Synopses & Reviews
An extensive, prodigiously illustrated -- in full color and sepia -- and often playful compendium of the disparate notions of human beauty throughout history and cultures.
The Quest for Human Beauty illuminates how and why, for thousands of years, men and women across the globe have gone to enormous and elaborate lengths to change their natural appearance. People persist in changing every and any part of their body in an attempt, not only to make themselves feel more attractive; but also to get attention, arouse envy, conform to the prevailing customs of their particular cultural group, and show off their wealth or social status. The human desire for beautification is so universal that it appears to be an inborn trait. Thus each morning as we prepare ourselves to meet the world -- brush our hair, clean our teeth, put on earrings or a necktie -- we are performing a time-honored ritual.
The Quest for Human Beauty explores and attempts to explain why our concepts of beauty vary both historically and culturally. But it is also a celebration of this great diversity and features hundreds of modes of adornment and embellishments.