We have launched a new monthly ‘Reading Hour’ for Literature and the Face. Sessions will be held in-person at the University of Melbourne on Tuesday afternoons. We welcome Graduate Researchers and staff from across the university who are interested in topics relating to our project such as faciality, emotions, portraiture, facial-recognition technologies and more.

In our first session in April we examined Mina Loy’s Auto-Facial-Construction (1919), an advertising pamphlet Loy produced that outlines a range of exercises and instructions for achieving what she termed ‘facial integrity.’ For Loy, the ability to communicate one’s true personality to others requires a physical restructuring of the face that harmonises outside appearance with an inner subjectivity, aimed at achieving the ‘fitting esthetic revelation in our faces.’ She stages the unity of self and face through a process of self-fashioning that revives our ‘inherent right … to look like ourselves.’

You can read Auto-Facial-Construction online in this wonderful edition in the Yale
Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library.

Christina Walter’s essay in the Modernist Commons, “Feminist Manifesto” and Auto-Facial-Construction, provides an excellent background to the pamphlet.

On May 10th we will meet again to read the next text in our series: Georg Simmel’s 1901 essay, “The Aesthetic Significance of the Face.” To join us in person please contact Tyne Sumner at

OpenEdition suggests that you cite this post as follows:
Guy Webster (April 28, 2022). Auto-Facial-Construction. Literature the Face: A Critical History. Retrieved July 12, 2024 from

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