Revue de presse
Tumblety is a careful, nuanced historian. This is her first book and I am already looking forward to her next one. (Joanna Bourke, History Today
Equally innovative in its approach and subject matter, Joan Tumblety's important Remaking the Male Body explores the intertwined themes of health, virility, decline and renewal -- personal and collective -- in interwar and Vichy France with its project for national regeneration through sport after the catastrophic defeat of 1940.
Joan Tumblety's fascinating book sheds new light on topics in which medicine, physical culture, media, and politics intersect. (Andrés H. Reggiani, Journal of Gender Studies
Présentation de l'éditeur
Remaking the Male Body looks at interwar physical culture as a set of popular practices and as a field of ideas. It takes as its central subject the imagined failure of French manhood that was mapped out in this realm by physical culturist 'experts', often physicians. Their diagnosis of intertwined crises in masculine virility and national vitality was surprisingly widely shared across popular and political culture. Theirs was a hygienist and sometimes overtly eugenicist conception of physical exercise and national strength that suggests the persistence of fin-de-siècle pre-occupations with biological degeneration and regeneration well beyond the First World War. Joan Tumblety traces these patterns of thinking about the male body across a seemingly disparate set of voices, all of whom argued that the physical training of men offered a salve to France's real and imagined woes. In interrogating a range of sources, from get-fit manuals and the popular press, to the mobilising campaigns of popular politics on left and right and official debates about physical education, Tumblety illustrates how the realm of male physical culture was presented as an instrument of social hygiene as well as an instrument of political struggle. In highlighting the purchase of these concerns in the interwar years, the book ultimately sheds light on the roots of Vichy's project for masculine renewal after the military defeat of 1940.