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220 × 150 × 25 mm
256 pages
70 illustrations, 20 in colour
12 Oct 2020

The Wig A Hairbrained History Luigi Amara
Translated by Christina MacSweeney

Whether in a court room or a dressing room, wigs come in many forms, and represent many things: from power, to sexuality, to parody, to health, to self-identity, to disguise. Wigs are present at parties and in chemotherapy rooms, in pop music and contemporary art. In this witty and eloquent book, Luigi Amara reflects on the curious history of the wig, and along the way takes a sideways look at Western civilization.

Amara illuminates how the wig has starred throughout history, from ancient Egypt to the court of Louis XIV, and from British courtrooms to drag shows today. Containing many striking and unusual images, the book appeals to a wide audience, from those interested in the history of fashion to philosophy, art, culture and aesthetics.

‘[Explores] the wig’s silly, sexy, and serious strains in a collection of fanciful short essays . . . It’s clear that for Amara, the wig is an excuse to ponder, wander, and lose himself to flights of fancy.’ — Hyperallergic

‘With the precision of a Renaissance collector, Amara has written a book as wonderful and impressive as the old cabinets of curiosities. From Andy Warhol to Andre Agassi, the collection exposed in The Wig makes us smile and laugh with amazement, while we reflect on how shaky identity is.’ — Carlos Fonseca, Lecturer in Latin American Literature and Culture, Trinity College, Cambridge, and author of 'Natural History' (2020)

‘A clever and illuminating take on the world of wigs. A book every hairdresser should have in their collection.’ — Isaac Davidson, hairstylist, wig designer and founder of Wigbar

‘In this smart and humorous account of the history of the wig, Luigi Amara proves he’s not afraid of frivolity, using it to dig deep into the history of our ideas and costumes.’ — Juan Pablo Villalobos, author of 'I Don't Expect Anyone to Believe Me' (2020) and 'Down the Rabbit Hole' (2011)

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Luigi Amara is the author of many poetry collections, essays and children’s books, including Nu)n(ca (winner of the International Poetry Prize in Spanish), and The School of Boredom.

An Otherworldly Prologue
A Theory of Disguise
Casanova, Wigs and Masks
The She-wolf of the Night: Messalina
The Rage Called Wig
Samson at the Roland-Garros
The Counter-philosophy of the Wig
The Future Was a Purple Wig
The Mannequin and the Dark Object of Desire
Andy Warhol’s Wig
The Hemisphere in a Wig
On the Other Side of the Mirror of Horror
Music Curls
Capillary Plagiarism
The Indiscreet Charm of Hair
On Remains and Other Relics
Dressing Up Justice
Towering Hairdos
Abbé de Choisy or the Inner Woman
Cindy Sherman in Simulationland
Death Will Come and Shall Be Wearing a Wig
A Bald Wig in Search of a Head
In and Out of the Theatre
Stony Hair
Wigs at the Extremes of Crime
On Nudity or Venus in a Wig
Reinvention by Hair
Devotional Hairstyles
The Chimeric Wig
That Old Camp Stridency
The Tangled Mop of Fetish
A Knife Named Guillotine
The Discourse of False Hair

Bedside Reading
Photo Acknowledgements