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Victorians Undone: Tales of the Flesh in the Age of Decorum

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About the Book

‘Intriguing, gleefully contentious and – appropriately enough – fizzing with life, Victorians Undone is the most original history book I have read in a long while’ John Preston, Daily Mail

A groundbreaking account of what it was like to live in a Victorian body from one of our best historians.

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.

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Product Details

  • ISBN: 9780007548361
  • ISBN 10: 0007548362
  • Imprint: Fourth Estate
  • On Sale: 01/26/2017
  • Pages: 432
  • List Price: 34.99 CAD
  • BISAC1: HISTORY / General
  • BISAC2: HISTORY / Europe / Great Britain
  • BISAC3: HISTORY / Social History

Victorians Undone: Tales of the Flesh in the Age of Decorum by Kathryn Hughes

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