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Brief History of Nakedness

Brief History of Nakedness

Author: Philip Carr-Gomm
$39.95 (AUD)  inc GST
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Confrontations with naked human bodies can provoke powerful, and often contradictory, impressions and feelings. Just as they might either thrill or revolt, they can signal innocence or sexiness, frankness or madness, a oneness with nature or a separation from society. Advertisers and the media are very aware of the complex and highly subjective associations that most of us have towards nakedness, and use images incessantly to compete for our attention. Yet mystics have embraced nudity to get closer to God or to some other remote power, while political activists have discovered that baring all is one of the most effective ways to gain publicity for a cause. In "A Brief History of Nakedness", Philip Carr-Gomm traces our preoccupation with nudity in three distinct areas of human endeavour: religion, politics and popular culture. Rather than study the history of the fine-art nude, or detail the ways in which the naked body has been denigrated or imprisoned, this book explores new territory - revealing the ways in which religious teachers, politicians, protestors and cultural icons have used nudity to enlighten or empower themselves, or simply to entertain us. From the naked sages of India and St Francis of Assisi to modern-day druids and Christian nudists, from "The Full Monty" and "Calendar Girls" to Lady Godiva and Lady Gaga, "A Brief History of Nakedness" surveys the touching, sometimes tragic, and often bizarre story of our relationship with our own and with others' naked bodies.

'Philip Carr-Gomm has an idea: Stop reading and take off your clothes' - Chronicle of Higher Education 'Being naked in public can be fun, or naughty, or provocative, or health-giving, or political. It is almost always illegal. And, as anyone who has visited a nudist resort can testify, it is rarely, if ever, sexy. But, as Philip Carr-Gomm reveals in his academic romp through two millenniums of public exhibitionism from the ancient Greeks to animal-rights activists, you can be naked anywhere. You are only nude if someone is watching. Nakedness on its own is straightforward - it's the context and the audience of nudity that make it interesting ... wonderful illustrations' - Sunday Times 'Once you've finished this thought-provoking book, go back to the mirror. Slip off the bathrobe and have another look. Unless you were reading it in the waiting room of a plastic surgeon, nothing much will have changed. Yet something seems different. If it weren't anatomically impossible, you'd swear your whole body was smiling.' - Daily Telegraph
Stock Information

General Fields

  • : 9781780230221
  • : Reaktion Books
  • : Reaktion Books
  • : June 2012
  • : 234mm X 156mm
  • : October 2012
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : 288
  • : Philip Carr-Gomm
  • : 153 black & white illustrations, 99 colour illustrations
  • : Paperback
  • : 1012