James Joyce Untitled

The Book of Hearts by Francesca Gavin

Before February’s onslaught of roses, chocolates and candlelit suppers takes hold we just wanted to mention The Book of Hearts, a sweet little compendium by Francesca Gavin that takes a look at the history of the heart in visual culture. Gavin, an editor at Dazed & Confused, goes back to some of the earliest symbolism of the heart including Ancient Egypt and Greece through to the evolution of the organ in the Middle Ages, the Renaissance and beyond. But really it’s a visual feast of all sorts of more modern manifestations from the graphic simplicity of Marcel Duchamp’s Fluttering Hearts (1936) to Tim Noble and Sue Webster’s glitzy light installations, that’s great to dip into. And thanks to Gavin’s acknowledgments page we also learnt this interesting fact: the word fascinating comes from the Latin for erect penis – fascinus. We’ll be using much less of it from now on.

The Book of Hearts by Francesca Gavin (Pub Laurence King)
— Clare
15th January 2014