Catalogue


Making the body beautiful : a cultural history of aesthetic surgery /
Sander L. Gilman.
imprint
Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, c1999.
description
xxii, 396 p. : ill.
ISBN
0691026726 (CL : alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, c1999.
isbn
0691026726 (CL : alk. paper)
catalogue key
2883287
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
About the Author
Author Affiliation
Sander L. Gilman is the Henry R. Luce Professor of the Liberal Arts in Human Biology at the University of Chicago.
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 1999-03-08:
An intriguing inquiry into how aesthetic surgery has evolved into a major area of modern medicine, this book combines cultural perspectives on the body beautiful with a medical chronology. Gilman (Creating Beauty to Cure the Soul, etc.), who teaches human biology at the University of Chicago, focuses extensively on the nose as the original site of aesthetic procedures. He simultaneously explores "the basic motivation for aesthetic surgeryÄthe desire to `pass,'" starting with 16th-century surgery to rebuild the noses of syphilitics "so they would be less visible in their society"Äand its cultural implications. Early debate centered on whether surgery restored function or merely catered to human vanity. The "hierarchy of races" created by some scientists in the 18th century inspired procedures to create "American noses out of Irish pug noses," while "the origin of the `correction' of the black nose is masked within medical literature [because] no reputable surgeon wanted to be seen as facilitating crossing the color bar." Gilman discusses political uses of aesthetic surgery, such as that of the Nazis to achieve the Aryan ideal, the transformation of former Klan Grand Wizard David Duke into what one commentator called "a blond, blow-dried replica of a young Robert Redford," transsexual surgery to permit "restoration of the relationship between the inner and outer selves" and aesthetic surgery as a fountain of youth. His fast-paced narrative blends cultural criticism with discussion of medical techniques and ethics in a thoughtful study that should appeal to both a lay and professional readership. Photos not seen by PW. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Appeared in Choice on 1999-11:
In Making the Body Beautiful, Gilman develops a theme found in his recently published Creating Beauty to Cure the Soul: Race and Psychology in the Shaping of Aesthetic Surgery (CH, May'99): that aesthetic surgery comes from and simultaneously serves medical, psychological, and cultural needs, which are commonly expressed as the need individuals feel to "pass" in a culture from which they also feel alienated. As far back as the late Renaissance, for example, the desire to improve a scarred nose--either from warfare or congenital syphilis--spurred the development of cosmetic or aesthetic surgery. In the late 19th and throughout the 20th century, racial assimilation, the amelioration of sexual dysmorphia, or the restoration of youthfulness have been among the goals of such surgery. Gilman's research is thorough, his analysis thoughtful, and the presentation thought-provoking. Also, his gift for seeing connections amid diverse cultural and political strains makes his work much more than simply an antiquarian medical history of the topic, i.e., problems and procedures. Ample illustrations; extensive bibliography. General readers; upper-division undergraduates through professionals. T. P. Gariepy; Stonehill College
Appeared in Library Journal on 1999-04-15:
Gilman, a distinguished professor of human biology at the University of Chicago, has drawn on a rich variety of sourcessurgical texts as well as literature, art, and filmto trace the history and the cultural meaning of aesthetic surgery. His story begins with the Renaissance, when the focus on the human ability to transform the self and the world created the distinction between reconstructive and aesthetic surgery. In addition to undoing the ravages of disease, Gilman identifies other motives for aesthetic surgery: matching cultural ideals of beauty, repairing the impact of war-related injuries, and appearing youthful or erotic. Most disturbing are Gilmans wide-ranging examples of how aesthetic surgery has been used to correct signs of racial difference. Gilman brings his story to the present, discussing liposuction, breast enlargement and reduction, and transsexual surgery. He also gives examples from non-Western regions, reflecting the globalization of European American standards of beauty. A fascinating and provocative book that should appeal to scholars and informed general readers alike. Highly recommended.Marie Marmo Mullaney, Caldwell Coll., NJ (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Reviews
Review Quotes
"A fascinating and provocative book. . . ."-- Library Journal (starred review)
"A fascinating combination of text and illustration and of literary, medical, and scientific information. A thoughtful history by an author who knows his material well and has a sympathetic understanding of human beings as well as a lively sense of humor."-- Booklist
"[A] readable and useful book. . . . Through Mr. Gilman's long lens, the search for beauty and the fashion for plastic surgery are not a contemporary ill, but something older and more universal."-- The Economist Review
"A richly illustrated, delightfully crafted cultural history of aesthetic surgery . . . An informative and captivating history of our attempts to make our bodies beautiful."-- Londa Schiebinger, American Historical Review
