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Roman Sexualities [Paperback]

Judith P. Hallett , Marilyn B. Skinner
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

December 8, 1997 0691011788 978-0691011783

This collection of essays seeks to establish Roman constructions of sexuality and gender difference as a distinct area of research, complementing work already done on Greece to give a fuller picture of ancient sexuality. By applying feminist critical tools to forms of public discourse, including literature, history, law, medicine, and political oratory, the essays explore the hierarchy of power reflected so strongly in most Roman sexual relations, where noblemen acted as the penetrators and women, boys, and slaves the penetrated. In many cases, the authors show how these roles could be inverted--in ways that revealed citizens' anxieties during the days of the early Empire, when traditional power structures seemed threatened.

In the essays, Jonathan Walters defines the impenetrable male body as the ideational norm; Holt Parker and Catharine Edwards treat literary and legal models of male sexual deviance; Anthony Corbeill unpacks political charges of immoral behavior at banquets, while Marilyn B. Skinner, Ellen Oliensis, and David Fredrick trace linkages between social status and the gender role of the male speaker in Roman lyric and elegy; Amy Richlin interrogates popular medical belief about the female body; Sandra R. Joshel examines the semiotics of empire underlying the historiographic portrayal of the empress Messalina; Judith P. Hallett and Pamela Gordon critique Roman caricatures of the woman-desiring woman; and Alison Keith discovers subversive allusions to the tragedy of Dido in the elegist Sulpicia's self-depiction as a woman in love.

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Roman Sexualities + Sexuality and Gender in the Classical World: Readings and Sources + Sexuality in Greek and Roman Culture
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Editorial Reviews


"Roman Sexualities makes a major contribution to our understanding of the construction of sexuality in Roman society and culture as it moves beyond the more traditional forms of historical and literary scholarship to create illuminating perspectives on the subject in all its multifaceted complexity."--Phoenix

Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press (December 8, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691011788
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691011783
  • Product Dimensions: 0.9 x 6 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,393,443 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Only for the serious scholar of Roman culture June 15, 2001
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is not a book for those mildly interested or even highly interested but untrained in scholarly discourse about Roman culture. The focus is on sexuality and some of the best known and respected scholars have contributed: Marilyn B. Skinner, Amy Richlin, Sandra R. Joshel, and Judith P. Hallett stand out because their pivotal work on Roman sexuality already. However, it is the essay by Holt N. Parker, "The Teratogenic Grid" that provides the field with an understandable model of sexuality in Roman culture. Most of the pieces focus on men, something relatively new in the ancient field, but there are also a few that deal specifically with women. As in any academic work, there will be theories you love, some you see as valuable, and others you disagree with. But this not for someone unfamiliar with the research and changes in the study of Roman sexuality to dive into.
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Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is a FIVE-STAR book as it supplements Women's Classical Studies and combines the most critical points of women's life in ancient Rome. Excellent book and one of the canon - not to be missed by the serious student.
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