Paper $35.00 ISBN: 9780226693040 Will Publish March 2020
Cloth $105.00 ISBN: 9780226692999 Will Publish March 2020
An e-book edition will be published.

Appetite and Its Discontents

Science, Medicine, and the Urge to Eat, 1750-1950

Elizabeth A. Williams

Appetite and Its Discontents

Elizabeth A. Williams

416 pages | 10 halftones | 6 x 9 | © 2020
Paper $35.00 ISBN: 9780226693040 Will Publish March 2020
Cloth $105.00 ISBN: 9780226692999 Will Publish March 2020
E-book $35.00 ISBN: 9780226693187 Will Publish March 2020
Why do we eat? Is it instinct, or some other impetus? Despite the necessity of food, anxieties about what and how to eat are widespread in our culture, and scientists and physicians continue to have shifting theories about the phenomenon of appetite and its causes and norms.
In Appetite and Its Discontents, Elizabeth A. Williams charts the history of inquiry into appetite between 1750 and 1950, as scientific and medical concepts of appetite shifted alongside developments in physiology, natural history, psychology, and ethology. Williams argues that trust in appetite was undermined in the mid-eighteenth century, when researchers who investigated ingestion and digestion began claiming that science alone could say which ways of eating were healthy and which were not. Tracing nineteenth- and twentieth-century conflicts over the nature of appetite, Williams explores contemporary worries about eating through the lens of science and medicine to show us how appetite—once a matter of personal inclination—became an object of science.
List of Illustrations


Part One Anxieties of Appetite: Created Needs in the Enlightenment, 1750–1800
Introduction to Part One

1 Why We Eat: The Ancient Legacy
2 “False or Defective” Appetite in the Medical Enlightenment
3 Human and Animal Appetite in Natural History and Physiology

Part Two The Elusiveness of Appetite: Laboratory and Clinic, 1800–1850
Introduction to Part Two

4 Perils and Pleasures of Appetite at 1800: Xavier Bichat and Erasmus Darwin
5 The Physiology of Appetite to 1850
6 Extremes and Perplexities of Appetite in Clinical Medicine

Part Three Intelligent or “Blind and Unconscious”? Appetite, 1850–1900
Introduction to Part Three

7 The Drive to Eat in Nutritional Physiology
8 The Psychology of Ingestion: Appetite in Physiological and Animal Psychology
9 Peripheral or Central? Disordered Eating in Clinical Medicine

Part Four Appetite as a Scientific Object, 1900–1950
Introduction to Part Four

10 Psyche, Nerves, and Hormones in the Physiology of Ingestion
11 Appetite and the Nature-Nurture Divide: Eating Behavior in Psychology and Ethology
12 Somatic, Psychic, Psychosomatic: The Medicine of Troubled Appetite

Epilogue: Appetite after 1950

List of Abbreviations
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