Le propre et le sale
Un livre serré, dense, subtil. Un livre très " propre ", a-t-on envie d'écrire. Son sujet : les définitions, les repères, les techniques de la propreté corporelle entre Moyen Age et XXe siècle. Sa thèse : qu'il ne faut pas confondre le renforcement de l'exigence de propreté, toujours plus insistante à partir du XVIe siècle, avec les pratiques qui aujourd'hui ont charge d'assurer la netteté du corps [...]. Mais le livre est plus que cela. Il s'appuie, en effet, avec liberté et intelligence, sur les hypothèses proposées par le sociologue allemand Norbert Elias pour rendre compte du " processus de civilisation " qui caractérise les sociétés d'Occident entre XIIe et XIXe siècles [...]. Là est sans doute le prix de ce livre qui analyse le procès de civilisation occidentale à partir de l'un de ses traits les plus fondamentaux : à savoir, les transformations du rapport que les hommes ont eu avec leur corps. Séché, baigné, lavé.
For Health and Beauty
In late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century France the idea of "physical culture" emerged, promising health and beauty but also seeking to promote women's fertility in a period of declining population. Going beyond the simple argument that women's bodily standards and practices were altered by such cultural disciplines as education, medicine, journalism, and advertising, Mary Lynn Stewart argues that these disciplines needed to change their own messages in their attempts to persuade women. As Stewart demonstrates, internal contradictions in the experts' advice, especially concerning issues of sexuality and reproduction, failed to convince women to follow all of their counsel—particularly the most persistent advice, which was to have more children. In For Health and Beauty, Stewart reviews the new scientific and medical attention to women's bodies during the Third Republic and traces the growing emphasis on women's private hygiene as the basis for public hygiene. She then examines compulsory education in hygiene and gymnastics, the flourishing genre of women's medical and sexual self-help literature, and the commercialization of health, beauty, and fitness products—all contributing to new scientific and commercial representations of the female body. In both the scientific and popular works, including women's autobiographical writings, bodily ideals changed from rounded, plump figures to straighter, slimmer contours, and from relatively immobile to relatively active bodies.
Bodily and Spiritual Hygiene in Medieval and Early Modern Literature
While most people today take hygiene and medicine for granted, they both have had their own history. We can gain deep insights into the pre-modern world by studying its health-care system, its approaches to medicine, and concept of hygiene. Already the early Middle Ages witnessed great interest in bathing (hot and cold), swimming, and good personal hygiene. Medical activities grew over time, but even early medieval monks were already great experts in treating the sick. The contributions examine literary, medical, historical texts and images and probe the information we can glean from them. The interdisciplinary approach of this volume makes it possible to view this large field in a complex and diversified manner, taking into account both early medieval and early modern treatises on medicine, water, bathing, and health. Such a cultural-historical perspective creates a most valuable bridge connecting literary and scientific documents under the umbrella of the history of mentality and history of everyday life. The volume does not aim at idealizing the past, but it definitely intends to deconstruct modern myths about the 'dirty' and 'unhealthy' Middle Ages and early modern age.
From Gluttony to Enlightenment
Scorned since antiquity as low and animal, the sense of taste is celebrated today as an ally of joy, a source of adventure, and an arena for pursuing sophistication. The French exalted taste as an entrée to ecstasy, and revolutionized their cuisine and language to express this new way of engaging with the world. Viktoria von Hoffmann explores four kinds of early modern texts--culinary, medical, religious, and philosophical--to follow taste's ascent from the sinful to the beautiful. Combining food studies and sensory history, she takes readers on an odyssey that redefined a fundamental human experience. Scholars and cooks rediscovered a vast array of ways to prepare and present foods. Far-sailing fleets returned to Europe bursting with new vegetables, exotic fruits, and pungent spices. Hosts refined notions of hospitality in the home while philosophers pondered the body and its perceptions. As von Hoffmann shows, these labors produced a sea change in perception and thought, one that moved taste from the base realm of the tongue to the ethereal heights of aesthetics.
