Sculpture Machine Physical Culture and Body Politics in the Age of Empire

ISBN-10: 0814712673
ISBN-13: 9780814712672
Edition: N/A
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Description: During the early 1800s, inventor James Watt occupied his final years attempting to develop a mechanical system for copying sculptures of the human body. Though Watt's sculpture machine was never completed (and would, in any event, have eventually  More...

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Book details

Publisher: New York University Press
Publication date: 3/1/1997
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 352
Size: 5.50" wide x 8.75" long x 1.00" tall
Weight: 0.748
Language: English

During the early 1800s, inventor James Watt occupied his final years attempting to develop a mechanical system for copying sculptures of the human body. Though Watt's sculpture machine was never completed (and would, in any event, have eventually been made obsolete with the advent of photography), Watt's quest serves as an incisive metaphor for the subsequent body politics of the nineteenth century. As the modern world emerged, contemporary conceptions of physicality remained rooted in the classical tradition as they were simultaneously influenced by the technological forces of industry and revolution.From Victorian reform to post World War I physical efficiency, Michael Budd'sThe Sculpture Machinetraces this tension between the atavistic and modern in an engaging narrative analysis of physical culture. Budd foregrounds the rise of physical culture postcards, magazines and products by examining longstanding traditions of strength performance and the growing popularity of music hall body builders in the late 1800s. In the physical culture media itself, he uncovers elements of the consumer dynamic that shaped the 20th century tabloid-press as well as early gay-coded publications. From the 1830s through World War I, bodies were increasingly articulated as objects that could be shaped and repaired. Budd's insightful work deftly illustrates how ideas about bodies influenced the building of social, racial, gender and sexual identities in concert with the construction of a larger consumer culture.

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