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Title: The doll : the figure of the doll in culture and theory
Author(s): Kauppinen, Asko
Issue Date: 2000
Publisher: University of Stirling
Abstract: Constance Eileen King, in her Dolls and Dolls' Houses (1977), describes the doll above (Figure 1) as a 'French bisque-headed doll with jointed body, fixed eyes and open mouth. The original costume is very decorative. Marked "* 95" for Phoenix Baby'. King's description is doll-collection speak, and shows a particular way of looking at dolls, one which typically identifies the country of origin (French), the name of the dollseries (Phoenix Baby), materials of which the doll is made (head made of bisque, a kind of unglazed porcelain) and any identifying marks it might have, with a particular emphasis on dress and head. This type of doll is usually referred to as a bebe, a word registered by French and German manufacturers by 1850 to describe a doll suggesting a child somewhere between the ages of four and twelve. The Liebe (in Figure 1) is a doll allright, but it is a very particular kind of doll, and gives a very particular idea of what a doll is. This doll represents perhaps the most nostalgically stereotypical idea of a doll: it shows a little girl in a pretty dress. If one goes and looks at the range of more modern dolls which clutter the shelves in toy stores--Ginny, Barbie, Cindy, Baby Dribbles, My First Baby, Action Man, Skydancer, Polly Pocket, Cabbage Patch Dolls, Spice Girls dolls, Power Rangers and Star Trek dolls, Furbies, to mention a few--one finds that dolls come representing a huge variety of different ages, social classes, ethnic and national backgrounds, occupations, hobbies. They are made of a variety of materials and combinations of materials; wood, leather, cloth, metal, composition (strengthened papier meiche), celluloid, plastic, wax, porcelain, stone. Often they are also what we might call borderline or fantasy human figures, half-monsters, three quarter animals, one third machines, in various combinations. Even though the French bebe might be immediately recognisable as a doll, and would conform to a conventional idea of a doll, it is by no means a typical doll. There is no typical doll.
Type: Thesis or Dissertation
Affiliation: School of Arts and Humanities
Literature and Languages

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