Europe at Home
In this fascinating guide to European homes, families, and possessions of the sixteenth through nineteenth centuries, Raffaella Sarti invites us to return to earlier times and observe the daily lives of masters and servants, parents and children, husbands and wives. 'This vivid book takes readers through the daily life of European families at every economic level over three centuries ... This book, with its clear writing and wealth of arresting details, will fascinate and beguile the general reader.' Atlantic Monthly 'The most fascinating work I have read this year.' Eric Hobsbawn, BBC History Magazine 'Sarti deals with a subject of widespread curiosity: how people actually lived in the past. Hers is a wonderful book, tackling questions about housing, furnishings, food, dining, and clothes, and providing one fascinating discussion after another.' David Kertzer, Brown University 'Like a miracle, Raffaella Sarti brings our European ancestors to life.' Jaques le Goff Raffaella Sarti teaches early modern history at the University of Urbino, Italy, and is associate member of the Centre de Recherches Historiques of the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris.
Confronting Modernity in Fin de Si cle France
The turn of the twentieth century represented a crossroads in the French experience of modernization, especially in regard to ideas about gender and sexuality. Drawing together prominent scholars in French gender history, this volume explores how historians have come to view this period in light of new theoretical developments since the 1980s.
The Idea of Design
The essays, selected from volumes 4-9 of the international journal Design Issues, focus on three themes: reflection on the nature of design, the meaning of products, and the place of design in world culture.
The Feel of the City
At the start of the twentieth century, the modern metropolis was a riot of sensation. City dwellers lived in an environment filled with smoky factories, crowded homes, and lively thoroughfares. Sights, sounds, and smells flooded their senses, while changing conceptions of health and decorum forced many to rethink their most banal gestures, from the way they negotiated speeding traffic to the use they made of public washrooms. The Feel of the City exposes the sensory experiences of city-dwellers in Montreal and Brussels at the turn of the century and the ways in which these shaped the social and cultural significance of urban space. Using the experiences of municipal officials, urban planners, hygienists, workers, writers, artists, and ordinary citizens, Nicolas Kenny explores the implications of the senses for our understanding of modernity.
History as a Kind of Writing
In academia, the traditional role of the humanities is being questioned by the “posts”—postmodernism, poststructuralism, and postfeminism—which means that the project of writing history only grows more complex. In History as a Kind of Writing, scholar of French literature and culture Philippe Carrard speaks to this complexity by focusing the lens on the current state of French historiography. Carrard’s work here is expansive—examining the conventions historians draw on to produce their texts and casting light on views put forward by literary theorists, theorists of history, and historians themselves. Ranging from discussions of lengthy dissertations on 1960s social and economic history to a more contemporary focus on events, actors, memory, and culture, the book digs deep into the how of history. How do historians arrange their data into narratives? What strategies do they employ to justify the validity of their descriptions? Are actors given their own voice? Along the way, Carrard also readdresses questions fundamental to the field, including its necessary membership in the narrative genre, the presumed objectivity of historiographic writing, and the place of history as a science, distinct from the natural and theoretical sciences.
The Great Nation in Decline
This book studies how doctors responded to - and helped shape - deep-seated fears about nervous degeneracy and population decline in France between 1750 and 1850. It uncovers a rich and far-ranging medical debate in which four generations of hygiene activists used biomedical science to transform the self, sexuality and community in order to regenerate a sick and decaying nation; a programme doctors labelled 'physical and moral hygiene'. Moreover, it is shown how doctors imparted biomedical ideas and language that allowed lay people to make sense of often bewildering socio-political changes, thereby giving them a sense of agency and control over these events. Combining a chronological and thematic approach, the six chapters in this book trace how doctors began their medical crusade during the middle of the Enlightenment, how this activism flowered during the French Revolution, and how they then revised their views during the period of post-revolutionary reaction. The study concludes by arguing that medicine acquired an unprecedented political, social and cultural position in French society, with doctors becoming the primary spokesmen for bourgeois values, and thus helped to define the new world that emerged from the post-revolutionary period.