Home Bodies

Tactile Experience in Domestic Space

James Krasner


Literary Criticism/General; Social Science/General
217 pp. 6x9

$39.95 cloth 978-0-8142-1134-2
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Table of Contents

Explore More
The author recommends the following links:

Hoarding of Animals Research Consortium

Dr. Temple Grandin’s  website (autism)

Watch the complete documentary film Grey Gardens

Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things by Gail Steketee and Randy Frost

Narrative Medicine: Honoring the Stories of Illness by Rita Charon


“Krasner offers a strikingly new approach to identity within the domestic realm as he illuminates the limitations of scholarly works that elucidate the ideological construction of the home through an analysis of the spatial arrangements of the structure. . . . Throughout the book, Krasner convincingly shows that the experience of home exists through tactile sensations and that identity, memory, and grief should be approached as embodied processes. It is to Krasner’s credit that he elucidates both the positive and negative aspects of our tactile sensations of domesticity. The experience of home as an embodied process involves not only intimacy and connection with loved ones, but it also includes pain, loss, and, at times, danger.” —Pennsylvania Literary Journal

“In this brilliant, original book, Krasner interweaves theories of the body, emotion, disability, illness, home, homelessness, gender, identity, material things, and the human-animal relationship (the last a rapidly developing field) to propose a way of thinking about bodies grounded in the sense of touch—about domesticity in literary and cultural texts. . . . Krasner shows how the specifics of a person’s body define that person’s home and how the home (or lack of a home) in turn shapes the person’s bodily life. . . . Highly recommended.” —Choice

Home Bodies exemplifies some of the best work in health humanities. Employing his fine eye as an English Studies scholar, James Krasner makes observations in matters of the body, health, medicine, and culture. His research is meticulous; his project marries the study of the body and the study of domestic space and offers an account of the embodied human experience within the materiality of a range of versions of home. Home Bodies is original and compelling.” —Judith Z. Segal, professor of English, University of British Columbia

How do acts of caring for the sick or grieving for the dead change the way we move through our living rooms and bedrooms? Why do elderly homeowners struggle to remain in messy, junk-filled houses? Why are we so attached to our pets, even when they damage and soil our living spaces? In Home Bodies: Tactile Experience in Domestic Space, James Krasner offers an interdisciplinary, humanistic investigation of the sense of touch in our experience of domestic space and identity. Accessing the work of gerontologists, neurologists, veterinarians, psychologists, social geographers, and tactual perception theorists to lay the groundwork for his experiential claims, he also ranges broadly through literary and cultural criticism dealing with the body, habit, and material culture.

By demonstrating crucial links between domestic experience and tactile perception, Home Bodies investigates questions of identity, space, and the body. Krasner analyzes representations of tactile experience from a range of canonical literary works and authors, including the Bible, Sophocles, Marilynne Robinson, Charles Dickens, John Steinbeck, and Sylvia Plath, as well as a series of popular contemporary texts. This work will contribute to discussions of embodiment, space, and domesticity by literary and cultural critics, scholars in the medical humanities, and interdisciplinary thinkers from multiple fields.

James Krasner is professor of English at the University of New Hampshire.