Skip to content

Online ordering is currently undergoing maintenance. To place orders, please call our customer service team at +61 (03) 8671 1400. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Register Sign in Wishlist
The Cult of Youth

The Cult of Youth
Anti-Ageing in Modern Britain

  • Date Published: March 2020
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781108484152


Add to wishlist

Other available formats:

Looking for an inspection copy?

Please email to enquire about an inspection copy of this book

Product filter button
About the Authors
  • In this major new study, James F. Stark provides the first historical account of the most dominant ideas, practices, and material cultures associated with anti-ageing and rejuvenation in modern Britain. With a focus on the interwar period, his study uncovers the role of the commercial world in influencing attitudes towards ageing and youth. Stark argues that the technologies of anti-ageing, their commercialisation and their consumption made rejuvenation a possible and desirable aim in a period of socio-political instability, mechanised conflict and extending lifespans. Ultimately, Stark offers an innovative historical account, which draws together bodies, gender, science, medicine, advertising, and ageing, and shows how the quest for youth was transformed by social anxieties about an ageing population and economic crisis.

    • The first historical account of the ideas and practices associated with anti-ageing, or rejuvenation, in interwar Britain
    • Examines how anti-ageing became part of mainstream culture during the interwar years
    • Draws on a unique constellation of commercial archives, as well as newspapers and published scientific and medical texts, to provide an insight into the interaction between commercial and scientific activities
    Read more

    Reviews & endorsements

    'Most of us fear growing old. Many of us have used a variety of techniques to retain at least the appearance - if not quite the essence - of youth: cosmetics; surgery; hormones; diet; and exercise. As James F. Stark argues in this splendid study of the 'cult of youth' in Britain, the roots of our obsessions with youthfulness lie in the dark years of the interwar period. Mobilising a rich array of sources, Stark neatly displays the meanings and experiences of age and youth, the medical and commercial contexts in which anti-ageing remedies became popular, and the ways in which cults of youth were shaped by a complex constellation of social, political, and economic circumstances in the early twentieth century.' Mark Jackson, University of Exeter

    'A compelling account of how aspiration to lasting youthfulness became embedded in British interwar culture. Technological and medical advance, expanding consumerism, marketing and mass media combined with insecurities due to war and economic depression to create lasting hopes that peak human fitness, female beauty and male sexuality could be extended into later life.' Pat Thane, Visiting Professor, Department of History, Birkbeck College, London

    See more reviews

    Customer reviews

    Not yet reviewed

    Be the first to review

    Review was not posted due to profanity


    , create a review

    (If you're not , sign out)

    Please enter the right captcha value
    Please enter a star rating.
    Your review must be a minimum of 12 words.

    How do you rate this item?


    Product details

    • Date Published: March 2020
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781108484152
    • length: 262 pages
    • dimensions: 234 x 159 x 18 mm
    • weight: 0.49kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    2. Hormones, 1918–1929
    3. Diet, 1918–1929
    4. Electrotherapy, 1925–1932
    5. Exercise, 1930–1939
    6. Skin care, 1930 and beyond
    7. Conclusion
    8. Postscript.

  • Author

    James F. Stark, University of Leeds
    James F. Stark is a historian of modern medicine and science and is Associate Professor of Medical Humanities at the University of Leeds.

Sign In

Please sign in to access your account


Not already registered? Create an account now. ×

Sorry, this resource is locked

Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email

Register Sign in
Please note that this file is password protected. You will be asked to input your password on the next screen.

» Proceed

You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website. Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner Please see the permission section of the catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.

Continue ×

Continue ×

Continue ×

Find content that relates to you

Join us online

This site uses cookies to improve your experience. Read more Close

Are you sure you want to delete your account?

This cannot be undone.


Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.

If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.

Please fill in the required fields in your feedback submission.