Soaking up the rays

Light therapy and visual culture in Britain, c. 1890-1940

By Tania Anne Woloshyn

Soaking up the rays
Hardcover -
  • Price: £45.00
  • ISBN: 9781784995126
  • Publish Date: Aug 2017
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
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    Book Information

    • Format: Hardcover
    • ISBN: 978-1-7849-9512-6
    • Pages: 288
    • Price: £45.00
    • Published Date: August 2017


    There is an Open Access edition of this book with a CC-BY-NC-ND license. Soaking up the rays forges a new path for exploring Britain's fickle love of the light by investigating the beginnings of light therapy in the country from c. 1890-1940. Despite rapidly becoming a leading treatment for tuberculosis, rickets and other infections and skin diseases, light therapy was a contentious medical practice. Bodily exposure to light, whether for therapeutic or aesthetic ends, persists as a contested subject to this day: recommended to counter skin conditions as well as Seasonal Affective Disorder and depression; closely linked to notions of beauty, happiness and well-being, fuelling tourism abroad and the tanning industry at home; and yet with repeated health warnings that it is a dangerous carcinogen.

    By analysing archival photographs, illustrated medical texts, advertisements, lamps, and goggles and their visual representation of how light acted upon the body, Woloshyn assesses their complicated contribution to the founding of light therapy.


    'Soaking up the Rays displays a reflective methodology and meticulously detailed approach to analysing visual cultures. Woloshyn's transferable toolkit can be both studied and applied by researchers to evaluate their own contentious histories and complex layers of visual representation.'
    Fabiola Creed, University of Warwick, Social History of Medicine, Volume 32, Issue 2, May 2019


    1 Consuming light
    2 Dosing sunburn
    3 Light registers
    4 Vanguard rays
    5 Photogenic suntans
    6 Dead points


    Tania Anne Woloshyn was a Wellcome Trust Research Fellow in the Medical Humanities in the Centre for the History of Medicine at the University of Warwick from 2012 to 2016

    Soaking up the rays

    By Tania Anne Woloshyn

    Hardcover £45.00 / $66.95

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