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Hellenism and Homosexuality in Victorian Oxford Paperback – January 3, 1997


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Hellenism and Homosexuality in Victorian Oxford + Masculine Desire: The Sexual Politics of Victorian Aestheticism
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press (January 3, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801481708
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801481703
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.3 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #163,565 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"An exceptionally clear-headed and far-reaching analysis. . . . Beautifully written and argued with subtlety, the book is indispensable for students of Victorian literature, culture, gender studies, and the nature of social change."—Choice



"Dowling's compact and intelligently argued study is concerned with the late-Victorian emergence of homosexuality as an identity rather than as an activity. . . . This identity was formed out of notions of Hellenism current in mid-century Oxford that were held to be lofty and ennobling and even a kind of substitute for a waning Christianity."—Nineteenth-Century Literature



"This book presents a detailed and knowledgeable account of such factors as the Oxford Movement and the influence of such Victorian dons as Benjamin Jowett and Walter Pater and the evolving evaluations of Classical Greece, its mores and morals. It is also enhanced by an analysis of Greek terminology with homosexual connotations, as to be found, for instance, in Plato."—Lambda Book Report


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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By C. Harrigan on January 28, 2012
Format: Paperback
I can't agree with a word of Mr. Hightower's review of this book. Dowling's subject matter might bear importance in many indirect ways to the 21st century, but as far as I can tell, it remains a very specialized topic. I cannot imagine the average LGBT person finding it all that relevant. As well, I have no clue how someone could describe this book as about a struggle between "the creative world and the world of family values"... without entirely missing the point. (Which isn't that difficult to imagine, given Dowling's tendency to verge on PoMo gobbledygook.) Lastly, other than the fact that "Victorian" occurs after the French Revolution and before Stonewall, I'm hard-pressed to see how Oxford Hellenism lights the way between them.

Aside from that unhelpful review, I'd offer a few warnings. Namely that this book might be difficult for the casual reader. It's academic writing which, despite the richness of its subject and its handful of brilliantly illuminating moments, may become tedious - especially if you are more interested in an informal, anecdotal history. (That stuff is exiled to the footnotes, which are sometimes so long and digressive that it's tough to get back on track.) Her writing alternates between lucid and murky. Run on sentences abound, etc. She also demands a lot of knowledge from her readers. I have an interest in Wilde and Aestheticism and I'm familiar with most of the primary and many of the peripheral persons of the era. A reader who is not may be lost or overwhelmed with names.

I'd mostly recommend the book to dedicated students of Aestheticism, or those interested in the history of Oxford University.
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Scott R. Hightower on December 8, 2007
Format: Paperback
The ABSOLUTE must read for all in the LGBT community. Presents to artistic/political struggle between the creative world and the world of family values. It lights the way from the French Revolution to Stonewall.
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