"A [wide-ranging] and enjoyable work. . . . Gilman has an eye for detail, yet remains aware of the wider perspective. He also raises important questions. . . . In [this] rich, elegant and beautiful [book] he shows that the history of aesthetic surgery is too important to be left to the surgeons."-- Jonathan Cole, Times Literary Supplement
"Bravely navigating the ethnic maze with admirable aplomb, . . . [Sander Gilman] considers nearly every hyphenated group's American dream of becoming something else. He gets away with such brazenness . . . by constantly offering entertaining literary and pop culture references upon which we can all hang our hats."-- Margo Hammond, The New York Observer
"Far from the body representing immutable essences of beauty or horror, the history of aesthetic surgery confirms that the body bears witness to public ideologies of sexual and racial difference. And the body has its own invisible memories of tragedy from which, for some, aesthetic surgery offers the promise of transcendence."-- Beatrix Campbell, The Independent
"[Gilman's] fast-paced narrative blends cultural criticism with discussion of medical techniques and ethics in a thoughtful study that should appeal to both a lay and professional readership."-- Publishers Weekly
"Gilman's research is thorough, his analysis thoughtful, and the presentation thought-provoking."-- Choice
"[Gilman] tells a strange, macabre, and often richly comic story of shifting desires. His book shows a dazzling European erudition. . . . There is now less furtiveness attached to aesthetic surgery. But the question remains--and Gilman asks it cleverly, humanely, and persistently--whether new appearances just gloss over old problems and often create new ones."-- New York Review of Books
"Gilman tells a timely, yet previously largely untold tale. By presenting the complex interaction of ideas, social relations, technology, psychiatry (and the madness of doctors as well as patients), the author makes a valuable contribution to our understanding of our times."-- Erika Bourguignon, The Antioch Review
" Making the Body Beautiful is an important contribution to our understanding of th emergence and significance of aesthetic surgery. It is a must for anyone concerned with our present cultural obsession with beauty and the makability of the body. And it provides a model for writing medical history that is not limited to charting the facts, but tries to understand their meaning as well."-- Kathy Davis, Bulletin of the History of Medicine
"Rich in both detail and fascinating illustrations, Gilman's history shows aesthetic surgery as a response to the exigencies of contemporary cultures."-- Bettyann Holtzmann Kevles, Isis
"There is one theme that links all [Gilman's] work: how human beings construct images of others to define themselves. . . . [He] has been unafraid to examine areas that academics have traditionally shied away from."-- The New York Times
"With its bizarre amalgam of new developments in medicine and prevailing trends in fashion, "aesthetic surgery" is a phenomenon that begs for examination, and Gilman, as both historian and critic, proves equal to the task. . . . Face-lifts, nose jobs, liposuction, decircumcision, buttocks implants, breast augmentation, and breast reduction, among other procedures, present themselves, Gilman dryly notes, as surgical cures for what is often essentially a psychological problem--a persistent sense of discontent."-- Holly Brubach, The Atlantic Monthly
This item was reviewed in:
Publishers Weekly, March 1999
Booklist, April 1999
Kirkus Reviews, April 1999
Library Journal, April 1999
Washington Post, May 1999
Choice, November 1999
Doody's Reviews, April 2000
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Back Cover Copy
"An extraordinarily learned, endlessly fascinating book that deals with a hot contemporary subject."-- Elaine Showalter, Princeton University "This work is wide-ranging, well-informed, and stimulating in its scholarship. Its also provocative--not in the sense of being outrageous, unbalanced, or politically incorrect but in challenging conventional thinking and forcing readers to question their unspoken assumptions. I found this an engrossing read."-- Roy Porter, Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine, London "Sander Gilman has delivered exactly what the title promises: a cultural history of his subject. By trawling a remarkably wide range of material, from surgical papers to novels, high art and films, he has produced a nuanced history of an important discipline within modern surgery. As with all of Gilman's work, the marriage of text and image contributes much to the impact of this major contribution to our understanding of that most welcome intimate of subjects: the history of the body."-- W. F. Bynum, Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine, London "Sander Gilman has done it again. This is a splendid book, rich in interpretation and rich with refrences. The European aspect of the history of cosmetic surgery has not been so fully developed before Gilman brought together the cultural and the medical parts of the story. His wide-ranging references are themselves are worth the price of admission."-- Gert H. Brieger, Johns Hopkins University
Bowker Data Service Summary
Around the globe, aesthetic surgery has become a cultural and medical fixture. This text seeks to explain why by presenting a systematic world history and cultural theory of aesthetic surgery.
