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American Bodies

Most human bodies have two arms, two legs, hands, feet, a head. Yet the body, as we perceive it, is ultimately a cultural construct defined by the values and meanings each individual, and each culture, ascribes to it. Beyond its corporeal realities, the implications of the body-how we adorn, alter, heal, and please it-are potentially endless, limited only by the manner in which we frame it.Revealing how the human body has served as as metaphor for social process, the anthology unveils the body as intrinsically configured by politics, gender, racial categories, fears of pollution, and commercial forces which exploit and regulate it. Historical snapshots of American bodies over the past two and a half centuries, the essays in this volume cover such diverse subjects as sailor tattoos, maritime cannibalism in the early 1800's, birth control, rest cures for neurasthenia, and, more recently, anorexia, boxing, cyberpunk, and plastic surgery. Drawing from history, literary and cultural studies, and film studies, American bodies is an eclectic, stimulating collection that will challenge many fundamental beliefs about our physical form.
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About the Author

Tim Armstrong is Senior Lecturer in English at Royal Holloway college at the University of London.


"An important addition to the literature of women's studies."-"Publishers Weekly", starred review "Norris' touch is at once playful and wise.. . . [She] is a consistently deft and imaginative critic."-Salon, "Eve excites me because it provides such a rich cluster of stories around the image of Eve through Western culture."-Lillian S. Robinson, "The Women's Review of Books" "A fascinating 'biography' of the women of Western Myth, folklore, and legend.. . . Norris illuminates how persistent ideas of woman as both life- and death-giving, attractive and dangerous, innocent and knowing have changed over time."-"Library Journal", starred review "A valuable book, essential reading for anyone interested in tracing the ways in which the story of Eve has influenced Western understandings of gender."-Carolyn See, "The Washington Post"

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