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The Rear View: A Brief and Elegant History…

The Rear View: A Brief and Elegant History of Bottoms Through the Ages (1995)

by Jean-Luc Hennig

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This book is a treasure trove to be welcomed by those of us who are under the erotic spell of the human backside, principally (but not exclusively) that possessed by the female of the species. The translators of the French original, Margaret Crosland and Elfreda Powell clearly enjoyed their work, and as far as I can tell they have dealt most creditably in rendering the idiosyncrasies of the French tongue into credible English idiosyncrasies. The book is a collection of 32 short essays, each dealing with just about every conceivable aspect of their fleshily rounded subject including, if I may dare to speak its name, or at least refer to it, its 'biologically inconceivable' usage. The book draws on many little known French artistic depictions of bottoms, and little-known literary descriptions, and the book's shortcoming relates to its inability to present all of the potentially helpful images in its size and format. The images that are included are necessarily perfunctory and indicative rather than truly useful. I admit that a completely satisfactory treatment would be well beyond the book's scope and cost, but I do see this as a flaw, however unavoidable it may be. ( )
7 vote CliffordDorset | Dec 1, 2012 |
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Les fesses datent de la plus haute antiquité.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0517708140, Hardcover)

Witty, cultured, provocative, and shamelessly enjoyable, The Rear View is a celebration of the behind, ranging from its physical evolution to its history as a source of artistic and literary inspiration and as a barometer of social attitudes.

The ancient Greeks revered the buttocks as being an aspect of the divine and portrayed them enthusiastically on marble statuary. With the Christian era, however, depiction of the nude figure sank into shameful ignominy until the fifteenth century, when Florentine artists once more raised the bottom to subliminal heights, from which lofty eminence it was dashed by the prudish Victorians, who found everything from the waist down a source of embarrassment. Today dress designers decree that the bottom should once more be the focus of attention, and no dedicated followers of fashion can afford to neglect their rear view--or this well-rounded appraisal of it.

Jean-Luc Hennig, a French linguist and essayist, begins the book by writing that "Buttocks" date from remotest antiquity. They appeared when men conceived the idea of standing up on their hind legs and remaining there--a crucial moment in our evolution since the buttock muscles then underwent considerable development.  But more important, Hennig surmises that as a result, man's hands were freed and the engagement of the skull on the spinal column was modified, which allowed the brain to develop. Therefore, man's buttocks are in some ways partly responsible for the early emergence of his brain. This is the brilliant and hilarious starting point of The Rear View.

Beautifully written and incredibly humorous, it makes a perfect gift for an intimate of either sex.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:30 -0400)

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