Friday, April 28, 2017 at 4:30pm
Goldwin Smith Hall, G22
232 East Ave, Central Campus
A long-forgotten introduction to the life and works of Dante, published in 1871, opens with a curious image of a curious object: an albumen photographic print of one of several plaster casts that circulated in the nineteenth century as a copy of the poet’s death mask. The book was the first of many by the Victorian polymath John Addington Symonds, mostly remembered today as the author of two privately-circulated essays that would help to set the stage for the coming movement for gay rights. In this paper, he revisits that photograph, among the very first to be used as a frontispiece, in order to propose a radical rethinking of the histories both of photography and of queerness.