Beyond the Gymnasium

Beyond the Gymnasium : Educating the Middle-class Bodies in Classical Germany

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Beyond the Gymnasium is the first systematic effort to examine the history of the body in modern Germany. By looking into medical dietetics, walking, dancing, gymnastics, cholera, and classrooms, Heikki Lempa reconstructs the ways the middle-class body became a source of political and social autonomy and a medium of social interaction. During the first two decades of the nineteenth century, German physicians defined the middle class body as qualitatively different from the lower class body. This belief was supported by a contemporary science known as dietetics. Lempa provides a comprehensive history and analysis of this science. Beyond the Gymnasium also analyzes the social implications of court dancing and gymnastics. In the eighteenth century, the French court dances set the standards of upper and middle class conduct. In the 1810s, the gymnastics movement challenged this tradition by propagating vigorous physical exercise and egalitarian social interaction. In 1819, the ban on gymnastics contributed to the rapid spread of dancing clubs, ballrooms, public promenades, and spas; the old forms of bodily interaction underwent a renaissance. These two trends-the quest for bodily autonomy and the continuity of traditional bodily conduct-played an important role in the status of the German middle class in the nineteenth century. In social interaction, it continued to cultivate those forms that had endowed the Old Regime with its specific character and flair. To explain this, the book explores the forms of social recognition in dancing, greeting, and walking and discovers that the German middle class displayed an aptitude for social recognition of asymmetrical more

Product details

  • Paperback | 306 pages
  • 152.4 x 226.1 x 20.3mm | 430.92g
  • Lexington Books
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • 0739120905
  • 9780739120903

About Heikki Lempa

Heikki Lempa is assistant professor of Modern European History at Moravian more

Review quote

Heikki Lempa provides a close and detailed analysis of the rise of dietetics as an intellectual and social enterprise that affected many bodies in late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth century Germany in heterodox and heterogenous ways. Lempa's eye for historical detail and close reading aid the project tremendously, making Beyond the Gymnasium a very good resource for historians of the more empirical persuasion. German Studies Review, October 2009 Laban's work is a vivid example of the radically liberal yet religious dynamic that characterizes Lempa's discussion of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century dietetics Dance Research Journal, Winter 2010show more

Table of contents

Chapter 1 Introduction Part 1 Quest For Bodily Autonomy Chapter 3 Dietetics Chapter 4 Restoring the Balance Part 5 Practices of Bodily Education Chapter 6 Gymnastics Chapter 7 Dance Chapter 8 Walking Part 9 The Crises of the 1830s Chapter 10 Cholera Chapter 11 The Uberburdung Debate and Gymnasium Part 12 Conclusionshow more