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Consumptive Chic

What happens when you marry microbiology, history and an insatiable drive to find answers? You get a new book by Furman History professor Carolyn Day, Consumptive Chic: A History of Beauty, Fashion, and Disease. Her book was reviewed by Shahidha Bari, senior lecturer in Romanticism at Queen Mary University of London, and contributor for Times Higher Education. In Consumptive Chic, which was reviewed by Bari as “book of the week,” Day explores odd bedfellows tuberculosis, fashion and beauty—the “aesthetics of consumption.” Bari calls Day’s book a “well-researched and diligently compiled cultural history of tuberculosis.”

Earlier, Day is interviewed by Dan Snow of “History Hit.” Day describes tuberculosis as a disease that cut across all demographics and did not discriminate based on gender or social class—a fact that led to the idealization and glamorization of the condition in the late 18th and early 19th century. The “History Hit” podcast with Snow and Day is available here (scroll to Consumptive Chic.)

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