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Francesca Beauman is a writer, historian and television presenter. Born in London in 1977, she was educated at Cheltenham Ladies College then Cambridge University, graduating with a First Class degree in History. She divides her time between London and Los Angeles.
Featured on The Book Show on Sky Arts on 24 February 2011. What do women look for in a man? And what do men look for in a woman? And how and why has this changed over the centuries? This book uses fresh evidence to answer crucial questions about how humans choose their mates. It is a history of sex, marriage and society over three centuries.
Have you ever wondered about the average age of brides 500 years ago or whether you are legally allowed to marry your brother's daughter's husband? Are you familiar with the marriage customs of the Na people of south-west China? Or would you know what to do if a swarm of bees attacked your wedding reception? Wonder no more! Within these pages you will find all you need to know (and a few things you don't) in order to enter into the dizzying, daring dance that is a modern marriage. From the totally frivolous to the deeply serious, from champagne consumption in the Yemen to celebrity wedding dress designers, How to Wear White is a funny, eclectic and essential addition to every twenty-first-century bride's trousseau. True, you may not ever need to know the names of all of Elizabeth Taylor's spouses or how to say 'My husband' in Norwegian, but isn't it fabulous that you do?
What do women look for in a man? And what do men look for in a woman? And how and why has this changed over the centuries? Every week thousands of people advertise for love either in newspapers, magazines or online. But if you think this is a modern phenomenon, think again - the ads have been running for over three hundred years. From the first ad in 1695 from a young gentleman who 'would willingly Match himself to some Good Young Gentlewoman, that has a Fortune of GBP3000 or thereabouts' to the GSOH, WLTM and online dating of more recent years, each ad is a snapshot of its age. The result is a startling history of sex, marriage and society over three centuries - hilarious and heartbreaking by turn.
Within these pages you will find all you need to know (and a few things you don't) in order to embark on the mindboggling journey that is modern motherhood. Discover humorous yet pertinent advice on everything from what a new mother ought to wear on the red carpet to the best books to read while feeding a baby, and marvel at what Mark Twain had to say on teething, Vladimir Nabokov on prams, Mrs Gaskell on six-month-olds and Mrs Beeton on breastfeeding. From the totally frivolous to the deeply serious, from the cultural to the historical, from the history of the Caesarean to celebrity baby names, this is an intelligent, classy and eclectic guide for every twenty-first-century mother or mother-to-be. For it is important to acknowledge that, even though they may have a basketball in their stomachs, they still have a brain in their heads. It is a book to give to friends, daughters and sisters - and to cherish for yourself. True, you may not ever need to know what year the epidural was invented, how to write your child's name in Chinese, or what the gestation period of an anteater is, but isn't it fabulous to know that you do?
This enchanting, juicy history takes us from the pineapple's origins in the Amazon rainforests to its first tasting by Columbus in Guadeloupe and its starring role on the royal dinner tables of Europe. In the eighteenth-century this spectacular fruit reigned supreme: despite the fact that, at first, to cultivate just one cost the same as a new coach, every great house soon boasted its own steaming pits filled with hundreds upon hundreds of pineapple plants. As the Prada handbag of its day, a real-life, homegrown pineapple was a powerful status symbol, so much so that at first, it was extremely unusual actually to eat the fruit. The image appeared on gateposts, on teapots, furniture and wallpaper. A new phase opened when growers in the Caribbean began supplying pineapples in the 1840s and later the first canning factory was built in Hawaii. As the story rolls on, through the heyday of pineapple chunks and cocktails, right up to the fashions of today,it touches on pineapples and sex, pineapples and empire, pineapples in art. Why is the pineapple so special? In one surprising sense it is indeed ideal. Made up of hundreds of separate fruitlets, its spirals embody the gradations of the Golden Mean - it is mathematically perfect. But it is more than that - for years a focus of traveller's tales, it is a treasure of sight and scent and taste. Packed with fascinating illustrations, this delicious book sees Fran Beauman explore the life and lore of the king of fruits: scholarly, witty and fun, it is a true hamper of delights.
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