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Cultures of the Abdomen : Diet, Digestion, and Fat in the Modern World - Christopher E. Forth

Cultures of the Abdomen

Diet, Digestion, and Fat in the Modern World

By: Christopher E. Forth (Editor), Ana Carden-Coyne (Editor)

Hardcover Published: 6th January 2005
ISBN: 9781403965219
Number Of Pages: 264

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We live in a world obsessed with abdomens. Whether we call it the belly, tummy, or stomach, we take this area of the body for granted as an object of our gaze, the subject of our obsessions, and the location of deeply felt desires. Diet, nutrition, and exercise all play critical roles in the development of our body images and thus our sense of self, not least because how we are made to feel about bodies (both our own and those of others) is often grounded in dietary and lifestyle choices. Cultures of the Abdomen traces the history of social, cultural, and medical ideas about the stomach and related organs since the seventeenth century, and demonstrates that a focused study of the abdomen is necessary for understanding the deep historical meanings that underscore our contemporary obsessions with hunger, diet, fat, indigestion, and excretion. It locates that history from dietary ideals in early modern Europe to the vexing issue of American fat in the twenty-first century, surveying along the way developments in Britain, France, Germany, Italy, and Russia.

Industry Reviews

"The editors of Cultures of the Abdomen have assembled an imaginative mix of social, cultural, and medical histories that illuminate how past discussions of digestion, diet, and body shape have informed modern gender ideals, health, selfhood, and personal values. We learn here how the exterior form of the belly has come to reflect not only what goes into and out of it, but has also become a reliable sign of our inner nature. By adding corpulence and character to the ancient connection between health and dietetics, these essays literally tap into the guts of our contemporary obsession with eating and body image." - Robert A. Nye, Oregon State University

"This is a stimulating excursion through the human alimentary tract that explores the complex intertwinings of Western attitudes toward eating and eliminating with the anxieties generated by the growth of urban, industrial civilization. The ideology of the abdomen is shown to have stimulated and responded to contemporary notions of health, character, and intellect, and to have sown confusion over gender identification and sexual appetite. Physiology and medicine, philosophy and literature, even the world of commerce, are probed to illuminate the preoccupation of the past three centuries with the appearance and experience of the belly." - James Whorton, Professor of Medical History, University of Washington

"If 'food' is the new 'sex' in cultural studies, then this cultural history should be consumed as soon as possible. Linking diet, the body, and the self in deeply and carefully historicized ways, it spans the modern period from the Enlightenment to the present, from 'weight loss in the age of reason' to 'fat is a feminist issue.' It draws together key younger and established scholars for whom culture, history, and the abdomen yield intriguing and important insights into modern sensibilities." - Alison Bashford, The University of Sydney

Introduction : the belly and beyond : body, self, and culture in ancient and modern timesp. 1
The physiology of hypochondria in eighteenth-century Britainp. 15
Corporeal economies : work and waste in nineteenth-century constructions of alimentationp. 31
Kakao and Kaka : chocolate and the excretory imagination of nineteenth-century Europep. 51
American guts and military manhoodp. 71
The Philosophe's stomach : hedonism, hypochondria, and the intellectual in Enlightenment Francep. 89
Coleridge's dreaming gut : digestion, genius, hypochondriap. 105
It's 'alimentary' : Feuerbach and the dietetics of antisemitismp. 127
Tolstoy's body : diet, desire, and denialp. 147
Weight loss in the age of reasonp. 169
Useless and pernicious matter : corpulence in eighteenth-century Englandp. 185
'The belly of Paris' : the decline of the fat man in fin-de-siecle Francep. 205
How fat detectives thinkp. 221
Fat in Americap. 239
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9781403965219
ISBN-10: 1403965218
Audience: General
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 264
Published: 6th January 2005
Publisher: Palgrave USA
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 21.54 x 15.19  x 2.06
Weight (kg): 0.45
Edition Number: 1