Dr Elsa Richardson

Rumbles: A Curious History of the Gut by Elsa Richardson published today by Profile


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Congratulations to Elsa Richardson whose new book Rumbles: A Curious History of the Gut is published today by Profile Books and the Wellcome Collection.

Financial Times most anticipated read for 2024

The stomach is notoriously outspoken. It growls, gurgles and grumbles while other organs remain silent, inconspicuous and content.

For centuries humans have puzzled over this rowdy, often overzealous organ, deliberating on the extent of its influence over cognition, mental wellbeing and emotions, and wondering how the gut became so central to our sense of self.

Travelling from Ancient Greece to Victorian England, 18th-century France to modern America, cultural historian Elsa Richardson leads us on a lively tour of the gut, exploring all the ways that we have imagined, theorised and probed the mysteries of the gastroenterological system.

We’ll meet a wildly diverse cast of characters including Edwardian body builders, hunger-striking suffragettes, demons, medieval alchemists, and one poor teenage girl plagued by a remarkably vocal gut, all united by this singular organ.

Engaging, eye-opening and thought-provoking, Rumbles leaves no stone unturned, scrutinising religious tracts and etiquette guides, satirical cartoons and political pamphlets in its quest to answer the millennia-old question: Are we really ruled by our stomachs?

Praise for Rumbles

‘A fascinating, erudite and entertaining journey through the gut-brain connection’ – Tiffany Watt Smith, author of The Book of Human Emotions

‘A thrilling and surprising journey into the science and culture of an organ that refuses to be civilised’ – Paul Craddock, author of Spare Parts

Rumbles: A Curious History of the Gut is out now. Pegasus Books (Simon & Schuster) will publish Rumbles in the USA on 1 October. 

On the 30 May, Elsa Richardson will be presenting Listen to Your Gut at the Wellcome Collection, an evening exploring, through discussion and an artist film, how the gut speaks and how we communicate with it. More details and free tickets can be found here