A Perverse History of the Human Heart

A Perverse History of the Human Heart

By: Milad Doueihi (author)Hardback

1 - 2 weeks availability


The seat of the soul, the centre of legends, the middle of cults and cultural taboos: the heart has a history as long and complex, and often as sordid, as that of the secret life it once signified. And this is the history that Milad Doueihi tells in a book that follows the adventures of the human heart through custom, legend, religion, and literature from antiquity to early modern times. Most prominent, and macabre, in this history is the account of the eaten heart, beginning with the myth of Dionysos, who was kidnapped and devoured by the Titans. Doueihi shows the reader, from the Middle Ages through to the 17th century, strange tales combining a cuisine of the macabre with the devotion of the lover, in which a jealous husband serves his unwitting wife the heart of her murdered lover. Beyond the tensions of courtly love, manifest in the Laid Ignaure, the Roman du Chatelain du Coucy, and works by Dante and Boccaccio, Doueihi evokes the image of the devoured heart invoked in Francis Bacon's "Essay on Friendship". Not to be outdone by literature and legend, religion, particularly in the theology of the Sacred Heart, takes its place in this story, exerting its influence on the legend of the eaten heart, with stories of perverse consumption coming to be explained in terms of the mystery of the Eucharist, the magical and mystical consumption of the body of Christ. Finally, with the discovery of physiology and the emerging science of blood circulation, the heart loses its symbolic place, though Doueihi leaves the reader with the possible marriage of mysticism and science that Pascal's descriptions of intuitive intelligence open up for the heart.

Create a review

About Author

Milad Doueihi holds the Chair of Research on Digital Cultures, Laval University.


Introduction An Organ Like No Other An Impossible Mourning The Tale of the Two Brothers The Lure of the Heart The Woman, the Heart, and the Phallus The Husband as Eternal Rival and Voyeur "Vide Cor Tuum" Triumph of Love, Triumph of Death Dante's Eaten Heart Mirrors of Friendship An Economy of Resurrection A Lover's Course: "Le Coeur mange" Woman,s Womb and Lover's Sepulcher "Spectacles of Horror" The Christianization of Pagan Mourning Elephantine Marriage and Devout Sexuality Theology and Perverse Sexuality The Mystical Bees From the Eaten Heart to the Revelation of the Heart Trials and Tribulations of the Human Heart Theology and Teleology of the Heart Incarnation, Sacred Heart, and the Eucharist Notes Selected Bibliography Index

Product Details

  • publication date: 05/03/1998
  • ISBN13: 9780674663251
  • Format: Hardback
  • Number Of Pages: 240
  • ID: 9780674663251
  • weight: 372
  • ISBN10: 067466325X

Delivery Information

  • Saver Delivery: Yes
  • 1st Class Delivery: Yes
  • Courier Delivery: Yes
  • Store Delivery: Yes

Prices are for internet purchases only. Prices and availability in WHSmith Stores may vary significantly