New Release: Giants and Dwarfs in European Art and Culture

March 28 2024

Image of New Release: Giants and Dwarfs in European Art and Culture

Picture: Amsterdam University Press

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Amsterdam University Press released the following publication earlier this month (one that we've all been waiting for, I think). Giants and Dwarfs in European Art and Culture, ca. 1350-1750: Real, Imagined, Metaphorical was edited by Robin O'Bryan and Felicia Else and contains no less than 392 pages on the subject.

According to the website blurb:

Not since Edward Wood’s Giants and Dwarfs published in 1868 has the subject been the focus of a scholarly study in English. Treating the topic afresh, this volume offers new insights into the vogue for giants and dwarfs that flourished in late-medieval and early modern Europe. From chapters dealing with the real dwarfs and giants in the royal and princely courts, to the imaginary giants and dwarfs that figured in the crafting of nationalistic and ancestral traditions, to giants and dwarfs used as metaphorical expression, scholars discuss their role in art, literature, and ephemeral display. Some essays examine giants and dwarfs as monsters and marvels and collectibles, while others show artists and writers emphasizing contrasts in scale to inspire awe or for comic effect. As these investigations reveal, not all court dwarfs functioned as jesters, and giant figures might equally be used to represent heroes, anti-heroes, and even a saint.

Update - A reader has also alerted me to the recent release of another book on dwarfs, entitled Körperwunder Kleinwuchs: Wahrnehmungen, Deutungen und Darstellungen kleinwüchsiger Menschen und die ›Zwergmode‹ in der Frühen Neuzeit.

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