Since the 19th century, dolls have served as toys but also as objects of obsession, love, and lust. That century witnessed the emergence of the term "heterosexual" and of modern concepts of fetishism, perversity, and animism. Their convergence, and the demands of a growing consumer society resulted in a proliferation of waxworks, shop-window dummies, and customized love dolls, which also began to appear in art. Oskar Kokoschka commissioned a life-sized doll of his former lover Alma Mahler; Hans Bellmer crafted poupées; and Marcel Duchamp fabricated a nude figure in his environmental tableau Etant donnés. The Erotic Doll is the first book to explore men's complex relationships with such inanimate forms from historical, theoretical, and phenomenological perspectives. Challenging our commonsense grasp of the relations between persons and things, Marquard Smith examines these erotically charged human figures by interweaving art history, visual culture, gender, and sexuality studies with the medical humanities, offering startling insights into heterosexual masculinity and its discontents.
‘Ladies and gents, welcome to the museum of the erotic doll. Step right up and feast your eyes on modern man’s curious contraptions. If the saucy blow-up doll makes you squeamish, brace yourself for the Dutch Wife (a sailor’s delight!), lubricating robot ladies, surrealist brides stripped bare, state-of-the-art RealDolls, and the iDollators who love them. Marquard Smith is the curator of this collection of men's dolls, rendered in a lavishly illustrated volume.’—Laura Frost, Times Higher Education ~Laura Frost, THE
'This book is platypus-like, unclassifiable.'—Marina Warner, London Review of Books~Marina Warner, London Review of Books
“[An] intriguing book . . . Smith teases out the history of these sex objects to provide a thorough genealogy of today’s erotic mannequins.”—Shelly Ronen, Public Books~Shelly Ronen, Public Books
“Consistently fascinating”—Jeremy Biles, Rain Taxi~Jeremy Biles, Rain Taxi