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The Perfect Man: The Muscular Life and Times of Eugen Sandow, Victorian Strongman

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The Perfect Man: The Muscular Life and Times of Eugen Sandow, Victorian Strongman

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Eugen Sandow (1867-1925) was a Victorian strongman who was colossally famous in his day and possessed what was deemed to be the most perfect male body. He rose from obscurity in Prussia to become a music-hall sensation in late Victorian London, going on to great success as a performer in North America and throughout the British Empire. He was a friend to King Edward VII and was appointed Professor of Physical Culture to King George V. His physical culture system was adopted by hundreds of thousands around the world. He lost his fortune at the time of the First World War and he ended up being buried in an unmarked grave in Putney Vale Cemetery. There is lively interest in him on the web where his dumbells or chest-extenders sell for hundreds of pounds and an autographed photograph for thousands. Written with humour and insight into the popular culture of late Victorian England, Waller’s book argues that Sandow deserves to be resurrected as a significant cultural figure whose life, like that of Oscar Wilde, tells us a great deal about sexuality and celebrity at the fin de siecle.

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