The title A Collection of Beauties at the Height of Their Popularity is taken from a series of woodblock prints by the eighteenth-century artist Utamaro, a master at depicting Japan's legendary Floating World, where, it is said, the patrons of the great pleasure quarters - and their escorts - devoted themselves to the pursuit of music, sex, food, poetry, theater, and fashion. Now, two hundred years later and an ocean away, the young men and women of Otto's San Francisco find themselves in their own version of a Floating World. Illustrated with more than two dozen beautifully reproduced woodblock prints, A Collection of Beauties at the Height of Their Popularity conjures an atmosphere both dreamy and contemporary. Whitney Otto engages the senses as well as the mind while exploring the intricacies, the trouble, and the rapture of human connection.
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