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Sexual Dissidence: Augustine to Wilde, Freud to Foucault and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more

Sexual Dissidence: Augustine to Wilde, Freud to Foucault 1st Edition

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ISBN-13: 978-0198112693
ISBN-10: 0198112696
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Editorial Reviews


"Appears well placed to make an influential intervention in cultural theory on both sides of the Atlantic....A carefully argued, thought-provoking book that makes fascinating connections among different kinds of discourse while carrying an affective punch far beyond the academic routine."--Modern Language Quarterly

"Dollimore's amazing command of Western literary culture is evident in the historical and disciplinary sweep of his book."--Signs

"This is a thoughtful and challenging book, not only for its reappraisals of hoary academic controversies like the constructionist-essentialist standoff, but because of the many intriguing analytical formulations it propounds."--Choice

"A massive and authoritative contribution to the debate on cultural politics....Every student should own and use a copy. More to the point, so should anyone who presumes to teach."--Times Higher Education Supplement

"A substantial and ambitious book....It is a book that needed to be written, requiring the courage to tackle several conventionally distinct fields of knowledge and interpretation."--Times Literary Supplement

About the Author

Jonathan Dollimore is at University of Sussex.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford Paperbacks; 1 edition (September 26, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0198112696
  • ISBN-13: 978-0198112693
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 1 x 6.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,877,392 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Mr. D. P. Jay on July 11, 2014
Format: Paperback
jThis is by no means an easy read (like any book that uses ‘problematic’ as a noun) but it looks at the way literature helps people to understand and define themselves. It traces the term “perverse” back to its etymological origins in Latin and its epistemological origins in Augustine. A second theoretical section places Freud and Foucault in dialogue on the subject of perversion, followed by a section on homophobia.

The book is topped and tailed by considerations of Oscar Wilde and Andrew Gide, which was mainly why I read it.

There are some who believe that we have progressed since the Renaissance but others think that we have regressed. This is literally a matter of life and death – some think that gay people are freer now yet there I probably more gay bashing and murder than before and research into AIDS has suffered setbacks owing to stigmatisation.

The essentialist, such as Gide, sees sexual orientation as part of one’s nature so one has to be ‘true to oneself’. Others see gays as going against human nature, a perversion, something to be tamed.

The gay scene has been a haven for many, a place of acceptance in a rejecting world. Yet for others, it reinforces a sense of self-alienation in revulsion against drag queens and camp men.

If someone engages in ‘sodomy’ it’s something that can be contained, repressed or transcended. It’s deviant behaviour. But if someone sees themselves as a gay person, rather than someone who does gay things, they are seen to threaten society because they lead, or are part of, a sub culture. Are events like Pride a liberation or a tolerated and contained act?

Many assumed that by showing gays to be somehow ill, this would get sympathy instead of oppression. Not so.
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful By "chriserb" on June 19, 2000
Format: Paperback
With this book Dollimore analyzes sexuality in terms of the differing conceptions of Andre Gide and Oscar Wilde. Where Wilde saw surface and performance, Gide saw a representation of essential self. Taking Wilde's side in the argument, Dollimore uses this analysis to deconstruct sexuality as it appears in early texts.
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