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Red: A History of the Redhead by Jacky…

Red: A History of the Redhead

by Jacky Colliss Harvey

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A fun UK-centric read about redheads. As noted, the Celtic origins of Switzerland has created a clustering of redheads there. During my childhood, our next-door neighbors were like the Weasleys a family of four perfect redheads, though they, in contrast to the Weasleys, put great emphasis on perfect attire and did not conform to any of the stereotypes presented by the author in this book despite the fact that being a redhead is more exotic in Switzerland than in the UK.

In an expanded edition, the author might include classic continental stories about redheads such as Nestroy's great play Der Talisman with its protagonists Titus Feuerfuchs (Titus Firefox) and Salome Pockerl: „Ich weiß, Herr Vetter, die roten Haar’ mißfallen Ihnen, sie mißfallen fast allgemein. Warum aber? Weil der Anblick zu ungewöhnlich is; wann’s recht viel’ gäbet, käm’ die Sach’ in Schwung, und daß wir zu dieser Vervielfältigung das unsrige beitragen werden, da kann sich der Herr Vetter verlassen drauf.“ ( )
  jcbrunner | Sep 27, 2015 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 157912996X, Hardcover)

The brilliantly told, captivating history of red hair throughout the ages and across multiple disciplines, including science, religion, politics, feminism and sexuality, literature, and art

The mere mention of red hair calls to mind vivid pictures. Stereotypes of redheaded women range from the funloving scatterbrain, like Lucille Ball, to the fiery-tempered vixen or the penitent prostitute (Mary Magdalene, for example, is almost always depicted as a redhead). Red-haired men are often associated with either the savage barbarian or the redheaded clown. But why is this so?

Red: A History of the Redhead is the first book to explore the history of red hair and red-headedness throughout the world. With an obsessive fascination that is as contagious as it is compelling, author Jacky Colliss Harvey begins her quest in prehistory and traces the redhead gene as it made its way out of Africa with the early human diaspora, only to emerge under Northern skies. She goes on to explore red hair in the ancient world (from the Tarim mummies in China to the Islamic kingdom of the Khazars); the prejudice manifested against red hair across medieval Europe; red hair during the Renaissance as both an indicator of Jewishness during the Inquisition and the height of fashion in Protestant England, where it was made famous by the Henry VIII and Elizabeth I; the modern age of art, and literature, and the first positive symbols of red hair in children's characters; modern medicine and science and the genetic and chemical decoding of red hair; and finally, red hair in contemporary culture, from advertising and exploitation to "gingerism" and the new movement against bullying.

More than a book for redheads, Red is the exploration of evolution and gene mutation, as well as a compelling social and cultural study of how prejudice and misconceptions of "other" evolve across centuries and continents and are handed down through generations and from one culture to another. 

(retrieved from Amazon Wed, 01 Jul 2015 15:18:51 -0400)

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