The Culture of Obesity in Early and Late Modernity: Body Image in Shakespeare, Jonson, Middleton…

Hardcover | January 15, 2008

byElena Levy-Navarro

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The Culture of Obesity in Early and Late Modernity offers the first sustained examination of fatness in the early modern period.  As Levy-Navarro notes, bodily perceptions have evolved that value the thin body as they mark and stigmatize the fat one. Using readings of such major figures as Shakespeare, Jonson, Middleton, and Skelton, this book considers alternative ways that fat was constructed before the introduction of the modern pathologized category of “obesity”.  Levy-Navarro argues that Shakespeare, Jonson, and Skelton understood that a thin aesthetic consolidates the power of the elite and chose to align themselves with their fat, lowly, and revolting characters--an alliance that offers a model of defiance with continued relevance.

 

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The Culture of Obesity in Early and Late Modernity offers the first sustained examination of fatness in the early modern period.  As Levy-Navarro notes, bodily perceptions have evolved that value the thin body as they mark and stigmatize the fat one. Using readings of such major figures as Shakespeare, Jonson, Middleton, and Skelton, t...

Elena Levy-Navarro is Associate Professor of English, University of Wisconsin, Whitewater.  She has published numerous articles in cultural and literary studies, including articles on John Bale, Andrew Marvell, and Gloria Anzaldúa.    
Format:HardcoverDimensions:252 pages, 8.5 × 5.5 × 0.69 inPublished:January 15, 2008Publisher:Palgrave MacmillanLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0230601235

ISBN - 13:9780230601239

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"The Culture of Obesity in Early and Late Modernity offers a crucial example of how generative a fat studies approach to culture can be, and how an intervention into both current and historical representations of bodily dimensions is applicable to scholarships in many disciplines."-- Journal of Popular Culture"The Culture of Obesity in Early and Late Modernity challenges the historically constructed discourse of fatness and obesity as moral transgression. Levy-Navarro offers fat embodiment as a revisionist-and indeed, populist-oppositional strategy against ceding the dominant will to the nationalist 'lean and mean,' with its assertion of aesthetic and moral superiority."-- Olga L. Valbuena, Associate Professor of English, Wake Forest University"Levy-Navarro accomplishes a difficult feat in her book--she explains a complex topic in a voice which is conversation yet scholarly, personal yet not indulgent, and challenging yet not audacious. This easily digestible, vital text deserves a place next to other critical works of the early and late modern period."--Quidditas"A historicist study enhanced by a keen understanding of psychoanalytical theory, Levy-Navarro's book traces a history of cultural attitudes about body image from the late medieval period through the seventeenth century . . . her well-organized argument provides thorough and original literary analyses of challenging early modern texts and offers valuable insight into the scholarship on early modern attitudes about body image."--Sixteenth Century Journal