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Table of contents
PREFACE
TOUCH-1
TOUCH-2
TOUCH-3 (begin)
TOUCH-3 (end)
TOUCH-4 (begin)
TOUCH-4 (end)
SMELL-1
SMELL-2
SMELL-3.1
SMELL-3.2
SMELL-3.3
SMELL-3.4
SMELL-3.5
SMELL-4 (begin)
SMELL-4 (end)
SMELL-5
HEARING-1
HEARING-2
HEARING-3
VISION-1.1
VISION-1.2
VISION-1.3
VISION-2.1
VISION-2.2
VISION-2.3
VISION-2.4
VISION-3
VISION-4
VISION-5
APPENDIX A
APPENDIX B HISTORY-1
APPENDIX B HISTORY-2.1
APPENDIX B HISTORY-2.2
APPENDIX B HISTORY-2.3
APPENDIX B HISTORY-3.1
APPENDIX B HISTORY-3.2
INDEX OF AUTHORS

The general admiration accorded to developed breasts and a developed 

pelvis is evidenced by a practice which, as embodied in the corset, is all 

but universal in many European countries, as well as the extra-European 

countries inhabited by the white race, and in one form or another is by no 

means unknown to peoples of other than the white race. 

 

The tightening of the waist girth was little known to the Greeks of the 

best period, but it was practiced by the Greeks of the decadence and by 

them transmitted to the Romans; there are many references in Latin 

literature to this practice, and the ancient physician wrote against it in 

the same sense as modern doctors. So far as Christian Europe is concerned 

it would appear that the corset arose to gratify an ideal of asceticism 

rather than of sexual allurement. The bodice in early mediaeval days bound 

and compressed the breasts and thus tended to efface the specifically 

feminine character of a woman's body. Gradually, however, the bodice was 

displaced downward, and its effect, ultimately, was to render the breasts 

more prominent instead of effacing them. Not only does the corset render 

the breasts more prominent; it has the further effect of displacing the 

breathing activity of the lungs in an upward direction, the advantage from 

the point of sexual allurement thus gained being that additional attention 

is drawn to the bosom from the respiratory movement thus imparted to it. 

So marked and so constant is this artificial respiratory effect, under the 

influence of the waist compression habitual among civilized women, that 

until recent years it was commonly supposed that there is a real and 

fundamental difference in breathing between men and women, that women's 

breathing is thoracic and men's abdominal. It is now known that under 

natural and healthy conditions there is no such difference, but that men 

and women breathe in a precisely identical manner. The corset may thus be 

regarded as the chief instrument of sexual allurement which the armory of 

costume supplies to a woman, for it furnishes her with a method of 

heightening at once her two chief sexual secondary characters, the bosom 

above, the hips and buttocks below. We cannot be surprised that all the 

scientific evidence in the world of the evil of the corset is powerless 

not merely to cause its abolition, but even to secure the general adoption 

of its comparatively harmless modifications. 

 

Several books have been written on the history of the corset. 

Leoty (_Le Corset a travers les Ages_, 1893) accepts Bouvier's 

division of the phases through which the corset has passed: (1) 

the bands, or fasciae, of Greek and Roman ladies; (2) period of 

transition during greater part of middle ages, classic traditions 

still subsisting; (3) end of middle ages and beginning of 

Renaissance, when tight bodices were worn; (4) the period of 

whalebone bodices, from middle of sixteenth to end of eighteenth 


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