Taking the Waters: Spirit, Art, Sensuality

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Croutier ( Harem ) visited many of the world's famed spas, including Evian in France and Baden-Baden in Germany. Her tour of watering places from California to Switzerland is the core of this charming, copiously illustrated volume, which accentuates the role of spas as therapeutic havens, hedonistic retreats and oases of artistic creativity. She opens with a look at water's mythical associations; nymphs, mermaids, sacred springs, Venus/Aphrodite and water monsters (like the plesiosaurs said to swim in Loch Ness) get their due. Croutier surveys bottled waters, warns of pollution and global overconsumpton of H2O HO and samples water motifs in art, literature, movies and plays. She devotes short, entertaining sections to water rituals, rainmaking, music inspired by water, dowsing, fountains. Paintings by Botticelli, Klimt, Turner, Degas and Picasso as well as photographs and posters are featured in 140 plates (60 in color). BOMC and QPB selections. (Nov.)
William Beatty
Familiar since her childhood in Istanbul with public and private baths, Croutier writes a paean to them--or more exactly, to water, whether in baths, springs, literature, or art. Quite rightly a coffee-table book (the major ingredient in that drink is water, after all), its text and illustrations provide the sipper--or dipper, if one's in a waterier part of the house--with much to while away the hours. Croutier knows many aspects of her subject: e.g., on three successive pages she brings into the flow Magdalenian caves, a Romanian folk song, and the spring Zamzam in Mecca. The cultural history of bathing and plumbing runs throughout the text, with Croutier best when describing spas she has visited, especially those in which she has immersed herself. Her accounts of the activities and social life at European and U.S. spas are all informative and appealing, but those of the development and current production of several bottled waters are particularly good. It can also be said that this is probably the cleanest Book-of-the-Month Club selection to come through the pipeline lately.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781558592193
  • Publisher: Abbeville Press, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 10/1/1992
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 7.21 (w) x 10.23 (h) x 0.94 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface 8
The Spirit of Water 11
Myths 13
Rites 35
Journey Through Waters 47
River and Flood Myths 53
Sacred Wells and Springs 61
Taking the Waters 75
Baths 77
European Spas 107
The Legendary Spas 116
Spa Revival 151
American Spas 153
Traditional Spas 156
Super Spas 162
Taking the Waters Home 171
Water Motifs in Art 185
Virgins, Nymphs and the Artist 187
Stage, Screen, and Literature 199
Sounds and Forms of Water 205
A Guide to the World's Most Exclusive Spas 210
Selected Bibliography 215
Acknowledgments 217
Index 218
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