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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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Inventing Nuance

Inventing Nuance

(p.79) 9. Inventing Nuance
The Metamorphoses of Fat

Georges Vigarello

, C. Jon Delogu
Columbia University Press

This chapter describes how the judgment of contours changed in the Age of Enlightenment. Numerical measuring of weight appeared in the medical literature, and a ranking of volumes also appeared in the most ordinary circumstances. The social milieu depicted in engravings and paintings was signified and even ranked by, among other things, different physical “thicknesses,” even if the associated vocabulary that would explicitly define traits came late and remained imprecise. The history of the fat person was the history of this slowly arriving consciousness of the variety of forms and their possible progressions, while, at the same time, the will to weigh less was not necessarily intense. The culture of the Enlightenment was more attentive to the individual and therefore also to the individualization of size.

Keywords:   fat, fat people, contours, Age of Enlightenment, weight measurement, volume, weight, body size

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