"Only skin deep," "getting under one's skin," "the naked truth": metaphors about the skin pervade the language even as physical embellishments and alterations -- tattoos, piercings, skin-lifts, liposuction, tanning, and more -- proliferate in Western culture. Yet outside dermatology textbooks, the topic of skin has been largely ignored.
This important cultural study shows how our perception of skin has changed from the eighteenth century to the present. Claudia Benthien argues that despite medicine's having penetrated the bodily surface and exposed the interior of the body as never before, skin, paradoxically, has become a more and more unyielding symbol. She examines the changing significance of skin through brilliant analyses of literature, art, philosophy, and anatomical drawings and writings. Benthien discusses the semantic and psychic aspects of touching, feeling, and intellectual perception; the motifs of perforated, armored, or transparent skin; the phantasma of flaying; and much more through close readings of such authors as Kleist, Hawthorne, Balzac, Rilke, Kafka, Plath, Morrison, Wideman, and Ondaatje. Myriad images from the Renaissance, anatomy books, and contemporary visual and performance art enhance the text.
Simon Murphy's thesis has significant impact on the wide use of the revolutionary Kepler Mission data, leading to a new understanding in stellar astrophysics. It first provides a deep characterisation and comparison of the Kepler long cadence and short cadence data, with particular insight into the Kepler reduction pipeline. It then brings together modern reviews of rotation and peculiarities in A-type stars, and their relationship with the pulsating delta Scuti stars. This is the first combined review of these subjects since the classic monograph by Sydney Wolff, "The A stars," was published three decades ago. The thesis presents a novel technique, Super-Nyquist Asteroseismology, that has opened up the asteroseismic study of thousands of Kepler stars. It shows case studies of delta Scuti stars examining amplitude growth, super-Nyquist pulsation, and pulsation in a high-amplitude, population II SX Phoenicis star in a 343-d binary. This work informs our understanding of the relation of rotation to peculiarity, hence has applications to atomic diffusion theory. This is a brilliant thesis written in an elegant and engaging style.
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