice Cenci
Formerly attributed to Guido Reni
(Read more)
In Rome, a sixteen-year-old Beatrice Cenci—with the help of her stepmother, Lucrezia, and her brother Giacomo—arranged the murder of her father, the cruel and sadistic Count Cenci, who had persecuted Beatrice and probably raped her. The tragic story of the beautiful patricide has been popular with artists across Europe for the past couple centuries, including Percy Bysshe Shelley, Stendhal, and Antonin Artaud.

September 11, 1599. All night long workmen on the Piazza prepared the scene of the tragedy, setting up a huge scaffold with a block and a mannaia (meaning "an axe", and possibly a mechanism resembling the guillotine). At eight o'clock the prisoners left the prison, accompanied by the Company of Misericordia bearing a great crucifix, and Comforters from the Brotherhood of St. John the Beheaded, who accompanied those about to be decapitated, robed in black, and baskets to bear away the head. Each of the women wore a black taffeta veil. Lucrezia was the first to step up to the scaffold, and after several crowd shuddering strokes, the executioner brandished her head to the people, then wrapped it in black taffeta.

French Revolution Links

The Straight Dope: Does the head remain briefly conscious after decapitation?

New York Public Library (NYPL) Digital Gallery: thanks for all the amazing fashion prints made available. ♥!

Ministère de la culture - base Joconde: Catalogue des Collections des Musees de France. For their amazing collections of artists of the period such as Isabey, Boilly and Laurent.

Jean Baptiste Isabey: The Little Court Painter: Isabey's portraits are wonderfully informing on the various characters and fashions during the revolutionary period. Exquisite!

Jean-Baptiste Isabey: at Wikipedia!

The Metropolitan Museum of Art: wonderful portrait miniatures by Isabey and others.

Most of these are books I've read, for real! There's a few new ones in that are on my wish or "to read" list. These are the valuable tomes that have made this site possible. Praise be to the authors and publishers who make my inner life a dark and exciting wonderland!

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