Victorians Undone: Tales of the Flesh in the Age of Decorum (Paperback)
  • Victorians Undone: Tales of the Flesh in the Age of Decorum (Paperback)
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Victorians Undone: Tales of the Flesh in the Age of Decorum (Paperback)

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£9.99
Paperback 432 Pages / Published: 25/01/2018
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Why did the great philosophical novelist George Eliot feel so self-conscious that her right hand was larger than her left?

Exactly what made Darwin grow that iconic beard in 1862, a good five years after his contemporaries had all retired their razors?

Who knew Queen Victoria had a personal hygiene problem as a young woman and the crisis that followed led to a hurried commitment to marry Albert?

What did John Sell Cotman, a handsome drawing room operator who painted some of the most exquisite watercolours the world has ever seen, feel about marrying a woman whose big nose made smart people snigger?

How did a working-class child called Fanny Adams disintegrate into pieces in 1867 before being reassembled into a popular joke, one we still reference today, but would stop, appalled, if we knew its origins?

Kathryn Hughes follows a thickened index finger or deep baritone voice into the realms of social history, medical discourse, aesthetic practise and religious observance - its language is one of admiring glances, cruel sniggers, an implacably turned back.

The result is an eye-opening, deeply intelligent, groundbreaking account that brings the Victorians back to life and helps us understand how they lived their lives.

Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
ISBN: 9780007548385
Number of pages: 432
Weight: 310 g
Dimensions: 198 x 129 x 28 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

'A page-turner ... brilliant all the way through. One of the best books I've read in ages' - Lucy Worsley, Sunday Express

'A dazzling experiment in life writing ... Every page fizzes with the excitement of fresh discoveries ... Each page becomes a window on to a world that is far stranger than we might expect' - Robert Douglas-Fairhurst, Guardian

'It is rich and scholarly, something fascinating to be discovered on every page ... Hughes is a thoroughly engaging writer: serious-minded but lively, careful yet passionate... Some of the encounters in its pages, whiffy and indelible, will stay with me for ever' - Rachel Cooke, Observer

'A work of formidable scholarship ... Reading it is like unravelling the bandages on a mummy to find the face of the past staring back in all its terrible and poignant humanity' - Lucy Lethbridge, Financial Times

'History so alive you can smell its reek ... With her love of bodily detail, Hughes does indeed put the carnal back into biography' - Lisa Appignanesi, Telegraph

'No one remotely interested in books should miss it' - John Carey, Sunday Times

'I can't think of a recent social history I've enjoyed more' - The Big Issue

'Beautifully constructed, narrated not only with wit and gusto, but a clear sense of purpose' - Craig Brown, Mail on Sunday

'Sex certainly rears its many heads, but so does every other aspect of Victorian life, from farming techniques to court etiquette, dentistry to oil painting' - The Times, Book of The Week

'Refreshingly unusual ... brilliant' - Dominic Sandbrook, Sunday Times, Books of the Year

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Reviews

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“Hugely enjoyable”

More snapshots of each subject than a full-on biography, this is a really well-written book. I freely admit that I wouldn't have gone out and bought a biography specifically on any of these individuals, but ended... More

Hardback edition
13th March 2017
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