Richardson, Elsa


The stomach is notoriously outspoken. It growls, gurgles and grumbles while other organs remain silent, inconspicuous and content. For centuries humans have puzzled over this rowdy, often overzealous organ, deliberating on the extent of its influence over cognition, mental wellbeing and emotions, and wondering how the gut became so central to our sense of self. Travelling from Ancient Greece to Victorian England, eighteenth-century France to modern America, cultural historian Elsa Richardson leads us on a lively tour of the gut, exploring all the ways that we have imagined, theorised and probed the mysteries of the gastroenterological system. We’ll meet a wildly diverse cast of characters including Edwardian body builders, hunger-striking suffragettes, demons, medieval alchemists, and one poor teenage girl plagued by a remarkably vocal gut, all united by this singular organ.

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Publish Date: 09/05/2024
ISBN: 9781788167550 Category: Tag:


A Financial Times most anticipated read for 2024’A fascinating, erudite and entertaining journey through the gut-brain connection’ TIFFANY WATT SMITH, author of The Book of Human Emotions’A thrilling and surprising journey into the science and culture of an organ that refuses to be civilised’ PAUL CRADDOCK, author of Spare PartsHave you ever had a gut feeling? Found something hard to stomach? Have you gone belly up under pressure? Did you pull yourself together and show some guts? The growls and gurgles of our digestive system are a constant reminder of the physical work it does to keep our bodies running. But throughout history, humans have puzzled over how this rowdy organ might influence us in other ways, from our emotional states and mental well-being to the decisions we make and even our sense of self. Through Ancient Greece and Victorian England, eighteenth-century France and contemporary America, cultural historian Elsa Richardson leads us on a lively tour of all the ways we’ve tried to make sense of this endlessly fascinating (and sometimes embarrassing) body part. From etiquette guides and diet advice to medieval alchemy and microbiology, she reveals that the gut-brain connection may be a modern obsession, but the question of whether we are ruled by our stomachs is as old as humanity itself.

Additional information

Weight 440 g
Dimensions 222 × 142 × 34 mm










306.461 (edition:23)


General – Trade / Code: K