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In the Blink of an Eye

A Cultural History of Spectacles

Stefana Sabin



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Reaktion Books
01 November 2021
This book examines those who wore glasses through history, art and literature, from the green emerald through which Emperor Nero watched gladiator fights to Benjamin Franklin's homemade bifocals, and from Marilyn Monroe's cat-eye glasses to Emma Bovary and Harry Potter.

Spectacles are objects that seem commonplace, but this book shows that because they fundamentally changed people's lives, glasses were the wellspring of a quiet social, cultural and economic revolution. Indeed, one can argue that modernity itself began with the paradigm shift that transformed poor eyesight from a severely limiting disease, treated with pomades and tinctures, into a minor impairment that can be remedied with mechanisms constructed from lenses and wire.
Imprint:   Reaktion Books
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 216mm,  Width: 138mm, 
ISBN:   9781789144635
ISBN 10:   1789144639
Pages:   112
Publication Date:  
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Stefana Sabin has written for the Neue Zurcher Zeitung, edited several anthologies of contemporary prose and published biographies of Andy Warhol and Gertrude Stein, among others. She lives in Frankfurt am Main, Germany.

Reviews for In the Blink of an Eye: A Cultural History of Spectacles

Spectacles not only enhance our vision; they contribute to our understanding of reality. Sabin's charming history-in-miniature reveals how history, culture, and politics have been shaped over centuries by paired discs of polished glass, and why, every once in a while, they inspire such unease, such contempt, and even, sometimes, fear. -- Simon Ings, author of The Eye: A Natural History and The Smoke

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