The Art of Losing One’s Head

On Losing One’s Head:

A man losing his head; which seemed the sort of thing that might happen to anybody. Indeed, by this dream of symbolic decapitation I was much haunted in infancy and am not infrequently inspired and comforted even to this day. Whatever other metaphors may mean, this metaphor of the lost head has some primary and poetic meaning; and I have written many bad poems, bad fairy tales, and bad apologues in my industrious attempt to find it out and declare it. The connection between the animal and intellectual meaning of it became close and even confused. I vaguely thought of Charles I as having lost his head equally in both senses; which is not perhaps wholly untrue. When I read of the miracle of St. Dennis, who carried his head in his hand, it seemed to me quite a soothing and graceful proceeding, like a gentleman carrying his hat in his hand. St. Dennis did not lose his head anyhow; he carried it in his hand so as not to lose it; as ladies do their ridiculous handbags.

For there is one kind of man who takes off his head and throws it in the gutter, who dethrones and forgets the reason that should be his ruler and witness; and the horrible headless body strides away over cities and sanctuaries, breaking them down and treading them into mire and blood. He is the criminal; but there is another figure equally sinister and strange. This man forgets his body, with all its instinctive honesties and recurrent sanities and laws of God; he leaves his body working in the fields like a slave; and the head goes away to think alone. The head, detached and dehumanized, thinks faster and faster like a clock gone mad; it is never heated by any generous blood, never softened by any healthy fatigue, never checked or warned by any of the terrible tocsins of instinct. The head thinks because it cannot do anything else; because it cannot feel or doubt or know. This man is the heretic; and in this way all the heresies were made.

Dmitry Ligay

Unknown to me

Sitji Chou



Miguel Mansur

Esao Andrews

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Categories: Art

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2 Comments on “The Art of Losing One’s Head”

  1. 07.8.11 at 9:23 AM #

    I love these images. There is always Magritte’s Man in a Bowler Hat, but perhaps holding a different meaning. Nice post.

  2. NDP
    07.8.11 at 11:26 AM #

    These are great works.

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