A Cultural History of Gesture

A Cultural History of Gesture : From Antiquity to the Present Day

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People are often inclined to view our gestures as something "natural". Yet a closer look at history tells us that they change from one period to another, and that these changes can provide us with vital insights into social and cultural developments of the past. This book sets out to explore such changes in the development of gestures - from modes of walking and oratorial gesture in Greece and Rome to the origin of the modern handshake, from the arm akimbo in Renaissance portraiture to early modern table manners, from Spanish tavern sociability to the modern kiss. These discrete accounts place the history of gestures in their wider cultural context and together form a vivid picture of life and manners through the centuries.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 220 pages
  • 152 x 229mm
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • 33 illustrations, index
  • 0745607861
  • 9780745607863

Table of contents

Preface Introduction: Keith Thomas 1. Walking, Standing and Sitting in Ancient Greek Culture: Jan Bremmer (University of Groningen) 2. Gestures and Convention: the gestures of Roman actors and orators: Fritz Graf (University of Basel) 3. The Rationale of Gestures in the West: third to thirteenth centuries: Jean-Claude Schmitt (Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales) 4. The Language of Gesture in Early Modern Italy: Peter Burke (Emmanuel College, Cambridge) 5. The Renaissance Elbow: Joaneath Spicer (Walters Art Gallery) 6. The Order of Gestures: a social history of sensibilities under the Ancien Regime in France: Robert Muchembled (France) 7. The `Hand of Friendship': shaking hands and other gestures in the Dutch Republic: Herman Roodenburg (P.J. Meertens Instituut) 8. Gesture, Ritual and Social Order in Sixteenth- to Eighteenth-Century Poland: Maria Bogucka (Poland) 9. The Kiss Sacred and Profane: reflections on a cross-cultural confrontation: Willem Frijhoff (Netherlands) 10. Gestured Masculinity: body and sociability in rural Andalusia: Henk Driessen (Netherlands) Gestures in History: a select bibliography (Jan Bremmer and Herman Roodenburg). Notes on Contributors.
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