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Plain ugly - Naomi Baker

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Plain ugly - the unattractive body in early modern culture
Naomi Baker
Manchester University Press
UK Publication Date

Plain ugly examines depictions of physically repellent characters in a striking range of early modern literary and visual texts, offering fascinating insights into the ways in which ugliness and deformity were perceived and represented, particularly with regard to gender and the construction of identity. The book focuses closely on English literary culture but also engages with wider European perspectives, drawing on a wide array of primary sources including Italian and other European visual art. Offering illuminating close readings of texts from both high and low culture, it will interest scholars in English literature, cultural studies, women's studies, history and art history, as well as postgraduate and undergraduate students in these disciplines. As an accessible and absorbing account of the power dynamics informing depictions of ugliness (and beauty) in relation to some of the quirkiest literary and visual material to be found in early modern culture, it will also appeal to a wider audience.

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Naomi Baker is Lecturer in English Literature at the University of Manchester.

A valuable compendium of cultural references'
Review of English Studies, vol 62 no 257

'Baker probes beneath the surface to excavate the deeper cultural concerns undergirding aesthetic anxieties. This book is much more appealing than its subject matter suggests, and is a contribution to cultural studies as well as to a neglected aspect of early modernity. A critic who flits so effortlessly from Bacon and Burton to Mikhail Bakhtin, Barthes and Judith Butler certainly deserves a broad readership.'
Willy Maley, The THE, 20th January 2011

Naomi Baker crafts a convincing argument about the inextricable link between physical unattractiveness and the female body based on a vast number of literary and cultural works from the sixteenth through the late seventeenth century.

Keyword Index
Ugliness in literature.|Ugliness in art.|Abnormalities, Human, in literature.|Abnormalities, Human, in art.|English literature - Early modern, 1500-1700 - History and criticism.|European literature - History and criticism.
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