Fat, Gluttony and Sloth
Obesity in Literature, Art and Medicine
Distributed for Liverpool University Press
Historical symbol of wealth and fertility, stigma of the modern West, and currently the world’s second-leading cause of preventable death: despite advances in hygiene, science, and public health, obesity and its corpulent imagery are inescapable reminders of a global epidemic and its manifold incarnations. For the first time, the number of overweight people in the world has overtaken the number of those malnourished and in Fat, Gluttony, and Sloth, the current crisis is put in historical perspective. The authors examine the changing meaning of “fat” in the public consciousness—reconsidering art, literature, and the history of medicine alongside circus freaks, pharmacology, and present-day trends in food and fashion—all in an effort to glean knowledge from examining our heavy past.