You Feel So Mortal: Essays On The Body

Hardcover | March 19, 2014

byPeggy Shinner

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Feet, bras, autopsies, hair—Peggy Shinner takes an honest, unflinching look at all of them in You Feel So Mortal, a collection of searing and witty essays about the body: her own body, female and Jewish; those of her parents, the bodies she came from; and the collective body, with all its historical, social, and political implications. What, she asks, does this whole mess of bones, muscles, organs, and soul mean? Searching for answers, she turns her keen narrative sense to body image, gender, ethnic history, and familial legacy, exploring what it means to live in our bodies and to leave them behind.
 
Over the course of twelve essays, Shinner holds a mirror up to the complex desires, fears, confusions, and mysteries that shape our bodily perceptions. Driven by the collision between herself and the larger world, she examines her feet through the often-skewed lens of history to understand what makes them, in the eyes of some, decidedly Jewish; considers bras, breasts, and the storied skills of the bra fitter; asks, from the perspective of a confused and grieving daughter, what it means to cut the body open; and takes a reeling time-trip through myth, culture, and history to look at women’s hair in ancient Rome, Laos, France, Syria, Cuba, India, and her own past. Some pieces investigate the body under emotional or physical duress, while others use the body to consider personal heritage and legacy. Throughout, Shinner writes with elegance and assurance, weaving her wide-ranging thoughts into a firm and fascinating fabric.
 
Turning the category of body books on, well, its ear, You Feel So Mortal offers a probing view of our preoccupation with the body that is both idiosyncratic and universal, leaving us with the deep satisfaction of our shared humanity.

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From the Publisher

Feet, bras, autopsies, hair—Peggy Shinner takes an honest, unflinching look at all of them in You Feel So Mortal, a collection of searing and witty essays about the body: her own body, female and Jewish; those of her parents, the bodies she came from; and the collective body, with all its historical, social, and political implications....

A lifelong Chicagoan, Peggy Shinner teaches in the MFA in creative writing program at Northwestern University.
Format:HardcoverDimensions:224 pages, 8.5 × 5.5 × 0.9 inPublished:March 19, 2014Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:022610527X

ISBN - 13:9780226105277

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

PART ONE
Family Feet
Pocketing
Debutante, Dowager, Beggar
The Knife
Elective
The Fitting(s)
Berenice’s Hair

PART TWO
Leopold and Shinner
Tax Time
Mood Medicine
Intimate Possession
Postmortem

Acknowledgments

Editorial Reviews

“I derived as much sheer pleasure from these exquisitely crafted and often mordantly funny essays as from anything else I read this year. This is a book you curl up with in a comfortable chair with a mug of steaming tea, as the world reshapes itself around you.”