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Big and Small - A Cultural History of Extraordinary Bodies

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Big and Small - A Cultural History of Extraordinary Bodies

Lynne Vallone

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A groundbreaking work that explores human size as a distinctive cultural marker in Western thought

Author, scholar, and editor Lynne Vallone has an international reputation in the field of child studies. In this analytical tour-de-force, she explores bodily size difference-particularly unusual bodies, big and small-as an overlooked yet crucial marker that informs human identity and culture.

Exploring miniaturism, giganticism, obesity, and the lived experiences of actual big and small people, Vallone boldly addresses the uncomfortable implications of using physical measures to judge normalcy, goodness, gender identity, and beauty. This wide-ranging work surveys the lives and contexts of both real and imagined persons with extraordinary bodies from the seventeenth century to the present day through close examinations of art, literature, folklore, and cultural practices, as well as scientific and pseudo-scientific discourses. Generously illustrated and written in a lively and accessible style, Vallone’s provocative study encourages readers to look with care at extraordinary bodies and the cultures that created, depicted, loved, and dominated them.

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