Bodies in the Bog and the Archaeological ImaginationPaperback
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- Publisher: University of Chicago Press
- Format: Paperback | 317 pages
- Dimensions: 155mm x 231mm x 20mm | 499g
- Publication date: 7 September 2012
- Publication City/Country: Chicago, IL
- ISBN 10: 0226734056
- ISBN 13: 9780226734057
- Illustrations note: b/w illus
- Sales rank: 500,460
This beautifully written book explores the Iron Age bog bodies of northern Europe as cultural artefacts, objects of fascination to archaeologists and antiquaries, but also to artists, poets, philosophers and psychologists. Sanders describes the wide range of responses which the bodies have produced from such diverse figures as Sigmund Freud, Seumus Heaney, William Carols Willams and Margaret Attwood. She is particularly strong on Scandinavian material, and with his miraculously preserved face Tollund man, has cast a long shadow in Danish art and culture. The violent sacrificial deaths of the bodies have obviously fired the imagination as has Tacitus' suggestion of punishment for infidelity, but Karin Sanders contends that it is the unique status of the bodies both as human beings and archaeological artefacts, somehow transformed by their remarkable preservation that has guaranteed such a profound and multifaceted response.
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Karin Sanders is professor of Scandinavian studies at the University of California, Berkeley.
By Ariel Armarego-Marriott 25 Oct 2014
This is very much the story of the far reaching influence of bog bodies through all media of art. Unfortunately while Sanders goes into great detail describing and analysing these pieces of art that reference bog bodies, she does not give equal attention to the very bodies that have provided this inspiration. They instead receive a cursory introduction as though Sanders expects the reader to know as much as she herself or that a brief physical description of the body and its discovery is all that is required to understand the art. The writing itself implies that this book may have once been a PHd thesis, softened for publication but Sander's research and the providence of much of what she says feels to be entirely absent. This is proving to be a long and tedious read which is unfortunate as the story of the bog bodies deserves more interest.