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Body History

Roy Porter, 31 August 1989

The Body and the French Revolution: Sex, Class and Political Culture 
by Dorinda Outram.
Yale, 197 pp., £22, May 1989, 0 300 04436 4
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Victorian Suicide: Mad Crimes and Sad Histories 
by Barbara Gates.
Princeton, 190 pp., £19.95, September 1988, 0 691 09437 3
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Sexual Visions: Images of Gender in Science and Medicine between the 18th and 20th Centuries 
by Ludmilla Jordanova.
Harvester, 224 pp., £19.95, April 1989, 9780745003320
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Family, Love and Work in the Lives of Victorian Gentlewomen 
by Jeanne Peterson.
Indiana, 241 pp., $39.95, May 1989, 0 253 20509 3
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... arms, in the virtuous family, in health and welfare? Not the least tragedy of that revolution, Dorinda Outram argues, was that, having guillotined the ‘king’s body’ and profaned the corpus christi, it failed to invent public spaces for republican bodies. Above all, this was because successive revolutionary cadres were iron-clad within a ‘male ...

A loaf here, a fish there

Roy Porter, 15 November 1984

Science and Medicine in France: The Emergence of Experimental Physiology 1790-1855 
by John Lesch.
Harvard, 276 pp., £20, September 1984, 0 674 79400 1
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Georges Cuvier: Vocation, Science and Authority in Post-Revolutionary France 
by Dorinda Outram.
Manchester, 299 pp., £25, October 1984, 0 7190 1077 2
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... these insights have now been taken further by important but sharply contrasting new monographs. Dorinda Outram’s is ostensibly the narrower, grappling with just one scientist, Georges Cuvier, and even then concentrating on only one aspect of his life – the forging of his career. Yet, perhaps surprisingly, the outcome is not a volume buckling ...

The National Razor

Hilary Mantel: Aux Armes, Citoyennes, 16 July 1998

The Women of Paris and Their French Revolution 
by Dominique Godineau, translated by Katherine Sharp.
California, 415 pp., £45, January 1998, 0 520 06718 5
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... Revolutionary scholarship, the rise of ‘women’s history’ has generated more heat than light. Dorinda Outram put the problem in simple, clear terms in The Body and the French Revolution. Feminist scholarship, she says, has ‘very often been tempted to see the actions of militant women during the Revolution, and their political clubs in ...

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