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How do acts of caring for the sick or grieving for the dead change the way we move through our living rooms and bedrooms? Why do elderly homeowners struggle to remain in messy, junk-filled houses? Why are we so attached to our pets, even when they damage and soil our living spaces? In Home Bodies: Tactile Experience in Domestic Space, James Krasner offers an interdisciplinary, humanistic investigation of the sense of touch in our experience of domestic space and identity. Accessing the work of gerontologists, neurologists, veterinarians, psychologists, social geographers, and tactual perception theorists to lay the groundwork for his experiential claims, he also ranges broadly through literary and cultural criticism dealing with the body, habit, and material culture. By demonstrating crucial links between domestic experience and tactile perception, Home Bodies investigates questions of identity, space, and the body. Krasner analyzes representations of tactile experience from a range of canonical literary works and authors, including the Bible, Sophocles, Marilynne Robinson, Charles Dickens, John Steinbeck, and Sylvia Plath, as well as a series of popular contemporary texts. This work will contribute to discussions of embodiment, space, and domesticity by literary and cultural critics, scholars in the medical humanities, and interdisciplinary thinkers from multiple fields.

Table of Contents

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  1. Cover
  2. p. 1
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  1. Title Page, Copyright
  2. pp. 2-7
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. vii-9
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  1. cknowledgments
  2. pp. ix-x
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  1. Introduction
  2. pp. 1-18
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  1. I. Broken H omes: Intimacy, Tactility, and the Dissolution of Domestic Space
  2. pp. 19-31
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  1. 1. Tangible Grief
  2. pp. 21-40
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  1. 2. Mess and Memory
  2. pp. 41-61
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  1. 3. The Hoarder’s House
  2. pp. 62-83
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  1. II. Homes without Walls: Intercorporeal Domestic Space
  2. pp. 85-97
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  1. 4. Homeless Companions
  2. pp. 87-111
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  1. 5. The Healing Touch
  2. pp. 112-136
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  1. III. Home at the Body’s Edge: Domesticity as Somatosensory Boundary Definition
  2. pp. 137-149
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  1. 6. The Language of Pressure
  2. pp. 139-164
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  1. 7. The Leper’s Studio
  2. pp. 165-189
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  1. Postscript. Living and Dying at Home
  2. pp. 190-199
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  1. Works Cited
  2. pp. 201-210
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 211-217
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