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234 × 156 mm
368 pages
60 illustrations
01 Mar 2019
  • £25.00

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Fat A Cultural History of the Stuff of Life Christopher E. Forth

Fat: a little word that evokes big responses. While ‘fat’ describes the size and shape of bodies, our negative reactions to excess flesh also depend on something tangible and tactile. As this book argues, there is more to fat than meets the eye. Fat: A Cultural History of the Stuff of Life offers a historical reflection on how fat has been perceived and imagined in the West since antiquity. Featuring fascinating historical accounts, as well as philosophical, religious and cultural arguments, including discussions of status, gender and race, the book digs deep into the past for the roots of our current notions and prejudices. By exploring the complex ways in which fat, fatness and fattening have been perceived over time, this book provides rich insights into the stuff our stereotypes are made of.

Fat is a thoroughly researched and capable book . . . a timely reminder of the cycles of our organic existence in the face of ever greater outer forces.’ – History Today

‘Christopher Forth is a myth-buster. This is the book to read if you are wondering why people in the West are so obsessed with fat.’ – Joanna Bourke, author of The Story of Pain and What It Means To be Human

Fat is the definitive overview of what bodily excess means and has meant in Western society. Forth’s dramatic account, written with grace and a touch of irony, is a vital and critical addition to the cultural history of the body by a master of the genre.’ – Sander Gilman, author of Fat: The Biography

‘This is a distinctive and ambitious analysis, tracing body imagery from the classical period to the present and offering a striking argument about the relevance of past standards to contemporary debates. The book also offers a strong case for the interconnections between historical and scientific assessments.’ – Peter N. Stearns, author of Fat History

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Christopher E. Forth is the Dean’s Professor of Humanities and Professor of History at the University of Kansas and the author of several books, including Masculinity in the Modern West (2008).