The Anatomy of Disgust
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The Anatomy of Disgust

3.84 of 5 stars 3.84  ·  rating details  ·  87 ratings  ·  9 reviews
William Miller details our anxious relation to basic life processes; eating, excreting, fornicating, decaying, and dying. But disgust pushes beyond the flesh to vivify the larger social order with the idiom it commandeers from the sights, smells, tastes, feels, and sounds of fleshly physicality. Disgust and contempt, Miller argues, play crucial political roles in creating...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published October 1st 1998 by Harvard University Press (first published 1997)
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This is a fairly weak book. I have a weakness for The Anatomy of (X) books. Not that I have read many of them, but they all point backwards to Burton's wonderfully comprehensive The Anatomy of Melancholy, and imagine that any author pretentious enough to allude to that magisterial work must know what he or she is doing. Like you wouldn't allude to Proust and then just write something like, 'yeah I remembered being a kid and it was ok, some of it was bad and some good, but enough about that silly...more
A big thanks to everyone who offered such thoughtful suggestions for additions to my Disgust Bibliography! It's now at over 60 works, most of them book-length, so I'd better get reading. (For those just joining us, I'm doing a long-term project on the literary treatment(s) of disgust, and if you have anything to add to the ever-growing list, I'd be delighted to hear about it.)

In the spirit of getting this show on the road, I'm finally writing up my thoughts on William Ian Miller's 1997 The Anato...more
Patrick Nichols
Few books have shaken up my world-view as casually as this one did. Brilliant, cunning look at the most important emotion you've never thought twice about before. Full of humor, Miller, by slow steps, leads you from an amusing essay about a neglected passion, to a shocking revelation of why humanity has failed, after all this time, to achieve utopia.
love involves a notable and non-trivial suspension of some, if not all, rules of disgust
Disgust rules mark the boundaries of self; the relaxing of them marks privilege, intimacy, duty and caring... involving us in the pleasure that attends the breach of prohibitions.

wine: there are no strong norms that tell us to be loyal to wines nor are we in the habit of getting pleasure out of seducing wine, the very idea being absurd. The pleasure of wine is mostly in the physical pleasure of drinking, tast...more
Brenda Pío Pío
This book changed my view on life and human interactions. Disgust plays a much more significant role in our lives than we are able to admit or even realize.
David Becker
A look at a rather fascinating topic -- what disgusts us, why and how -- that unfortunately tends to bog down in the author's academic, multidisciplinary approach. He's especially fond of relating ideas to Shakespearean and earlier literary passages, which makes it even more of a slog for those of us whose comp lit credentials aren't equal to the author's. When he relates concepts to contemporary, real-world phenomenon, however, he can be quite compelling.

To whit, my two favorite take-aways:

* Th...more
Adrienne Kiser
This was certainly an interesting book! I've never really given any thought to the idea of disgust before (other than thoughts along the line of "oh my god what did I just step in"), so I was fascinated to read the potential relationships between disgust, class structure, morality, feelings of superiority, and sexuality.

I've noticed that I seem to have a much different concept of what is disgusting than that of my peers (nobody wants to look at the pictures of my recently excised tumor, for exam...more
You wouldn't be surprised by how interesting a subject disgust makes. There are many kinds of disgust out there, and Miller goes ahead and finds them all, including types I've experienced without ever calling the emotion by its name.

I'm glad he errs on the side of prudishness. You won't find this a shocking or prurient book. It is an intellectual piece. There is a lot of quoting and referring to Freud, who spent an uncomfortably weird amount of his life thinking about the subject. Both he and Mi...more
really interesting, sometimes the observations were a little obvious.
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