Technology, Self-Fashioning and Politeness in Eighteenth-Century Britain

Refined Bodies

Authors: Withey, A.

Buy this book

eBook £35.99
price for United Kingdom (gross)
  • ISBN 978-1-137-46748-5
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format:
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover £45.00
price for United Kingdom (gross)
  • ISBN 978-1-137-46747-8
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
About this book

The second half of the eighteenth century brought important changes in attitudes towards shaping the body. New expectations of polite conduct, deportment and demeanour were projected onto the body, with emphasis laid upon neatness, elegance and a 'natural' body shape. Deformities were to be concealed, whilst bodily surfaces were managed to convey a harmonious whole. A large number of 'technologies of the body' were involved in this process, including wooden legs, elastic trusses, and even wigs. But the introduction of a new type of steel - cast steel - around 1750, offered new material possibilities for shaping the body. The physical properties of steel transformed the design and function of many instruments, from postural devices to spectacles, and even the smallest daily items of toilette. By no means was steel the only material involved in transforming the body. Neither did it simply sweep away all that had gone before. But, as an 'enlightened metal', cast steel was a key material in the refinement of the body.

About the authors

Alun Withey is a historian of medicine and the body, and a Wellcome Research Fellow at the University of Exeter, UK. Withey's work on the medical history of early modern Wales (2012) was awarded the EAHMH Book Prize in 2013. His current research project explores the health and hygiene history of facial hair in Britain c. 1700-1918.

Reviews

“Divided into seven short chapters, Withey’s book … functions as a valuable introduction to the study of the intersection of consumer culture, new industrial processes (particularly the production of ‘cast’ or ‘crucible’ steel) and the cultivation of what Withey terms the ‘purposeful management of the body during the Enlightenment’. … Technology, Self-fashioning and Politeness in Eighteenth-century Britain is a very readable and useful work of cultural history.” (Jonathan Sawday, Social History of Medicine, Vol. 30 (1), February, 2017)


Buy this book

eBook £35.99
price for United Kingdom (gross)
  • ISBN 978-1-137-46748-5
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format:
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover £45.00
price for United Kingdom (gross)
  • ISBN 978-1-137-46747-8
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
Loading...

Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Technology, Self-Fashioning and Politeness in Eighteenth-Century Britain
Book Subtitle
Refined Bodies
Authors
Copyright
2016
Publisher
Palgrave Macmillan UK
Copyright Holder
The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s)
eBook ISBN
978-1-137-46748-5
DOI
10.1057/9781137467485
Hardcover ISBN
978-1-137-46747-8
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
X, 162
Topics