Subtitle: The Unruffled History of the Bathroom and the W.C.
Author: Lawrence Wright
Edition Cited in The Compleat Witch
Publisher: University of Toronto Press
Size: 5.5 x 8.5
Front Flap Copy
(from the 1960 Viking Press edition)
“Clean and Decent,” says the author’s preface, “is meant to entertain even is scholarship does keep breaking through.” To the American publishers this is traditional British understatement since, in addition to being vastly entertaining, the book is also continuously fascinating and frequesntly astonishing. On the one hand an extraordinary history of personal hygiene down the ages (with special emphasis on the outré, the quaint, and the politely scatalogical), it also contains a solid core of social history and innumberable lively reflections on changing manners.It is apparent to Lawrence Wright that more can be learned about past peoples from their bathrooms than from their battlefields. To make his point he provides hundreds of illustrations, prints and photographs, many of them rediscovered “bygones” that have never before been reprinted. Thus one learns that Queen Elizabeth I has a valve watercloset; that Louis XIV had cushions in his bath; that baths have been concealed in sofas and washbasins in pianos; that, although whiskey may be added to bath water, mutton chops should definitely not be eaten in the bath proper. Clean and Decent is a serious architect’s distinctive contribution to his profession. It will also add considerably to the gaiety of nations.
Binding: (hardback, paperback, booklet, other)
Size: (width x height in inches)
Notes: (revised, foreword by, afterword by, etc.)
“A rare and rather absurd piece of toilet furniture, known in France as the demoiselle, was a sort of robot substitute for a chambermaid. In some forms it was basically a dummy figure for dressmaking, but it could act also as a wig-stand, and given adjustable arms could hold a mirror and a basin in convenient positions; it might include a table for oddments of the toilet. In its near-human form it must have been an unnerving companion overnight in a half-dark bedroom.”
(interesting or pithy quotes from the book)
Due to the obscurity of some titles, the contents of The Compleat Witch Illustrated Bibliography Project may contain information that is inaccurate or incomplete. We encourage readers to submit corrections and pertinent addenda like images, quotes, or other information, either as a Comment on the appropriate post or via The Compleat Witch Illustrated Bibliography Facebook page.
An annotated and illustrated bibliography from Anton Szandor LaVey's "The Compleat Witch, or, What to Do When Virtue Fails".