In this provocative book, a first history of the subject and long out-of-print, Burgo Partridge coolly and with great learning tells the story of one of the most fascinating of social phenomena: the orgy. The dictionary definition of an orgy is "a wild gathering, marked by promiscuous sexual activity, excessive drinking etc," and Partridge explains precisely what that has meant in the various societies that have left records. We start with the Greeks, who celebrated sexuality at Dionysiac festivals and at temples to Aphrodite, and the Romans who imported unwholesome brutalities into their orgiastic celebrations. We learn of the taste for group sex displayed by some medieval popes, the junketings of restoration England, the aristocratic hedonism of the 18th century Hellfire Club. An assiduously detailed (and intriguing) history.
From the Publisher
An orgy, the dictionary tells us, is “a wild gathering, marked by promiscuous sexual activity, excessive drinking, etc.” Burgo Partridge tells us precisely what that has meant down through the ages. He begins with the Greeks, who celebrated sexuality at Dionysian festivals, and the Romans, who imported unwholesome brutalities into their orgiastic celebrations. We then learn of the penchant for group sex displayed by medieval popes, the junketings of Restoration England, the aristocratic hedonists of the Hellfire Club and Scotland’s notorious Wig Club, the orgiastic tastes of Casanova and the Marquis de Sade, right into the 20th century and the bizarre excesses of Aleister Crowley.