• Creating Beauty To Cure the Soul: Race and Psychology in the Shaping of Aesthetic Surgery

    Author(s): Sander  L Gilman
    Published: 1998
    Pages: 192
    Sales/Territorial Rights: World
  • Cloth: $34.95 - In Stock
    978-0-8223-2111-8
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  • Honorable mention, Outstanding Book Awards

    Awards

  • Honorable mention, Outstanding Book Awards

  • Creating Beauty to Cure the Soul reveals the multi-dimensional cultural, political, and ‘racial’ aspects of the development of modern aesthetic surgery. With his usual acuity, aplomb, and elan, Sander Gilman shows that the distinction between ‘reconstructive’ and ‘aesthetic’ plastic surgery is a thoroughly cultural, thoroughly constructed, and thus thoroughly political/racialized difference.”—Daniel Boyarin, author of Unheroic Conduct: The Rise of Heterosexuality and theInvention of the Jewish Man — N/A

    “Erudite and wide-ranging, Creating Beauty to Cure the Soul will stimulate a great deal of discussion. A welcomed addition to Gilman’s already impressive ouevre.”—Dr. George Makari, Cornell University Medical College — N/A

    “Sander Gilman’s undisputed mastery in explaining and analyzing human stereotypes receives a new and fascinating dimension through the role which aesthetic surgery plays in connecting ideas of physical change and human happiness.”—George L. Mosse, author of The Image of Man and The Crisis of German Ideology — N/A

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  • Description

    Why do physicians who’ve taken the Hippocratic Oath willingly cut into seemingly healthy patients? How do you measure the success of surgery aimed at making someone happier by altering his or her body? Sander L. Gilman explores such questions in Creating Beauty to Cure the Soul, a cultural history of the connections between beauty of body and happiness of mind. Following these themes through an impressive range of historical moments and players, Gilman traces how aesthetic alterations of the body have been used to “cure” dissatisfied states of mind.
    In his exploration of the striking parallels between the development of cosmetic surgery and the field of psychiatry, Gilman entertains an array of philosophical and psychological questions that underlie the more practical decisions rountinely made by doctors and potential patients considering these types of surgery. While surveying and incorporating the relevant theories of Sigmund Freud, Alfred Adler, Karl Menninger, Paul Schilder, contemporary feminist critics, and others, Gilman considers the highly unstable nature of cultural notions of health, happiness, and beauty. He reveals how ideas of race and gender structured early understandings of aesthetic surgery in discussions of both the “abnormality” of the Jewish nose and the historical requirement that healthy and virtuous females look “normal,” thereby enabling them to achieve invisibility. Reflecting upon historically widespread prejudices, Gilman describes the persecutions, harrassment, attacks, and even murders that continue to result from bodily difference and he encourages readers to question the cultural assumptions that underlie the increasing acceptability of this surgical form of psychotherapy.
    Synthesizing a vast body of related literature and containing a comprehensive bibliography, Creating Beauty to Cure the Soul will appeal to a broad audience, including those interested in the histories of medicine and psychiatry, and in philosophy, cultural studies, Jewish cultural studies, and race and ethnicity.


    About The Author(s)

    Sander L. Gilman is Henry R. Luce Professor of the Liberal Arts in Human Biology, Professor and Chair of the Department of Germanic Studies, and Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Chicago. He is the author or editor of over fifty books, including Freud, Race, and Gender; The Jew’s Body; and Disease and Representation: Images of Illness from Madness to AIDS.

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