Unfolding the Past cover
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"Fascinating." Perspective

“A fascinating, often funny, and eminently stylish personal memoir … I loved it.” -
Chris Breward, author of The Suit

“Wide-ranging, thought-provoking and important.” - Claire Wilcox, author of Patch Work

Elizabeth Wilson is a pioneer of fashion studies, yet she never intended to become an academic. Starting her literary career as a feminist activist writing for the underground press, she went on to explore tennis, 'bohemians' and of course fashion – her obsession – along with forays into fiction. Throughout, she has never seen her work as abstract or disengaged from 'real life'.

In her memoir, she traces this relationship between personal experience and her writing, revisiting pivotal moments from childhood, adolescence and adult life to explore her belief that research, by its nature, is always a form of autobiography. She unfolds the garment of her life in a wide-ranging exploration of scenes from her past: her difficult relationship with her mother, fashion in the 60s and gay liberation. In this journey through time she shows how experiences are inseparable from the way we seek to explain and understand them, offering a unique and deeply personal account of her – and our – cultural world.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations

1. Outside Looking In
2. First Came Reading
3. Researching My Life
4. Bodies in the Library
5. Dressing the Postwar Young Woman
6. Living the Bohemian Sixties
7. What Does a Lesbian Look Like?
8. Writing Feminism
9. Bad Decade
10. The Vulgar
11. Fashion as Fetish
12. Haunted Houses
13. Nostalgia Mode
14. Cracks in the Pavement
15. In Search of Lost Streets
16. A Visit to Rimini
17. Returning to Queens Club
18. Hedonism
19. Down There on a Visit


Product details

Published Jun 30 2022
Format Hardback
Edition 1st
Extent 296
ISBN 9781350232594
Imprint Bloomsbury Visual Arts
Illustrations 20 bw illus
Dimensions 9 x 5 inches
Publisher Bloomsbury Publishing

About the contributors


Elizabeth Wilson

Elizabeth Wilson is a pioneer in the development o…


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