The Dream of the Moving Statue

By (author) Kenneth Gross

Paperback - £28.95

Publication date:

15 February 2006

Length of book:

272 pages


Penn State University Press

ISBN-13: 9780271029009

We live among the images we have made, and those images have an uncanny life. They seduce, challenge, trap, transform, and even kill us; they speak and remain silent. Kenneth Gross's The Dream of the Moving Statue offers a far-ranging and probing exploration of how writers, artists, and filmmakers have imagined the power and life of statues, real and metaphoric, taking up examples from antiquity to modernity, from Ovid, Michelangelo, and Shakespeare to Freud, Rilke, and Charlie Chaplin. The book is about the fate of works of art and about the fate of our fantasies, words, and bodies, about the metamorphoses they undergo in our own and others’ minds.

“Exploring a perennial fascination with the idea an animated statue and its converse (petrifaction of living individuals), Gross both delights and instructs the reader through an exploration of a quite astonishing number of significant examples that include poetry, film, drama, psychoanalysis, and philosophy, to say nothing of a few famous statues themselves. The style is inimitable: graceful, sophisticated, and seductive in the display of a sensibility that is at once both unique and accessible. The few pages of the preface alone give a hint of the riches that lie within, continually provoking the reader with the exhilarating experience of new insights into the workings of the imagination, the arousal of fear and desire, and the dangerously porous borderlines between the inanimate and the animate, the object and the subject, and finally, between death and life.”

—Froma I. Zeitlin, Princeton University, author of Playing the Other: Gender and Society in Classical Greece