Disembodied Desire

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

February 2017

Publication Title



One need not search far to discover that the Victorians adored bodiless hands. Ladies’ hands especially abound throughout the last half of the nineteenth century as motifs and/or subjects in paintings, jewelry, paper goods, sculptures, and decorative objects created to symbolize friendship, love, and sexual desire. During this era, hands became an acceptable object of fixation upon which to leer and project meaning and fantasy, both in themselves and with the spectral body conjured up by one’s own imagination.