WHAT WE DID IN BED: A Horizontal History

WHAT WE DID IN BED: A Horizontal History

BRIAN FAGAN & NADIA DURRANI    Book Number: 90773    Product format: Hardback

'If you thought that your bed was only good for sleeping in, having sex in, or dying in, then this book will disabuse you.' - Paul Chrystal. Here is the ultimate bedtime story bringing a new meaning to pillow talk, pulling back the covers on the forgotten history of the bed. Louis XIV ruled France from his bedchamber. Winston Churchill governed Britain from his during World War Two. Travellers routinely used to bed down with complete strangers in dormitories and lodging houses and whole families shared beds in many pre-industrial households. Beds were expensive items, often for show. Tutankhamun was buried on a golden bed; wealthy Greeks were sent to the afterlife on dining beds; deceased middle-class Victorians were propped up on their beds in their parlours. Perhaps because of its modern status as 'private', most modern historians and archaeologists ignored the bed and surprising little has been written about its history or the roles it plays in our lives. But here are big stories to tell about sex, birth, death, dining, ruling, plotting, dreading, dreaming - a rich theatre. In medieval Europe a recurring Christian motif was of the Three Wise Men, apparently resting naked together in a bed, being blessed with divine revelation. Many 18th century gentlemen artists preferred to turn their gaze to naked women languidly lying among confused sheets. Then there were the images of unoccupied wooden beds like Van Gogh's disarming blood-red bed in The Bedroom 1888 and more recently of course Tracey Emin's 'My Bed' as shown at the Tate Modern in 1999 displaying it in crumpled disorder surrounded by stained underwear, empty bottles and cigarette butts. There have been cupboard beds and hammocks, low waterbeds and high beds 16 feet off the floor but the basic rectangular design has changed remarkably little over the past 5,000 years and nor has the mattress but today the state-of-the-art bed is a mirror of our increasingly technological and multi-tasking industrial society, complete with USB ports and other devices to keep you connected. From bawdy bedmates frolicking in great medieval halls to the sleeping habits of American presidents, this is a terrific cultural investigation. 224pp, illus.
Published price: £20
Bibliophile price: £7.00

Additional product information

ISBN 9780300223880
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