Anatomies: A Cultural History of the Human Body

Hugh Aldersey-Williams. Norton, $26.95 (320p) ISBN 978-0-393-23988-1
Mixing biology, art, literature, and pop culture from the ancient past up to the present, Aldersey-Williams (The Most Perfect Molecule) provides an enlightening and thoroughly engaging view of the human body. Although he divides the corpus into part-specific chapters, Aldersey-Williams avoids a reductionist view of the subject, reflecting instead on how our components come together to make us fully human. Along the way he relates myriad humorous, informative, and provocative stories—in the chapter on flesh, he describes the “autocannibalism” of food critic Stefan Gates, who “converted fat extracted from his body by liposuction into glycerol for use in icing a cake, which he then proceeded to eat.” He also apprises readers of how to make a shrunken head, and describes “a new kind of love token” being pioneered by artist Tobie Kerridge: “rings made from the bone tissue of their partner.” He also explains why it’s not uncommon to find subjects with two left feet in paintings, the science behind facial recognition, and the skeletal demands of ballet. From the dissection laboratory to a live-model drawing class, Aldersey-Williams illuminates the contours of the human body from head to toe. 16 illus. Agent: Antony Topping, Greene & Heaton (U.K.) (June)
Reviewed on: 01/14/2013
Release date: 06/01/2013
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FORMATS
Paperback - 294 pages - 978-0-393-34884-2
Hardcover - 294 pages - 978-0-670-92074-7
Open Ebook - 320 pages - 978-0-393-24047-4
Hardcover - 300 pages - 978-0-670-92075-4
Hardcover - 294 pages - 978-0-670-92072-3
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