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A History of Orgies (Prion Lost Treasures) Paperback – June 1, 2002


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Product Details

  • Series: Prion Lost Treasures
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Prion (June 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1853754919
  • ISBN-13: 978-1853754913
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,437,651 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

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.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By James R. Holland VINE VOICE on April 24, 2009
Format: Paperback
Would-be authors have always been advised to write about what they know. This surprisingly well-done history work was the first and only book written by a young man after he "came down from his Christ Church History Readings at Oxford." It was published by one of his classmates and appeared in 1958 when the book's author was 23-years old. "He enjoyed his time at Oxford immensely and it was lucky for him that in those days it was still possible to be a serious student while still leading a life reminiscent of the pages of `Brideshead Revisited.'" The book proved popular enough even in that prudish period of history to save the original publisher from bankruptcy. This book was to be Partridge's only book because he died at age of twenty-eight only a few months after the birth of his only child, a daughter.
The book is easy reading. The two lengthiest sections are on the Greeks and the Romans. It was obvious that the author didn't care for the Roman's prostitution of the relatively harmless orgies intended to let off steam of the Greeks, into brutal circuses of perversion, sadistic torture and even death during the Roman era.
Orgies are defined as "wild gatherings, marked by promiscuous sexual activity, excessive drinking, etc." Fortunately after the fall of the Roman World, the majority of orgies as practiced throughout the western world returned to the more standard and much less harmful "wild parties of sexual, and drunken pleasures."
"The teachings of the Church on sexual matters was not accepted by the medical profession who held that continence was unwise and unhealthy, and prescribed more frequent sexual intercourse to their patients.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey C. Gillespie on December 16, 2007
Format: Paperback
I was asked to help organize a party for a client at my place of employment that was themed on the Roman Feast, so I purchased this book with a mind to giving them the most authentic event possible. I was greatly charmed by the detail(s) offered by the book, which emphasized the true details of the history of this society art form. The event never actually happened at our venue but the client did use some of the ideas I sourced for her in the book, and seemed pleased enough. Of course, this isn't just a resource book and can be read purely for pleasure, as well.
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Format: Hardcover
Not only did I find 'A History of Orgies' an erudite, scholarly and masterfully compelling compendium regarding the long and illustrious history of various societal norms regarding large group sexual couplings but it has added immeasurably to the form, function and over-all thrust of the orgies I have been putting together as a prime facilitator since being elected to high office here in the Great State of Texas.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A revelation of the excesses carried out and contributed to history ,as well as endeavoured to be hidden in and by the forces of society to maintain the staid atmosphere of denial . A representation of the deprivation of the just and unjust forces of the delinquent society through a thousand years of debauchery, brutality, arrogance, love and the myriad of lives affected in the making of history.
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