To a reviewer who scribbled shoes on a ship's menu at the age of five, it was a delight to learn that Andy Warhol's earliest sketches were also of shoes. This revelation is one of many found in Footnotes's 14 essays, which explore today's cultural fascination with shoes. As they did in On Fashion (Rutgers Univ., 1994), Benstock (English, Univ. of Miami) and Ferris's (literature and gender studies, Nova Southeastern Univ.) have selected essays that range from academic social science treatises to personal musings in this case, on shoe size. Shoes are seen as symbols of oppression (the brogues of former slaves in the South), persecution (piles of empty shoes on the floors of concentration camps), pain for the sake of idealized beauty (ballet slippers equated with Chinese bound feet), and gender and ethnic identity ("sexy shoes" and Latinas' high heels). Also discussed are folktales such as "The Red Shoes" and "Cinderella" and lesbian shoe fetishism in literature (Rebecca). Thought-provoking, often haunting, and sometimes puzzling, these challenging essays will be most useful to students and professors of culture. Recommended for academic libraries. Therese Duzinkiewicz Baker, Western Kentucky Univ., Bowling Green Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Scholars of literature and culture from the US and Britain investigate why western culture has acquired a fascination with footwear. They explore the representation of shoes in popular entertainment, advertising, fashion, museums, and scholarly accounts. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)