From Fasting Saints to Anorexic Girls: The History of Self-Starvation

Vandereycken, W., Van Deth, Ron

Published by NYU Press, 1994
ISBN 10: 0814787835 / ISBN 13: 9780814787830
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Synopsis:

With waiflike models dominating the advertising world and a new wave of feminists waging war on societal pressure to be thin, eating disorders have, it seems, attained the status of a modern crisis. Although anorexia nervosa was not identified as such until the nineteenth century, the compulsion to be thin at the price of starvation has a long history in western society. Long before talk shows took over the air waves and Cosmopolitan hit the stands, obsession with body and fasting rituals plagued girls and women. But is anorexia as we know it today new?

In an engaging and thorough account of the history of self starvation in the western world, Walter Vandereycken and Ron Van Deth explore this question. Drawing on a myriad of intriguing examples, the authors show how self-inflicted starvation has changed its tone over the centuries and is inextricably enmeshed in socio-cultural contexts.

Consider how drastically the meaning of fasting has mutated in the Christian western world: that in the twelfth century when divine miracles were accepted realities, an emaciated girl would have been seen as holy and touched by God. That same girl would have been considered possessed and cursed by Satan in the sixteenth century when popular belief in witches was on the rise. From Fasting Saints to Anorexic Girls traces the history of starvation from its religious roots, bound up in rigid asceticism, to its economic ties, in the form of living skeletons like shadow Harry who toured freak shows displaying his protruding ribs for money, to the Victorian era, where modern sexual and gender stereotypes find their origin.

The book is the result of exhaustive research, covering Europe and the United States and spanning the early centuries of Christianity to the present day. From Fasting Saints to Anorexic Girls will interest readers in the fields of psychology, psychiatry, women's studies, religious and social history, and cultural studies.

About the Author:

Walter Vandereycken is Professor of Psychiatry, Psychology Institute, Catholic University of Louvain and Clinical Director, Centre for Behaviour Therapy, Alexanian Psychiatric Hospital, Tienen, Belgium. He is the co-author of From Fasting Saints to Anorexic Girls: The History of Self-Starvation.

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Bibliographic Details

Title: From Fasting Saints to Anorexic Girls: The ...
Publisher: NYU Press
Publication Date: 1994
Book Condition: Good

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Walter Vandereycken; Ron Van Deth
Published by New York University Press
ISBN 10: 0814787835 ISBN 13: 9780814787830
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Book Description New York University Press. Hardcover. Condition: Very Good. A copy that has been read, but remains in excellent condition. Pages are intact and are not marred by notes or highlighting, but may contain a neat previous owner name. The spine remains undamaged. An ex-library book and may have standard library stamps and/or stickers. At ThriftBooks, our motto is: Read More, Spend Less. Seller Inventory # G0814787835I4N10

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W. Vandereycken; Ron Van Deth
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