Clean: A History of Personal Hygiene and Purity

Clean: A History of Personal Hygiene and Purity

Clean: A History of Personal Hygiene and Purity

Clean: A History of Personal Hygiene and Purity

Synopsis

Why do we still have nits? What exactly are 'purity rules'? And why have baths scarcely changed in 200 years? This pioneering book covers the global history of human body-care. From pre-historic grooming rituals to New Age medicine, from ascetics to cosmetics, Smith looks at how different cultures have interpreted and striven for personal cleanliness. It is probably safe to say that no-one who reads this book will look at his or her body (or bathroom) in quite the same way again.

Excerpt

In our hall hangs a nineteenth-century framed handbill, handblocked in red and blue, printed by the 'Inmates at the Prevention and Reformatory Institute, 237 Euston Rd, London'. It used to hang in the parlour of a farmhouse near Louth in Lincolnshire, close by the chair in which, according to family legend, John Wesley sat when he came to tea one memorable afternoon. It says:

RULES

To Be Observed By This Family.

Waste Not, Want not Gather up the fragments that remain that nothing be lost—John vi.12.

Do everything at its Proper Time To everything there is a Season, and a time to every purpose—Eccls.iii

Put everything in its Proper Place.

Use everything for its Proper Purpose.

Rise early. Be industrious.

Let all things be done decently and in Order—Cor. xiv.40

BE PUNCTUAL. BE REGULAR. BE CLEAN.

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