Laura Cumming

What Ills from Beauty Spring

The Beauty Myth

By

Chatto & Windus 320pp £13.95 order from our bookshop

Western civilization offers no more commonplace or tedious litany than the conversation between a man and a woman in which the latter has encountered a nasty shock on the weighing scales. In vain he sympathises, as she proceeds from incredulity to rage and self pity. Struggling, he observes that she is gloriously unchanged, only to be reproached for his inattentiveness. Despairing, he utters exactly the wrong phrase, ‘But I like you as you are’, demonstrating conclusively that she is, in fact, obese. The man cannot win. The fat’s in the fire, so to speak.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • Jane Ridley writes on Who’s In, Who’s Out: The Journals of Kenneth Rose, edited by D R Thorpe ,
    • 'Lucian Freud was never short of confidence. In the 1990s he painted a small head of an especially rich individual… ,
    • Robin Simon's review of Lucian Freud, edited by Martin Gayford and David Dawson ,
    • 'Lenin regularly communicated with his agents in Russia by postcard and Stalin sent girlfriends cards depicting ero… ,
    • RT : Could any book publishing people share with me their route into publishing roles for a sixth former I am working wi… ,
    • Donald Rayfield reviews Greetings From the Barricades: Revolutionary Postcards in Imperial Russia by Tobie Maythew ,
    • 'Citadel of the Saxons manages to turn the slim pickings of the surviving evidence into something like a consistent… ,