Metropolitan Museum Image and Data Resources (Gilman Collection, Purchase, Harriette and Noel Levine Gift, 2005)
A study recently published in the Journal of Cultural Analytics shows that the prominence of female characters in novels and the number of female novelists declined between 1800 and 1960. Male authors were “remarkably resistant to giving women more than a third of the character-space in their stories,” according to the researchers.
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Joyce Tyldesley’s new book concerns Ancient Egypt’s most well-known poster-girl: Nefertiti, or – more accurately – a painted limestone and plaster bust of her now in the Neues Museum in Berlin. Tyldesley has already written an excellent biography of the lady herself, and uses this opportunity to discuss her most famous representation – and how it skews our entire impression of who she was. The book follows the successful format of the biography of a single object adopted by Laurence Berman, curator at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, in his accessible study of the Late Period ‘Boston Green Head’. As a fellow curator, the idea of spending a whole book on a sole museum object is particularly appealing to me.
Now, I must confess personal bias here – Joyce is a friend and University of Manchester colleague, and we have discussed the content of the book extensively. Yet…
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