The fat man--a cultural icon, a social enigma, a pressing medical issue--is the subject of this remarkably rich book. The figures that Sander L. Gilman considers, from the ugly fat man with the beautiful sylph trapped inside to the smart fat boy to the aging body desirous of rejuvenation, appear and reappear in different guises throughout Western culture. And as is often true, such marginal cases help define the shifting center of our dreams and beliefs. An exploration into the world of male body fantasies, Gilman's book examines how the representation of the fat man alters with time and alters how men relate to their own bodies and the bodies of others, both male and female. His examples--ranging from Santa Claus to Sancho Panza, from Falstaff to Babe Ruth, from Nero Wolfe to Al Roker--illustrate the complexity perennially associated with fat men. From discourses about normality to the playing fields of baseball, from Greek male beauty to the fat detective, Gilman's book examines and illuminates how cultures have imagined and portrayed the fat boy.
" ... forcefully written and very well timed." Elaine Showalter Times Literary Supplement "Gilman opens a valuable conversation about the cultural history of obesity that examines how we have come to understandoand misunderstandothe condition." New York Times Book Review "Gilman uncovers the surprising complexity associated with fat men in a clear and succinct manner." Library Journal
Preface Introduction: Fat Is a Man's Issue 1. Fat Boys in the Cultural History of the West; 2. Fat Boys Writing and Writing Fat Boys; 3. Patient Zero: Falstaff; 4. How Fat Detectives Think (And Fat Villains Act); 5. Fat Ballplayers and the Bodies of Fat Men Conclusion: Cutting into the Future of Fat Boys Notes; Index