"Behind the Mask: World War I, Plastic Surgery, and the Modern Beauty Revolution"
David M. Lubin, Wake Forest University
Monday, October 12th, 12:15pm
During the Great War, trenches exposed combatants’ faces to sniper fire and flying shrapnel. In previous wars such wounds would have proved fatal. Now, with improved medical and ambulance services, the wounded could be saved—but not necessarily their faces. Crudely patched-together and sent back to the trenches or their homes, men with “broken faces” were routinely ostracized. This lecture examines the humanitarian efforts of plastic surgeons to restore obliterated faces and sculptors to fashion prosthetic masks, while also considering the 1920s beauty culture that arose in reaction to wartime unsightliness.
David Lubin, the Charlotte C. Weber Professor of Art at Wake Forest University, has written extensively on American art and popular culture. His book Flags and Faces: The Visual Culture of America’s First World War was published this year by the University of California Press, and his Grand Illusions: American Art and the First World War will appear from Oxford University Press in early 2016.
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