Tuesday, 24 November 2009
Bulwer’s Artificial Changling
Anthropometamorphosis: = man transform'd: or, the artificiall changling : historically presented, in the mad and cruell gallantry, foolish bravery, ridiculous beauty, filthy finenesse, and loathsome loveliness of most nations, fashioning and altering their bodies from the mould intended by nature; with figures of those transfigurations. To which artificiall and affected deformations are added, all the native and nationall monstrosities that have appeared to disfigure the humane fabrick. With a vindication of the regular beauty and honesty of nature. And an appendix of the pedigree of the English gallant. Scripsit J.B. cognomento chirosophus.
John Bulwer's Anthropometamorphosis is essentially a how-not-to book, guiding the reader toward Englishness by cataloguing, as antitypes, non-English practices involving the manipulation of the body (including tattooing, piercing, tongue-splitting, neck-stretching, and earlobe elongation). The English body that implicitly emerges as normative (because "natural" and untouched) is equally invented as an ethnographic body.