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The unattractive body in early modern culture

This book investigates representations of the unattractive human body in early modern English culture, examining in particular the role played by depictions of the unsightly body in the construction of specific models of identity. It provides a set of texts that can deepen their understanding of the culture and society of the twelfth-century German kingdom. The sources translated bring to life the activities of five noblemen and noblewomen. The book focuses on the ugly characters found in English literature and drama, and also refers to wider European texts and discourses, including Italian and other European visual art. It explores whether ugliness is an objective property or a subjective perception. Ugly men are often represented as Silenus figures, their unappealing exteriors belying their inner nobility. Carrier of diseases and transgressor of sexual, social and physical norms, the ugly woman horrifies and nauseates, provoking a violent response. The manner in which these women are 'defeatured' aligns their acquired ugliness with the erasure of identity rather than its consolidation. The usefulness of the ugly woman as a means of consolidating specific forms of masculine identity is particularly visible in some texts written in praise of unattractive mistresses. Works 'celebrating' ugly women ultimately draw attention to the male creative genius that is capable of transforming even unsightly female matter into compelling art. Eluding simple categorisations and dismantling the most fundamental of social and subjective binaries, ugly figures burst repeatedly on to the scene in early modern texts, often in the most unexpected of places.

Open Access (free)

This book can be described as an 'oblique memoir'. The central underlying and repeated themes of the book are exile and displacement; lives (and deaths) during the Third Reich; mother-daughter and sibling relationships; the generational transmission of trauma and experience; transatlantic reflections; and the struggle for creative expression. Stories mobilised, and people encountered, in the course of the narrative include: the internment of aliens in Britain during the Second World War; cultural life in Rochester, New York, in the 1920s; the social and personal meanings of colour(s). It also includes the industrialist and philanthropist, Henry Simon of Manchester, including his relationship with the Norwegian explorer, Fridtjof Nansen; the liberal British campaigner and MP of the 1940s, Eleanor Rathbone; reflections on the lives and images of spinsters. The text is supplemented and interrupted throughout by images (photographs, paintings, facsimile documents), some of which serve to illustrate the story, others engaging indirectly with the written word. The book also explains how forced exile persists through generations through a family history. It showcases the differences between English and American cultures. The book focuses on the incidence of cancers caused by exposure to radioactivity in England, and the impact it had on Anglo-American relations.

Open Access (free)
Janet Wolff

Isle of Man. The ‘internment of aliens’ – a peculiar and rather hysterical measure taken by the British government after Dunkirk. He had only been married for four months. But I suspect he really enjoyed the ironic freedom of that year. This is my father as an alien. He is alien to Britain and to English culture. Surrounded by those who are not alien to him, he is captured in an alien environment. And this image of him as the central figure is one which is entirely alien to me. His existence on the edges of my childhood, his refusal to engage with me or to challenge

in Austerity baby
History, culture and character
Gary Day

alone most of the time. The communal nature of Bengali culture contrasts with the individualism of English culture. The white people, remarks Mrs Islam, a money lender (which is, incidentally, a practice frowned on in Islam), ‘all do what they want, it’s nobody’s business’ (Ali, 2003 : 88). The habit of ‘minding one’s own business’ means that people like the tattooed lady can

in These Englands
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Why adapt The Spanish Tragedy today?
Tod Davies

Thomas Kyd wrote The Spanish Tragedy some time in the late 1500s, in an Elizabethan London that was busy reinventing English culture. The legitimate and regionally oriented Plantagenets had been defeated by Henry VII, who quickly moved to establish a centralised, grandiose, imperial state, which his descendants, Henry VIII and Elizabeth I, expanded and consolidated. The

in Doing Kyd
Nineteenth–century fiction and the cinema
Richard J. Hand

In considering English culture of the long nineteenth century, we may immediately think of giants of fiction: the witty and delicate satire of Jane Austen; the Gothic achievement of Mary Shelley; the enigmatic Charlotte and Emily Brontë; the social commentary of Charles Dickens; the panoramic narrative of George Eliot; the thrilling narratives of Robert Louis Stevenson; the universal tragic force within the meticulous regionalism of Thomas Hardy; the forging of a national identity in Sir Walter Scott; the

in Interventions
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Ugly subjects in early modern England
Naomi Baker

which the human figure in all of its often repellent as well as potentially magnificent variety was an object of fascination. The ability to depict the singular, the eccentric and the downright ugly was in fact a marker of creative genius, as Leonardo da Vinci’s celebrated grotesque drawings testify. 3 In this book I investigate representations of the unattractive human body in early modern English

in Plain ugly
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A survey of the imperial territory and the beginnings of political empire
Robert M. Bliss

useful starting point) for imperial history must be abandoned. Finally, although the many sharp contrasts between different colonies will not be ignored, the broad view taken here of the politics of empire aims to establish a general framework for understanding seventeenth-century colonial history. The imperial territory we survey embodied both a community of English culture and a radical physical

in Revolution and empire
Deciphering ugly faces
Naomi Baker

be, physical ugliness in Neoplatonic thought is largely synonymous with moral perversion. The association of ugly bodies with evil in early modern English culture is also rooted in Christian doctrines of the Fall, in which the originally perfect, beautiful creation is said to have become both morally and physically deformed as a result of Adam’s sin. The Bible states that man (and woman, although many

in Plain ugly
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Richard Taylor

like a sort of internal exile’.6 Hall’s intellectual and social – and emotional – development was conditioned by the cultural and political dominance in Jamaica of England as the imperial power. (Although Hall acknowledged the complexities involved in the distinctions between ‘Englishness’ and ‘Britishness’, he was clear that it was very predominantly England and English culture that was the prevailing force in Jamaican life and in his own formation.) The curriculum at his elite school, Jamaica College, was Anglo-centric TAYLOR (Radicalism) 9781784993191 PRINT

in English radicalism in the twentieth century