Foucault's Virginity: Ancient Erotic Fiction and the History of Sexuality (The W. B. Stanford Memorial Lectures)

5 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0521479349
ISBN-10: 0521479347
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Review

"An important and accessible work. Recommended for graduate and undergraduates." Religious Studies Review

Book Description

This study of how sex and sexuality were written about in the first centuries of this era reveals how the standard accounts were distorted by ignoring the sexy, ironic and often bizarre texts of the ancient novel, erotic poetry and humorous dialogues.
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Product Details

  • Series: The W. B. Stanford Memorial Lectures
  • Paperback: 212 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (January 27, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521479347
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521479349
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,522,549 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 30, 2001
Format: Paperback
Goldhill's book aims to counter the massive influence of Foucault's explorations of eros in Greek literature under the Roman empire by demonstrating the greater complexity, irony, and variety of approaches in a host of different authors. Innovative and compelling, it has already garnered a well-deserved reputation.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 7, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Witty, compelling, brash, frustrating, thoughtful, and just downright fun. Goldhill attempts to out-foucault Foucault. He makes a good case for reading "virginity" as a sly form of knowledge.Taking on the master this broadly is of course folly, but Goldhill does it so entertainingly and with enough rigor to potentially open a new line of discussion in this daunting arena. And I think that's just what Foucault intended, isn't it?
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By sid1gen on July 4, 2014
Format: Paperback
In this extraordinarily helpful and didactic effort, Goldhill manages to convey both the necessary erudition to help readers grasp the importance of ancient Greek erotic fiction in the development of literary and societal trends that continue today, and the indispensable sense of wonder to help bridge the gap of two and a half millennia. It seems that every new generation thinks it has "invented" or discovered something new about sex, desire, and the controls that societies have imposed throughout time. This slim book is a great first step in debunking such ideas and is full of information about a part of literature that was intentionally neglected in our civilization for a long time, to the point that, when Daphnis and Chloe, for example, was finally translated into English, it was mangled so as not to provoke impure thoughts in its readers. A "modern" version that Goldhill mentions, from the early 20th century, includes text in Latin and not in English just in those descriptive parts that could "pollute" the minds of impressionable readers.

Even if readers are not much interested in Foucault's peculiar ideas about the development of historical trends, or in his take on Western attitudes regarding sexuality, Goldhill's text is useful because it complements Foucault and fills lacunae that the French philosopher left in his explorations of western attitudes towards sex. Also, together with Daphnis and Chloe, Goldhill concentrates on Leucippe and Cleitophon and on Amatorius, but there are useful forays into Plato's Republic, Aristotle's Nichomachean Ethics, the Erotes (attributed to Lucian), Ovid's Ars Amatoria, Aeschylus's Agamemnon, and a very long list of known and not-so known literary works from the Ancient World that is always rewarding to read or re-read.
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9 of 32 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 12, 2001
Format: Paperback
Goldhill is - once again - lying through his beard in this, his latest 'book'. I had Foucault - he was a virgin prior to this - so I bought this book with the eager expectation of an account of this brief but pleasurable experience. Yet what do I find? Goldhill's evasions and, yes, outright lies. You liar, Goldhill. Liar.
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7 of 29 people found the following review helpful By The Whole of King's College on January 11, 2001
Format: Paperback
This tedious lingering on filth reflects Goldhill's perverted and cess-pit-like mind. There is an intelligent, sensitive tome to be written on this topic. This is not it. Shame on him. Shame.
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Foucault's Virginity: Ancient Erotic Fiction and the History of Sexuality (The W. B. Stanford Memorial Lectures)
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