The Mummy's Foot and the Big Toe: Feet and Imaginative Promise

Author(s): Alan Krell

History | No Category | Reaktion Books

The foot--we know it well. Small or large, attractive or unsightly, clean-smelling or foul, it is quite literally the support that carries us through the day. But while the foot may seem nothing more than banal and basic, this familiar assemblage of heel and toes also treads unlikely ground. Some of these sites are real, others are imaginary, and in this quirky and surprising history, Alan Krell strolls the many planes of the foot's meaning. Looking at the absurd and abject, the innocent and the nastily subversive, the romantic and fetishistic, Krell reevaluates the foot's place in society and frames it as a thing both commonplace and exceptional.


The Mummy's Foot and the Big Toe explores the innumerable appearances of the foot in literature, photography, art, sports, and film. Walk with Krell as he discovers gothic tales by French writer Th ophile Gautier, disturbing photographs by Fran ois Boiffard, and religious paintings by Giotto, Tintoretto, and Caravaggio that all exalt the foot. Marvel with him at the sporting exploits of elite barefoot runners such as Abebe Bikila and Zola Budd, and the surprising representation of the foot in films such as The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Kill Bill. Blending insights from the humanities, language studies, the social sciences, and anthropology, and presenting a wealth of tantalizing new images and ideas of the foot, The Mummy's Foot and the Big Toe will help us all to be better acquainted with the soul and sole of our bottom-most appendage.


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"There is really no other way to put it, but this is a very strange book, just as feet can be very strange things. . . . This book delves into the deeper world of feet. . . . Krell seeks to understand the reactions of writers, photographers, artists and normal people to feet through history. . . . It is an arcane and sometimes circuitous journey across time, one which reveals some interesting things about our soles and our souls."

- Observer (JC BookGrocer)

General Fields

  • : 9781780239156
  • : Reaktion Books, Limited
  • : Reaktion Books, Limited
  • : June 2018
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Alan Krell
  • : Hardback
  • : 192