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The Metamorphoses of FatA History of Obesity$
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Georges Vigarello

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780231159760

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231159760.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM COLUMBIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.columbia.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Minnesota Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CUPSO for personal use.date: 21 September 2019

Liquids, Fat, and Wind

Liquids, Fat, and Wind

Chapter:
(p.10) 2. Liquids, Fat, and Wind
Source:
The Metamorphoses of Fat
Author(s):

Georges Vigarello

, C. Jon Delogu
Publisher:
Columbia University Press
DOI:10.7312/columbia/9780231159760.003.0002

This chapter considers the ambiguity surrounding the definition of “fat” in medieval texts. These texts variously refer to fat as an oily, pliable, and fundamentally aqueous material, sometimes more compact depending on the location, and of a composite, somewhat obscure nature. Unknown were its proportions of water, oil, blood, or phlegm; its consistency and density; and its origin and content. All that is certain is the immediate evidence: colors, odors, resistance, and extension that lump together many possible substances as sources of fatness. Even air must be considered since it is thought to move through the body provoking swelling and puffiness, a by-product of body heat as much as smoke from fire.

Keywords:   fat composition, medieval texts, water, oil, blood, phlegm, fatness, air, Middle Ages, medieval period

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