A Full-bodied Society

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Logie Barrow, François Poirier
Cambridge Scholars, 2010 - History - 142 pages
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The human body is always changing its meanings. Historical research on this can draw on a host of specialisms. Historians, lettrists and linguists contribute to this book a coherent little tumult of perspectives: what was thinkable for pagan and Christian Anglo-Saxons, and how far did the two really differ? Why did New English Puritans stop addressing God as if He were their breast-feeding Mother? How did Western colonisers' perspectives on animals and on 'subject races' interact? How did Victorian and Edwardian women's participation in sports grow? How transgressive was the figure of the 'dandy'? What motivated late-Victorian panics over prostitution, and on what terms were victims helped? Why, in an increasingly 'democratic' age, did reactions to Britain's first universal health-measure become a basis for cynicism about the masses?
Repeatedly, the rigidity of separation between male and female fluctuated, as did the boundaries themselves. Sometimes, the greater the rigidity, the less the sources may tell us of resistance to them. But sometimes this can be inferred indirectly.
Better testimony than this volume to the liveliness and variety of body-studies is hard to imagine.

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in Puritan New England
the Significance of Womens Sporting

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About the author (2010)

Logie Barrow (b.1945) professed British Isles, slavery and S. African history at Bremen University where he is still based, during 1980-2008. Publications include Independent Spirits, spiritualism and English plebeians, 1850-1910 (1986, Routledge) and, jointly with Ian Bullock, Democratic Ideas and the British Labour Movement 1880-1914 (1996, Cambridge U.P.). Main historical focus: social ascription of stupidity.

Francois Poirier (b.1947) was, from 1993 till his death during March 2010, Professor of British Studies at the University of Paris 13, where for eleven years he directed the Centre for the Study of Intercultural Relations in English and French-speaking Countries (CRIDAF). Extremely wide range of publications, including on Thatcherism and William Morris. His most recent interests included inter-perceptions between British and French scholars of each other's countries.

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