The face, being prominent and visible, is the foremost marker of a person’s identity as well as their major tool of communication. Facial disfigurements, congenital or acquired, not only erase these significant capacities, but since ancient times, they have been conjured up as outrageous and terrifying, often connoting evil or criminality in their associations – a dark secret being suggested "behind the mask," the disfigurement indicating punishment for sin. Complemented by an original poem by Kenneth Sherman and a plastic surgeon’s perspective on facial disfigurement, this book investigates the exploitation of these and further stereotypical tropes by literary authors, filmmakers, and showrunners, considering also the ways in which film, television, and the publishing industry have more recently tried to overcome negative codifications of facial disfigurement, in the search for an authentic self behind the veil of facial disfigurement. An exploration of fictional representations of the disfigured face, this book will appeal to scholars of sociology, cultural and media studies, American studies and literary studies with interests in representations of disfigurement and the Other.
Table of Contents
Poem / A Creative Foreword: Encounter
The Disfigured Face in American Literature, Film, and Television: Introduction
Cornelia Klecker and Gudrun M. Grabher
Facial Disfigurement: A Plastic Surgeon’s Perspective
Part I: Facial Disfigurement in American Literature
1. Ugliness as Deformity in The Life and Loves of a She-Devil and Flavor of the Month
2. Drawing a Broader Picture of Facial Disfigurement: Moving Beyond "Narrative Prosthesis" in James Hankins’ Drawn
Hayley Mitchell Haugen
3. Writing against the Stigma: Facial Disfigurement in R. J. Palacio’s Wonder
4. Song of My Self or "I Become the Wounded Person": Kenneth Sherman’s Poetic Tribute to the Elephant Man
Gudrun M. Grabher
Part II: Facial Disfigurement in American Film and Television
5. Loving the Monster: The Elephant Man as Modern Fable
6. Facial Disfigurement on Screen: James Bond and the Politics of Portraying the Post-9/11 Terrorist
7. Masculinity and Facial Disfigurement in Contemporary US Television Characters
8. Fictional 'Dissections' of a Medical Curiosity: Facial Disfigurement in Grey’s Anatomy
Cornelia Klecker is Assistant Professor and Deputy Chair of the Department of American Studies at the University of Innsbruck, Austria.
Gudrun M. Grabher was, until recently, Full Professor and Chair of the Department of American Studies at the University of Innsbruck, Austria. She is the author of Levinas and the Other in Narratives of Facial Disfigurement.