Graduation Year


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Art History

Second Department


Reader 1

Mary MacNaughton

Reader 2

Melanie Nakaue

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@2020 Alexandra M Varga


This thesis explores the relationship between Surrealist photographer Hans Bellmer’s first book, The Doll, and late 19th and early 20th century pornography. Two copies of The Doll from 1934 and 1936, the German and French publication dates, are analyzed to track the effects of changing censorship laws on Bellmer’s publication process. The historical context of Weimar Berlin and 1930s Paris are utilized to examine the visual similarities between pornographic media of the era and The Doll. These similarities have been largely ignored in previous scholarly study, excluding a major source of visual analysis. The pornographic media discussed will give background to Bellmer's infamous depictions of his pubescent doll.