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Distributed for Reaktion Books

The Wig

A Hairbrained History

Distributed for Reaktion Books

The Wig

A Hairbrained History

Whether in a court room or a dressing room, wigs come in many forms and represent many things: from power, to sexuality, to parody, to health, to self-identity, to disguise. Wigs are present at parties and in chemotherapy rooms, in pop music and contemporary art. In this witty and eloquent book, Luigi Amara reflects on the curious history of the wig and along the way takes a sideways look at Western civilization. Amara illuminates how the wig has starred throughout history, from ancient Egypt to the court of Louis XIV, and from British courtrooms to drag shows today. Containing many striking and unusual images, The Wig will appeal to all those interested in the history of fashion—as well as philosophy, art, culture, and aesthetics.

256 pages | 20 color plates, 50 halftones | 5 1/4 x 8 1/4

History: General History

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"A witty and encyclopedic work. . . . Should be part of the collection of any enthusiast of the essay genre."

Ignacio M. Sánchez Prado | Los Angeles Review of Books

"[Explores] the wig’s silly, sexy, and serious strains in a collection of fanciful short essays. . . . It’s clear that for Amara, the wig is an excuse to ponder, wander, and lose himself to flights of fancy."

Lauren Moya Ford | Hyperallergic

"The reader may find that all objects, when inspected in this way, display a wider cultural resonance. The real question, then, is whether that resonance is as important as the writer believes. Amara makes some ambitious claims. . . . An interesting and enjoyable study."

Times Literary Supplement

"The Wig: A Hairbrained History covers the many topics connected to these artificial hairdos. Armara transmits his fascination for the wig not only through the written word, but also through an array of images. By exploring this subject through the lens of numerous novels and films, including characters from both ancient and contemporary times, Amara tackles this neglected fashion element with very diverse references. . . . This study is well written. With this book, the author demonstrates real passion for his subject. The variety of sources covered is especially relevant. . . . An interesting inquiry and gives an overall picture of the long and multifaceted story of the wig."

Journal of Dress History

"With the precision of a Renaissance collector, Amara has written a book as wonderful and impressive as the old cabinets of curiosities. From Andy Warhol to Andre Agassi, the collection exposed in The Wig makes us smile and laugh with amazement, while we reflect on how shaky identity is."

Carlos Fonseca, Trinity College, Cambridge, author of "Natural History"

"A clever and illuminating take on the world of wigs. A book every hairdresser should have in their collection."

Isaac Davidson, hairstylist, wig designer, founder of Wigbar

"In this smart and humorous account of the history of the wig, Amara proves he’s not afraid of frivolity, using it to dig deep into the history of our ideas and costumes."

Juan Pablo Villalobos, author of "I Don't Expect Anyone to Believe Me" and "Down the Rabbit Hole"

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