Monday, June 30, 2014


Something strange here about the baby's expression--not quite as insipid as everything else....   A certain vehemence.

Thursday, June 26, 2014


Very strange French postcard from around 1900: comico-serious image of bourgeois lady in the throes of hysteria, being attended by (?) flummoxed husband.  The concept of hysteria was not a new one in the late 19th century, of course, but had really come into its own, medically speaking--and in the popular imagination--with the famous clinical studies by Charcot and others in the 1870s.  

In its own tacky way, the image makes explicit the idea advanced in Freud and Breuer's case study of "Anna O.":  that so-called hysterical symptoms originated in--indeed were a displaced representation of--unconscious sexual fantasies and desires. 

Sunday, June 22, 2014

In the Garden With Lace to Kill

I haven't visited with Madame Delait lately, so here she is again.  Which is more magnificent--blouse or beard?  She has her own look, that's for sure.  I think of myself as open-minded but it's hard to imagine sleeping with Madame Delait.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Two Extraordinary Photographs

Two extraordinary photographs, indeed.  Lucky enough to snag them last month off Elysium Books, my favorite website for old gay-related antiquarian books and ephemera.  Both show the studio of Romaine Brooks in Nice in the late 1960s.  Paul Kehren was the photographer.

You can see Romaine (1874-1970) sitting jauntily enough in the top one, next to a breathtaking sample of her portraits--including her self-portrait in top hat, and in the background, her very comical image of Una Troubridge, lover of Radclyffe Hall.  (Troubridge shown with monocle and dachshunds.)

According to the biographies--Diana Souhami's book about her and her lifelong lover/companion, Natalie Clifford Barney is the best--Brooks was a fairly odious misery-guts.  The photographer here, however, seems to have caught her on a relatively good day. 

The images, while a little beaten up, have the most beautiful color-processing. 

Saturday, June 7, 2014

A Term to Forget

Marvelous 1930s pictorial dust jacket.  And a scene all too apt for the moment.

Onward,  summer hols.