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At Home—A Short History of Private Life: Special Illustrated Edition
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At Home—A Short History of Private Life: Special Illustrated Edition

Автор: Bill Bryson.

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Издательство: DoubleDay (2013 г.)

hardcover, 553 стр.

ISBN: 978-0-385-53728-5

Вес: 653 гр.

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At Home—A Short History of Private Life: Special Illustrated Edition.

As he did with A Short History of Nearly Everything (which earned him both the Aventis Prize and the Descartes Prize), Bill Bryson here reintroduces At Home—his lively history of the world as revealed by the artifacts in the home—in a delightful illustrated edition with more than 300 captioned photos, drawings, and reproductions of art. Bryson tours his own house, a Victorian parsonage in a part of England where nothing much has happened since the Romans decamped, and shows how each room has figured in the evolution of private life: the bathroom opens onto a history of hygiene; the bedroom, sex, death, and sleep; the kitchen, nutrition and the spice trade; and so on. Whatever happens in the world, Bryson reveals, ends up in our house—in the paint and the pipes and the pillows and every item of furniture."Bryson takes readers on a tour of his house, a rural English parsonage, and finds it crammed with 10,000 years of fascinating historical bric-a-brac. Each room becomes a starting point for a free-ranging discussion of rarely noticed but foundational aspects of social life. A visit to the kitchen prompts disquisitions on food adulteration and gluttony; a peek into the bedroom reveals nutty sex nostrums and the horrors of premodern surgery; in the study we find rats and locusts; a stop in the scullery illuminates the put-upon lives of servants. Bryson follows his inquisitiveness wherever it goes, from Darwinian evolution to the invention of the lawnmower, while savoring eccentric characters and untoward events (like Queen Elizabeth I's pilfering of a subject's silverware). There are many guilty pleasures, from Bryson's droll prose—'What really turned the Victorians to bathing, however, was the realization that it could be gloriously punishing'—to the many tantalizing glimpses behind closed doors at aristocratic English country houses. In demonstrating how everything we take for granted, from comfortable furniture to smoke-free air, went from unimaginable luxury to humdrum routine, Bryson shows us how odd and improbable our own lives really are."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

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