restricted access Book Note: Les ventres serre: Histoire naturelle et sociale de la constipation et des constipes
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Jacques Frexinos. Les ventres serrés: Histoire naturelle et sociale de la constipation et des constipés. Paris: Editions Louis Pariente, 1992. 150 pp. Ill. F 195.00.

The functions and malfunctions of the bowels are surveyed from the dawn of time to the present day in this whimsical, “coffee-table” book, which is lavishly produced and studded with illustrations and exclamation marks. Its seven chapters discuss “La constipation à travers les âges, ou la naissance d’une maladie de la civilisation” (Constipation through the ages, or the birth of a disease of civilization), “Des records de la constipation et autres faits extraordinaires, ou «Le musée des curiosités et des horreurs»” (Reports of constipation and other extraordinary facts, or “The museum of curiosities and horrors”), “Défécation et constipation: De la littérature à la psychanalyse. Différentes visions d’un acte naturel et pourtant si complexe” (Defecation and constipation: From literature to psychoanalysis. Different views of a natural yet complex act), “Des constipés célèbres . . . ou les petits malheurs des grands de ce monde” (Constipated celebrities . . . or little complaints of big cheeses), “Curiosités thérapeutiques: Une imagination debridée!” (Therapeutic curiosities: Imagination on the loose!), “Les alentours de la constipation du «vas necessarium» au papier hygiénique” (The paraphernalia of constipation, from the “vas necessarium” to toilet paper), and “La constipation aujourd’hui. Portraits de groupes avec constipés” (Constipation today. Constipation within the population).

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