Main Description
Nose reconstructions have been common in India for centuries. South Korea, Brazil, and Israel have become international centers for procedures ranging from eyelid restructuring to buttock lifts and tummy tucks. Argentina has the highest rate of silicone implants in the world. Around the globe, aesthetic surgery has become a cultural and medical fixture. Sander Gilman seeks to explain why by presenting the first systematic world history and cultural theory of aesthetic surgery. Touching on subjects as diverse as getting a "nose job" as a sweet-sixteen birthday present and the removal of male breasts in seventh-century Alexandria, Gilman argues that aesthetic surgery has such universal appeal because it helps people to "pass," to be seen as a member of a group with which they want to or need to identify. Gilman begins by addressing basic questions about the history of aesthetic surgery. What surgical procedures have been performed? Which are considered aesthetic and why? Who are the patients? What is the place of aesthetic surgery in modern culture? He then turns his attention to that focus of countless human anxieties: the nose. Gilman discusses how people have reshaped their noses to repair the ravages of war and disease (principally syphilis), to match prevailing ideas of beauty, and to avoid association with negative images of the "Jew," the "Irish," the "Oriental," or the "Black." He examines how we have used aesthetic surgery on almost every conceivable part of the body to try to pass as younger, stronger, thinner, and more erotic. Gilman also explores some of the extremes of surgery as personal transformation, discussing transgender surgery, adult circumcision and foreskin restoration, the enhancement of dueling scars, and even a performance artist who had herself altered to resemble the Mona Lisa. The book draws on an extraordinary range of sources. Gilman is as comfortable discussing Nietzsche, Yeats, and Darwin as he is grisly medical details, Michael Jackson, and Barbra Streisand's decision to keep her own nose. The book contains dozens of arresting images of people before, during, and after surgery. This is a profound, provocative, and engaging study of how humans have sought to change their lives by transforming their bodies.
Main Description
Nose reconstructions have been common in India for centuries. South Korea, Brazil, and Israel have become international centers for procedures ranging from eyelid restructuring to buttock lifts and tummy tucks. Argentina has the highest rate of silicone implants in the world. Around the globe, aesthetic surgery has become a cultural and medical fixture. Sander Gilman seeks to explain why by presenting the first systematic world history and cultural theory of aesthetic surgery. Touching on subjects as diverse as getting a "nose job" as a sweet-sixteen birthday present and the removal of male breasts in seventh-century Alexandria, Gilman argues that aesthetic surgery has such universal appeal because it helps people to "pass," to be seen as a member of a group with which they want to or need to identify.Gilman begins by addressing basic questions about the history of aesthetic surgery. What surgical procedures have been performed? Which are considered aesthetic and why? Who are the patients? What is the place of aesthetic surgery in modern culture? He then turns his attention to that focus of countless human anxieties: the nose. Gilman discusses how people have reshaped their noses to repair the ravages of war and disease (principally syphilis), to match prevailing ideas of beauty, and to avoid association with negative images of the "Jew," the "Irish," the "Oriental," or the "Black." He examines how we have used aesthetic surgery on almost every conceivable part of the body to try to pass as younger, stronger, thinner, and more erotic. Gilman also explores some of the extremes of surgery as personal transformation, discussing transgender surgery, adult circumcision and foreskin restoration, the enhancement of dueling scars, and even a performance artist who had herself altered to resemble the Mona Lisa.The book draws on an extraordinary range of sources. Gilman is as comfortable discussing Nietzsche, Yeats, and Darwin as he is grisly medical details, Michael Jackson, and Barbra Streisand's decision to keep her own nose. The book contains dozens of arresting images of people before, during, and after surgery. This is a profound, provocative, and engaging study of how humans have sought to change their lives by transforming their bodies.
Publisher Fact Sheet
Seeks to explain why aesthetic surgery has become a cultural & medical fixture around the globe by presenting the first systematic world history & cultural theory of aesthetic surgery.
