Fascinating – an investigating into how the Victorians thought about bodies, as expressed through five subjects. The author also makes you think about biographies and the lack of physical detail. And discusses how physical the Victorian era was - how 'in-your-face' other people's bodies were.
There is the story of Lady Flora – a member of young Victoria’s court – and her ever-growing stomach. Was she pregnant? Which sheds light onto Victorian medical examinations. Diagnosis by mail, anyone?
What about the popularity of beards – fashionable? Unfashionable? How does this reflect the Darwin’s Origin of Species?
Or poor Fanny Adams – the source of the saying ‘Sweet FA’.
Obscure, seemingly disconnected facts are well-woven together in an entertaining manner.
Title: Victorians undone: tales of the flesh in the age of decorum.
Author: Kathryn Hughes.
Recommended by Annie C, Helensville Library.
Annie C is a voracious and versatile reader, but her habitual reads are fantasy, romance, and a diverse selection of non-fiction subjects. A life-long love of children’s books, particularly picture books, helps in her day-to-day role as a children’s librarian.