Bound to please: a history of the Victorian corset

Front Cover
Berg, Oct 1, 2001 - Design - 302 pages
3 Reviews
Corsets, and the corseted body, have been fetishized, mythologized and romanticized. This Victorian icon has inspired passionate debate that is unrivalled by any other article of clothing and surpassed as a means of body modification only perhaps by footbinding and female circumcision. Summers' provocative book dismantles many of the commonly held misconceptions about the corset. It focuses on how corsetry punished, regulated and sculpted the female form from childhood and adolescence through to pregnancy and even old age. The author reveals how the "steels and bones," which damaged bodies and undermined mental health, were a crucial element in constructing middle-class women as psychologically submissive subjects. Underlying this compelling discussion are issues surrounding the development and expression of juvenile and adult sexuality. While maintaining that the corset was the perfect vehicle through which to police femininity, the author unpacks the myriad ways in which women consciously resisted itsrestrictions and reveals the hidden, macabre romance of this potent Victorian symbol.

From inside the book

What people are saying - Write a review

Review: Bound to Please: A History of the Victorian Corset

User Review  - Kylie Shelley - Goodreads

Learned about the Victorian maternal body and that it was inappropriate to show one's visibly pregnant body in public. The maternal corset was born, and dangerous, caused miscarriage. Part of this ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - laracorsets - LibraryThing

This book is written with a strongly anti-corset biased point of view. I dislike this book because I personally believe in historic fact, not opinion. Read full review


Corsetry and the Invisibility of the Maternal Body
The Child the Corset and the Construction
Corsetry and the Reality of Female Complaints

6 other sections not shown

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2001)

Leigh Summers is University of New England and Senior Education Officer, at the New England Regional Art Museum, Armidale, Australia .

Bibliographic information