Maha El Hissy: Virgins as Theatrical Figures of the Political

Wed 20.3.
18 h

Lecture series Lektionen / Lessons
Paintings Gallery

Anatomy Hall
Schillerplatz 3
1010 Wien


Heinrich Friedrich Füger, The Death of Verginia, c. 1789/1790 © Paintings Gallery of the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna

In the post-secular age, the virgin continues to spark political fantasies. Metaphors of mending wounds, which pile up in times of political crisis, are imagined in analogy with the intact virginal body. The lecture 
aims to trace these political imaginations in theatre before and after the French Revolution, in the advent of modernity and modernization.

Maha El Hissy is a freelance literary scholar, author, curator and critic based in Berlin. She has taught and researched modern German literature in Munich, Cairo, Berkeley, London and Berlin. Her current book project Der kopflose Staat. Jungfrauen und das Politische Imaginäre im Theater nach der Französischen Revolution focuses on the virginal female body in the theatre around 1800 and, based on this, traces the restorative politics and the phantasm of the return of the kings after the execution of Louis XVI.