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Technology, Self-Fashioning and Politeness in Eighteenth-Century Britain: Refined Bodies

Technology, Self-Fashioning and Politeness in Eighteenth-Century Britain: Refined Bodies (Hardback)

£45.00
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Synopsis

The second half of the eighteenth century brought important changes in attitudes towards shaping the body. New expectations of polite conduct, deportment and demeanour were projected onto the body, with emphasis laid upon neatness, elegance and a 'natural' body shape. Deformities were to be concealed, whilst bodily surfaces were managed to convey a harmonious whole. A large number of 'technologies of the body' were involved in this process, including wooden legs, elastic trusses, and even wigs. But the introduction of a new type of steel - cast steel - around 1750, offered new material possibilities for shaping the body. The physical properties of steel transformed the design and function of many instruments, from postural devices to spectacles, and even the smallest daily items of toilette. By no means was steel the only material involved in transforming the body. Neither did it simply sweep away all that had gone before. But, as an 'enlightened metal', cast steel was a key material in the refinement of the body.

History & PoliticsHistory: specific events & topicsSocial & cultural historyPhilosophy, Psychology & Social SciencesCultural StudiesFashion & society Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan Publication Date: 03/12/2015 ISBN-13: 9781137467478  Details: Type: Hardback Format: Books
Availability: Printed to order. Despatched in 2-3 weeks.  

Alun Withey is a historian of medicine and the body, and a Wellcome Research Fellow at the University of Exeter, UK. Withey's work on the medical history of early modern Wales (2012) was awarded the EAHMH Book Prize in 2013. His current research project explores the health and hygiene history of facial hair in Britain c. 1700-1918.

More books by Alun Withey

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