The Myth of Galatea and the Living Statue: Animation, Simulacra and Desire in Nineteenth-Century Literature and Art


Proposals are invited for original chapters in an edited collection exploring the myth of Galatea and the living statue in nineteenth-century literature and art. The classical story of Galatea (the statue created by Pygmalion) who comes to life under Venus’ touch has proved a powerful metaphor for artistic creation, bodily transformation and other forms of metamorphosis across various periods and artistic forms. However, the myth was particularly popular in the nineteenth century, speaking to a range of concerns relating to male control, fashioning (of both bodies and characters) and the female subject. Proposals are sought for essays which explore the idea of Galatea and her companions – including living statues, art works and dolls – as non-human entities, across all fields of art, literature and culture in the nineteenth century. Interdisciplinary essays are welcomed. Essays exploring the theoretical and conceptual framings of living statues as non-human entities are particularly encouraged, as are chapters which relate their objects of study to nineteenth-century discourses surrounding the human and non-human across relevant disciplines, as well as to recent theoretical models such as post-humanism. The volume aims to represent a range of visual and textual nineteenth-century forms, including poetry, fiction, drama, scientific and medical writing, painting, sculpture and theatre.

Topics for proposals focusing on the nineteenth century might include:

  • Moving dolls
  • Forms of automata
  • Cyborgism
  • Statues and their transformation
  • Construction of human / non-human beings
  • Interpretations of Pygmalion and Galatea
  • Living art works
  • Frankenstein and his monster
  • Tableaux vivants.

Please send chapter proposals of no more than 500 words long (for a final essay of approximately 7,000-8,000 words) to Dr. Amelia Yeates ( by 4 January 2021. Proposals should be sent as a Word document attachment, and include author contact details, as well as a brief CV. Please also indicate whether the chapter will include any illustrations. In submitting proposals authors are confirming that the work has not been published in another form elsewhere. Preliminary inquiries are welcome (please address these to the email address above).

Contributors will be notified of the outcome of their submission by 1 March 2021.