Bodies historical/philosophical/medical (new book releases)

Dear all,

The quickly approaching end of the year is bringing the promise of gifts and treats. As books are on top of the list this year, I have been spending my time perusing for new titles. Thus, I came “across 3 interesting sounding titles focused on the human body: a historical, a philosophical and a medical acount.

Smile Revolution, by Colin Jones.

You could be forgiven for thinking that the smile has no history; it has always been the same. However, just as different cultures in our own day have different rules about smiling, so did different societies in the past. In fact, amazing as it might seem, it was only in late eighteenth century France that western civilization discovered the art of the smile….It was a transformation linked to changing patterns of politeness, new ideals of sensibility, shifts in styles of self-presentation – and, not least, the emergence of scientific dentistry.” [you can read more about the book and even the first chapter on the Oxford University Press page]

Convulsing Bodies: Religion and Resistance in Foucault, by Mark Jordan

Foucault was famously interested in Christianity as both the rival to ancient ethics and the parent of modern discipline and was always alert to the hypocrisy and the violence in churches. Yet many readers have ignored how central religion is to his thought, particularly with regard to human bodies and how they are shaped. When readers follow his allusions, they can see why he finds in religion not only an object of critique, but a perennial provocation to think about how speech works on bodies—and how bodies resist.”

Do No Harm: Stories of Life, Death and Brain Surgery, by Henry Marsh

“What is it like to be a brain surgeon?

How does it feel to hold someone’s life in your hands, to cut into the stuff that creates thought, feeling and reason?

How do you live with the consequences of performing a potentially life-saving operation when it all goes wrong?

In neurosurgery, more than in any other branch of medicine, the doctor’s oath to ‘do no harm’ holds a bitter irony. Operations on the brain carry grave risks. Every day, Henry Marsh must make agonising decisions, often in the face of great urgency and uncertainty.” [you can read a review on The Guardian page]

I have to say that I am quite curious about all 3 of them, so in case any of you gets to read them, please let me know how they are.

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