The Body in the Text

Melbourne University Press
Publication Type:
1995, 1
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It occurred to me only in hindsight that The Body in the Text seems like nothing so much as the title of a detective novel, or at least a critical exploration of detective novels as a genre. In working through th~any different theoretical and critical writings on the body I often felt like a detective, looking for the issues and concerns which would provide the clue to what seems a relatively recent fascination with 'the body'. 'Seems' may be a crucial term here, since one of the interesting things I learned from this study is that the cultures of all times and places have always been vitally concerned with 'the body', whether that means the artful delineation of bodies and embodied practices in indigenous Australian paintings, the narratives of everyday life in the tombs of Egyptian pharaohs, the battles of Renaissance painters to produce a new understanding of human embodiment against the theological certainties of the Catholic church, or the embodied rebellions of Luddites in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries as they smashed the machinery which was to change forever their way of life and perceptions of the body.
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