You Feel So Mortal (Peggy Shinner)

Article by mark

Peggy Shinner’s book of essays, YOU FEEL SO MORTAL, is a brilliant and engaging examination of the relationships we have with our bodies. Filled with sharp wit and good-natured wisdom, these essays consider such myriad subjects as feet, hair, bras, posture, plastic surgery and even shoplifting. Mixing the personal with the historical, Shinner investigates autopsies, athleticism, even her ‘Jewish feet’. 

 

What makes this collection so powerful is that all of us can relate; we all have bodies which are intricately tied to our identities. Haven’t we all at some time studied our own noses and feet—and eventual crow’s feet? Haven’t we sometimes desired different noses or eyes, straighter or thicker hair? When debating the notion of good posture as a reflection to our own morals, she writes, “We have a whole vocabulary built around posture; that to slouch belies, indeed violates, a moral imperative in our culture. Slumping isn’t just ugly or bad for your health; it diminishes your entire being.” She wonders if Obama’s infamous bow to Emperor Akihito of Japan in 2009—at nearly ninety degrees—was going too far. 

 

Shinner’s essays stay with you long after reading them. By investigating the mechanics of her own anatomy, by peeling away the strata of her own physical form, she shows us ours.

You Feel So Mortal: Essays on the Body Cover Image
$22.00
ISBN: 9780226105277
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: University of Chicago Press - March 19th, 2014

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