In the children’s books of Rumer Godden, the dollhouse stands as a benchmark of childhood. The Doll’s House, her 1947 meditation on imagination (and, yes, story of a dollhouse) concerns two sisters who inherit an heirloom outfitted with a doll family. The younger is firmly convinced that the dolls have lives and feelings and that they, the girls, function as arbitrary gods; the elder sister dismisses the notion as a childish fantasy. Which possibility is more exciting—or alarming—remains an open question. But the regularity with which Godden approached the subject in her fiction is no accident; as she saw it, dollhouses were something of the human predicament, in miniature, writing, “It is an anxious, sometimes a dangerous thing to be a doll. Dolls cannot choose; they can only be chosen; they cannot ‘do’; they can only be done by.”Sadie Stein, writing on The Paris Review's blog.
Photograph of the art gallery of Carrie Stettheimer's doll house, with miniature works by Marcel Duchamp and Gaston Lachaise. Image by Helga Photo Studio. More here.