New Book | A Cultural History of the Human Body in the Enlightenment

Posted in books by Editor on June 20, 2014

The book first appeared in 2012 but has recently been issued in paperback by Bloomsbury:

Carole Reeves, ed., A Cultural History of the Human Body in the Enlightenment (London: Berg, 2012), 320 pages, Hardback, ISBN: 978-1847887917, $100 / Softcover, ISBN: 9781472554659, $35.

9781472554659The Enlightenment, 1650–1800 was a time when people began to take stock of their intrinsic worth as individuals. Of course, slaves were still property, servants and apprentices were indentured, daughters ‘belonged’ to fathers and brothers, wives to husbands, and paupers were tethered to their parish. But change was in the air as increased population, migration and urbanization began to reshape both national and personal identity. The birth of modern society in the Enlightenment demanded a rethinking of the human body in all its forms, from conception to death and beyond. The history of midwives, medics, colonialists, cross-dressers, corpses, vampires, witches, beggars, beauties, body snatchers, incest and immaculate conceptions—all reveal how the body changed in this age of turbulence and transition.

A Cultural History of the Human Body in the Enlightenment presents an overview of the period with essays on the centrality of the human body in birth and death, health and disease, sexuality, beauty and concepts of the ideal, bodies marked by gender, race.


Series Preface

Carole Reeves (University College London), Introduction: Enlightenment Bodies
1 Lisa Forman Cody (Claremont McKenna College), The Body in Birth and Death
2 Kevin Siena (Trent University), Pliable Bodies: The Moral Biology of Health and Disease
3 George Rousseau (Oxford University), Sexual Knowledge: Panspermist Jokes, Reproductive Technologies, and Virgin Births
4 Jessica Riskin (Stanford University), Medical Knowledge: The Adventures of Mr. Machine, with Morals
5 Ruth Richardson (University of Herfordshire), Popular Beliefs about the Dead Body
6 David M. Turner (Swansea University), The Body Beautiful
7 Laura Gowing (King’s College London), Marked Bodies and Social Meanings
8 Susan Staves (Brandeis University), The Puzzle of the Pox-Marked Body
9 Tim Hitchcock (University of Hertfordshire), Cultural Representations: Rogue Literature and the Reality of the Begging Body
10 Ruth Perry (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), Self and Society: Attitudes toward Incest in Popular Ballads


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