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Foul Bodies: Cleanliness in Early America

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Foul Bodies: Cleanliness in Early America Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

A nation’s standards of private cleanliness reveal much about its ideals of civilization, fears of disease, and expectations for public life, says Kathleen Brown in this unusual cultural history. Starting with the shake-up of European practices that coincided with Atlantic expansion, she traces attitudes toward “dirt” through the mid-nineteenth century, demonstrating that cleanliness—and the lack of it—had moral, religious, and often sexual implications. Brown contends that care of the body is not simply a private matter but an expression of cultural ideals that reflect the fundamental values of a society.

The book explores early America’s evolving perceptions of cleanliness, along the way analyzing the connections between changing public expectations for appearance and manners, and the backstage work of grooming, laundering, and housecleaning performed by women. Brown provides an intimate view of cleanliness practices and how such forces as urbanization, immigration, market conditions, and concerns about social mobility influenced them. Broad in historical scope and imaginative in its insights, this book expands the topic of cleanliness to encompass much larger issues, including religion, health, gender, class, and race relations.

About the Author

\Kathleen M. Brown is professor of history, University of Pennsylvania, and author of Good Wives, Nasty Wenches, and Anxious Patriarchs: Gender, Race, and Power in Colonial Virginia. She lives in Merion Station, PA.

Table of Contents

Caring for the early modern body — Skin — Corruption — Empire's new clothes — Gentility — Virtue — Reimagining sickness and health — Healing housework — Redemption — Laborers — Immersion — Mission.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780300160277
Publisher:
Yale University Press
Subject:
United States
Author:
Brown, Kathleen M.
Subject:
History
Subject:
Social Science : Customs & Traditions
Subject:
United States - General
Subject:
Customs & Traditions
Subject:
History
Subject:
Hygiene
Subject:
Anthropology - Cultural
Subject:
United States - Colonial Period
Subject:
United States - 18th Century
Subject:
United States - Antebellum Era
Subject:
United states
Subject:
US History-Colonial America
Subject:
US History-General
Subject:
main_subject
Subject:
all_subjects
Publication Date:
January 2009
Binding:
eBooks
Language:
English
Pages:
464

Related Subjects

Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » General
Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » Medical Specialties
History and Social Science » Anthropology » Cultural Anthropology
History and Social Science » Sociology » General
History and Social Science » US History » 19th Century
History and Social Science » US History » Colonial America
History and Social Science » US History » General
History and Social Science » World History » General

Foul Bodies: Cleanliness in Early America
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Product details 464 pages Yale University Press - English 9780300160277 Reviews:
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