A History of the Breast

Front Cover
Ballantine Books, 1998 - Reference - 331 pages
In this provocative, pioneering, and wholly engrossing cultural history, noted scholar Marilyn Yalom explores twenty-five thousand years of ideas, images, and perceptions of the female breast--in religion, psychology, politics, society, and the arts.

Through the centuries, the breast has been laden with hugely powerful and contradictory meanings. There is the "good breast" of reverence and life, the breast that nourishes infants and entire communities, as depicted in ancient idols, fifteenth-century Italian Madonnas, and representations of equality in the French Revolution. Then there is the "bad breast" of Ezekiel's wanton harlots, Shakespeare's Lady Macbeth, and the torpedo-breasted dominatrix, symbolizing enticement and aggression. Yalom examines these contradictions--and illuminates the implications behind them.

A fascinating, astute, and richly allusive journey from Paleolithic goddesses to modern day feminists, A History of the Breast is full of insight and surprises. As Yalom says, "I intend to make you think about women's breasts as you never have before." In this, she succeeds brilliantly.

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User Review  - empress8411 - LibraryThing

An interesting and amusing book, this was read for a college course on the history of women. I recommend as good starter book on the history - a book to use as a springboard for deeper studies. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - ratastrophe - LibraryThing

This book was interesting, but it expanded upon knowledge I already had rather than teaching me anything new. My primary complaint is that when the book hit the modern era (modern relative to the book ... Read full review

Contents

GODDESSES PRIESTESSES BIBLICAL
9
ORBS OF HEAVENLY FRAME
49
BOSOMS FOR THE NATION 1o 5
5
Copyright

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About the author (1998)

Marilyn Yalom is a former professor of French and a senior scholar at the Clayman Institute for Gender Research at Stanford University. She is the author of widely acclaimed books, such as A History of the Breast, A History of the Wife, Birth of the Chess Queen, The American Resting Place (with photographer son Reid Yalom), How the French Invented Love, and, most recently, The Social Sex: A History of Female Friendship, co-authored with Theresa Donovan Brown. She lives in Palo Alto, California, with her husband, psychiatrist and author Irvin D. Yalom.

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