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The Mythology of Transgression: Homosexuality As Metaphor Paperback – May 1, 2001


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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Replica Books (May 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0735104948
  • ISBN-13: 978-0735104945
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,845,126 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Jamake Highwater is a world-renowned mythologist and anthropologist who has focused primarily on the history and meaning of Native American art and lore. The Mythology of Transgression illuminates how the cultural history of male homosexuality is also the history of social transgression. Using myth, science, religion, literature, and popular culture, Highwater explicates how homosexual behavior and identity challenge much of how our world is ordered. Filled with startling and sometimes brilliant insights, The Mythology of Transgression is joyfully iconoclastic and shockingly relevant. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Cultural theorist Highwater has written an intensely personal book that is not, however, less carefully researched than the 16 nonfiction titles, many based on his Native American heritage, that have preceded it. His self-definition as an outsider began, he tells us, when he was placed in an orphanage. By the time he was adopted, his enforced perspective was that of someone "outside the walls," a position that he later embraced. Such an outsider stance has, he argues, been culturally important and even honored; indeed, "our most profound legends and our holiest epics are filled with wonderful accounts of transgressors and their fabled acts of disobedience." In myth, history, and literature, Highwater seeks out evidence of the power of transgressors. He finds it in such obvious places as the works of Arthur Rimbaud and in such surprising matters as the clothing of circus strongmen. Fascinating, full-bodied, and passionate, this is an exemplary blend of scholarship and autobiography. Patricia Monaghan --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 11, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I bought the book because I love the title. This is an intense book that reminds me that I often don't go far enough in my own thinking. He is right when it comes to the level to which gays are outside the norm. His first chapter on the assumptions that have misguided science and sociology where enlightening to me. This book allows the reader to contemplate the creation of categories such as male/female and heterosexual/homosexual. I do wish the author would throw out some ideas as to why this all might have occurred. Knowing the motivation behind the reigning mythology might help in dismantling such myths and their destructive effects. Pointing out the source of the problem is just the first step. This book is more of a philisophical discourse than an in depth recounting of the myths of homosexuality and transgression. Also, I can't really excuse some of the loose cultural commentary in the book: "By becoming 'average' many gay people have failed to become anybody. Somehow the hope to be accepted has been confused with the determination to be compliant." I find no way to respond to these comments. I see them as wasted energy until we can track down these nebulous "many gay people" he speaks of, which of course you can't. It doesn't help that I am among the generation younger than the author. His musings on the current gay climate are generally pessimistic and without much focussed speculation. He loves the French Symbolist poets (Baudelaire,Mallarme, and Rimbaud). However, his approach to the enclaves of transgressors in Paris, New York, and Silverlake with their overriding gay sensibility comes dangerously close to the heterosexual Garden of Eden, which he happily debunks. Are these enclaves now on-line?Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 1, 1999
Format: Hardcover
There are so many biased books for and against outsiders in general and homosexuals in particular that it is extremely agreeable to find a book that has both scope, poetry, and a remarkable vision of the worldwide community, past and present. Highwater takes on homosexuality as the most vivid metaphor of the outsider and in the process provides a rather spectacular view of the Western world from THE OUTSIDE!! The scholarship is remarkable. The language is as fluent as a novel. The ideas stimulating and eye-opening. Altogether, a most intriguing, not-to-be-missed book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 15, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Mr. Highwater's encyclopedia knowledge, his original and completely convincing analogies, and his fleet, transparent musical prose make a book that both creates an extraordinary world of its own and also - brilliantly, unforgettably - illuminates the world in which we live. The book speaks to everyone - gay, straight, other - looking for a new way to synthesize the religious, political, aesthetic, and physcological legacies that make up who we are.
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4 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 29, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Mr. Highwater is a gifted writer who, unfortunately, resorts to at least 45 separate caustic comments when belittling those who disagree with him. Phraseslike "moral monstrosities created by Christianity", "two thousand years of religious vivisection", "retrograde mentality" and numerous other references to those who value Judeo-Chrisitian-Islamic beliefs are used. His 237 - page book contains 16 grammatical errors and 19 spelling errors that I caught. Oxford University Press ought to be ashamed of the quality of this book. Highwater even attempts to make a serious comparison between AIDS and polio. Good reading for shock value but the author seems to have an enormous chip on his shoulder.
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