I’ve mentioned Barbara Maria Stafford on here before, especially her book Body Criticism. which I bought nearly a year (?!) ago, and which I have yet to read, for one simple reason;
It’s so. so thick.
Don’t get me wrong, I like to think I’m a fairly intelligent person, Not To Be Daunted By Big Words, but for real.
I’ve skimmed, I’ve flipped about, I’ve looked at the AWEsome collection of illustrations throughout the book, but I’ve yet to sit down and really read it. The book came up over food/conversation with Sean a few months (!!?) ago where he not only showed off an autographed copy, but also reassured me that yes, it is hard, but that every struggle, every word looked up is totally worth it.
So, this year I’ve been making a concerted effort to really read it, thinking I’d post about it when I was done (book reviews being something I’d like to do more of on here in the future). Seeing as last night I just finished the introduction, however, by the time I finish we’ll all have been absorbed into the internet a lá Tron and will be too busy fighting for our lives against evil coorporate computer overlords to care about one 20something’s thoughts on Barbara Maria Stafford, so I figured I’ll just post as I go.
I mean, not too much to say so far as all I’ve read is the introduction, but I do finally know what the book is about and why Stafford wrote it. Prior to last night, had you asked me, the conversation would’ve gone something like this;
you: Body Criticism,eh? What’s that about?
me: um, it’s about the Enlightenment! And bodies. And…criticism….
you: Bodies during the Enlightenment? What about them?
you: I mean, is the author arguing for or against the majority view of the time period? Is she contrasting the Enlightenment view to the modern one? And why bodies?
you: Do you even know when the Enlightenment took place?
But now! Now I would tell you it promises to be several things- One, a history of perception, and how the scientific advancements as well as early microscopes from the Enlightenment (18th century BOOya) altered the way humans see perception (har. har.). It’s also an argument for the need to return to the pre-Enlightenment view that things which can be felt/touched/physical have value (as opposed to the post-Enlightenment emphasis on the Idea and the Ideal.). Especially as our world gets more and more digital, and the boundries of our ‘selves’ expand, “the body, and indeed all bodies, lose their former indestrucible organic spatial and temporal unity” (Stafford, 36). In other words, we need to be more…in touch with ourselves? eh? eh?
One pun too many. the end.