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Trench Coat (Object Lessons)


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Table of Contents

Introduction 1. Substance 2. War 3. Mobility 4. Insurgency 5. Reportage 6. Heroes or Villains 7. Outsiders 8. Style Conclusion Postscript Notes Index

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Explores the history of the most enigmatic of banal items, the trench coat. A product of science and technology, then a weapon of war, the trench coat effortlessly blended into literature, music, film and fashion to become the garment of choice for the most mysterious characters of the modern world.

About the Author

Jane Tynan is Assistant Professor of Design History and Theory, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


Trench Coat maps the extraordinary lives of this seemingly simple garment, which emerged from early industrialized warfare to become the screen for a multitude of projected dreams, fears and desires across the 20th century to the present. Jane Tynan’s material and cultural history charts the evolution of a coat that is practical yet cryptic, hyper-visible but concealing, possessed of vitality whilst also a form of camouflage.
*Rachel Woodward, Professor of Human Geography, Newcastle University, UK*

Jane Tynan’s Trench Coat is a delight – richly informative and written in prose as stylish as the object it describes. Uncovering the ‘dark and dangerous energy’ behind this icon of modernity, Tynan vividly captures the trench coat’s perennial appeal.
*Catherine Spooner, Professor of Literature and Culture, Lancaster University, UK, and author of Fashioning Gothic Bodies*

Really interesting. . . . There's so many iconic moments that this analysis helps us peer more closely into.
*New Books Network*

Another engaging, thought-provoking paperback in Bloomsbury's excellent 'Object Lessons' series.
*The Irish Scene*

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