Bound to Please: A History of the Victorian Corset

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Oktober 2001



Corsets, and the corseted body, have been fetishized, mythologized, romanticized. This Victorian icon has inspired more passionate debate than any other article of clothing. As a means of body modification, perhaps only foot binding and female genital mutilation have aroused more controversy. Summers' provocative book dismantles many of the commonly held misconceptions about the corset. In examining the role of corsetry in the minds and lives of Victorian women, it focuses on how corsetry punished, regulated and sculpted the female form from childhood and adolescence through to pregnancy and even old age. The author reveals how the 'steels and bones', which damaged bodies and undermined mental health, were a crucial element in constructing middle-class women as psychologically submissive subjects. Underlying this compelling discussion are issues surrounding the development and expression of juvenile and adult sexuality. While maintaining that the corset was the perfect vehicle through which to police femininity, the author unpacks the myriad ways in which women consciously resisted its restrictions and reveals the hidden, macabre romance of this potent Victorian symbol.


List of Illustrations Introduction Chapter 1 Elegance, Comfort, Durability! Class, Contours and Corsetry Chapter 2 Corsetry and the Invisibility of the Maternal Body Chapter 3 The Child, the Corset and the Construction of Female Sexuality Chapter 4 Corsetry and the Reality of Female Complaints Chapter 5 Breathless with Anticipation: Romance, Mobidity and the Corset Chapter 6 Gender, Gym and the Cultivation of the Nineteenth-Century Body Conclusion Bibliography


Leigh Summers is at the University of New England and Senior Education Officer, New England Regional Art Museum, Armidale, Australia.


In this engaging latest book in the Dress, Body, Culture series, Summers carefully exposes the corset's dual role in Victorian culture. Publishers Weekly Bound to Please is an absorbing and illuminating book, and will be of great interest not just to fashion historians but to all readers interested in the everyday lives of women in Victorian Britain and North America. Feminist Review It's a thrilling story and Summers tells it well. London Review of Books Summers delivers the classic feminist denunciation of the corset - that instrument of over-bearing patriarchy. [This book is] a concentrated piece of independent scholarship. Dress
EAN: 9781859735305
ISBN: 1859735304
Untertitel: 'Dress, Body, Culture (Hardcove'. First. Sprache: Englisch.
Erscheinungsdatum: Oktober 2001
Seitenanzahl: 288 Seiten
Format: gebunden
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