The Pocket: A Hidden History of Women's Lives, 1660–1900 (Paperback)
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A New York Times Best Art Book of 2019
“A riveting book . . . few stones are left unturned.”—Roberta Smith’s “Top Art Books of 2019,” The New York Times
This fascinating and enlightening study of the tie-on pocket combines materiality and gender to provide new insight into the social history of women’s everyday lives—from duchesses and country gentry to prostitutes and washerwomen—and to explore their consumption practices, sociability, mobility, privacy, and identity. A wealth of evidence reveals unexpected facets of the past, bringing women’s stories into intimate focus.
“What particularly interests Burman and Fennetaux is the way in which women of all classes have historically used these tie-on pockets as a supplementary body part to help them negotiate their way through a world that was not built to suit them.”—Kathryn Hughes, The Guardian
“A brilliant book.”—Ulinka Rublack, Times Literary Supplement
About the Author
Barbara Burman is an independent scholar, and Ariane Fennetaux is associate professor of eighteenth-century history at the Université de Paris.
“What particularly interests Burman and Fennetaux is the way in which women of all classes have historically used these tie-on pockets as a supplementary body part to help them negotiate their way through a world that was not built to suit them”—Kathryn Hughes, Guardian
"In this riveting book, the authors take advantage of the pockets' frequent survival in textile museums, private collections and family holdings across Britain, tracing their presence in art, literature, political satire, domestic organization and court records."—Roberta Smith, New York Times "Best Art Books of 2019"
'The authors' careful research is enthralling . . . a very handsome illustrated book'—Libération
'A fascinating book'—Le Monde
"Occupying the hinterland between dress and underwear, the pocket has been discounted as rather too private and individual to yield universal truth, yet that is exactly what Burman and Fennetaux have done with this remarkable new study."—Selvedge
“[T]his is not just a book about pockets as a material artefact, but a rich social and cultural history of women and their lives.”—Elizabeth Spencer, Cultural and Social History
“From its very beginning, the book invites the readers to immerse themselves into the fascinating world of the pocket and cleverly presents stories of objects that illuminate a range of practices related to the daily life, whether in material,textual, or visual form.”—Alicia Mihalic, The Journal of Dress History
“Beautifully designed and wonderfully illustrated…This kind of focused and revolutionary study opens a bright destiny for interdisciplinary research in the Humanities.”—Dr. Axel Moulinier, Kunst Chronik