Unpaid Annotation
Nose reconstructions have been common in India for centuries. South Korea, Brazil, and Israel have become international centers for procedures ranging from eyelid restructuring to buttock lifts and tummy tucks. Argentina has the highest rate of silicone implants in the world. Around the globe, aesthetic surgery has become a cultural and medical fixture. Sander Gilman seeks to explain why by presenting the first systematic world history and cultural theory of aesthetic surgery. Touching on subjects as diverse as getting a "nose job" as a sweet-sixteen birthday present and the removal of male breasts in seventh-century Alexandria, Gilman argues that aesthetic surgery has such universal appeal because it helps people to "pass, " to be seen as a member of a group with which they want to or need to identify.Gilman begins by addressing basic questions about the history of aesthetic surgery. What surgical procedures have been performed? Which are considered aesthetic and why? Who are the patients?What is the place of aesthetic surgery in modern culture? He then turns his attention to that focus of countless human anxieties: the nose. Gilm
Unpaid Annotation
Nose reconstructions have been common in India for centuries. South Korea, Brazil, & Israel have become international centers for procedures ranging from eyelid restructuring to buttock lifts & tummy tucks. Argentina has the highest rate of silicone implants in the world. Around the globe, aesthetic surgery has become a cultural & medical fixture. Sander Gilman seeks to explain why by presenting the first systematic world history & cultural theory of aesthetic surgery. Touching on subjects as diverse as getting a "nose job" as a sweet-sixteen birthday present & the removal of male breasts in seventh-century Alexandria, Gilman argues that aesthetic surgery has such universal appeal because it helps people to "pass," to be seen as a member of a group with which they want to or need to identify. Gilman begins by addressing basic questions about the history of aesthetic surgery. What surgical procedures have been performed? Which are considered aesthetic & why? Who are the patients? What is the place of aesthetic surgery in modern culture? He then turns his attention to that focus of countless human anxieties: the nose. Gilman discusses how people have reshaped their noses to repair the ravages of war & disease (principally syphilis), to match prevailing ideas of beauty, & to avoid association with negative images of the "Jew," the "Irish," the "Oriental," or the "Black." He examines how we have used aesthetic surgery on almost every conceivable part of the body to try to pass as younger, stronger, thinner, & more erotic. Gilman also explores some of the extremes of surgery as personal transformation, discussing transgender surgery, adult circumcision & foreskin restoration, the enhancement of dueling scars, & even a performance artist who had herself altered to resemble the Mona Lisa. The book draws on an extraordinary range of sources. Gilman is as comfortable discussing Nietzsche, Yeats, & Darwin as he is grisly medical details, Michael Jackson, & Barbra Streisand's decision to keep her own nose. The book contains dozens of arresting images of people before, during, & after surgery. This is a profound, provocative, & engaging study of how humans have sought to change their lives by transforming their bodies.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrationsp. ix
Prefacep. xvii
Judging by Appearancesp. 3
What Is Aesthetic Surgery?p. 3
Why Is It Aesthetic Surgery?p. 8
Remaking the Selfp. 16
"Passing"p. 21
Criminal Bodiesp. 26
Gender Questionsp. 31
"Before and After"p. 36
Victory over Diseasep. 42
Amy and the Princessp. 42
The Syphilitic Nosep. 49
The Strange Case of Tristram Shandyp. 60
Renaissance Nosesp. 66
A Cure from the Coloniesp. 73
The Racial Nosep. 85
Enlightenment Nosesp. 85
The Jewish Nosep. 88
Irish Nosesp. 91
"Oriental" Noses-and Eyesp. 98
Black into White ill
Marks of Honor and Dishonorp. 119
Character Inscribed on the Facep. 119
Too-Jewish Ears and Nosesp. 124
The Telltale Foreskinp. 137
Greek Idealsp. 144
Noses at Warp. 157
Fixing Shattered Facesp. 157
Patriotic Noses and Weimar Surgeryp. 169
Nazi Nosesp. 177
Assimilation in the Promised Landsp. 186
Helping Jews Become Americansp. 186
The Israeli Experiencep. 199
The Importance of Being Barbrap. 202
After the Nosep. 206
Erotic Bodiesp. 206
Buttocks Have Meaningp. 210
Big Breasts and Belliesp. 218
Small Breasts--No Breasts?p. 237
The Wrong Bodyp. 258
Men with Breastsp. 258
Transsexual Surgeryp. 268
The First Cut Is the Deepestp. 288
Dreams of Youth and Beautyp. 295
Beauty and Agep. 295
Post-Aesthetic Bodiesp. 319
Conclusion: "Passing" as Humanp. 329
Notesp. 335
Indexp. 385
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

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