Offering readings of a range of fictional and biographical texts, including work by Richard Selzer, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Gaston Leroux, Willa Cather, Natalie Kusz, and Lucy Grealy, this book examines reactions to facially disfigured people on the basis of Emmanuel Levinas’ ethics of the face. Drawing on Levinas’ concern with the holistic dimension of the face as an encounter with the other’s "whole person" and the sense of moral obligation that this instils in us—a sense that disfigurement disrupts by drawing our attention to the disfigurement as a "spectacle" and threatening to limit our view of that individual—the author explores how we react to the facially disfigured and how we ought to react.
Table of Contents
1. Emmanuel Levinas
2. Face Value
3. Facial Disfigurement and Its Repairs
4. Elephant People
5. Narratives on Facial Disfigurement
Gudrun M. Grabher is Full Professor and Chair of the American Studies Department at the University of Innsbruck, Austria. She was previously a Visiting Scholar at Harvard University and the recipient of a research scholarship to Tokyo, as well as a guest professor at the University of Vienna in Austria and at the University of Notre Dame in the USA. Her main fields of research are American poetry, literature and philosophy, literature and the arts, and medical humanities.