Abstract

Johann Caspar Lavater's science of physiognomics reads human character traits from external physical features. This "science," presented in a four-volume work replete with reproduced images, reflects Lavater's desire to fuse two emerging, yet distinct paradigms of reproduction: scientific replication (the scientific method) and aesthetic reproduction (artistic imitation). Despite his claims to scientific accuracy, however, Lavater values flawed artistic reproductions over accurate, replicable data. The aesthetic truths in imperfect reproductions, unlike the replicable truths of science, require his presence as a mediator. Lavater's physignomics, in favoring the aesthetic over the scientific, reproduces its creator as a mediator of truth.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-315X
Print ISSN
0013-2586
Pages
pp. 257-277
Launched on MUSE
2007-01-03
Open Access
No
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