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Sexual Ambivalence: Androgyny and Hermaphroditism in Graeco-Roman Antiquity Paperback – March 18, 2002

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Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: French --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Inside Flap

"Sexual ambivalence in antiquity was both deeply threatening to the social order and profoundly attractive. Especially in a culture in which gender roles seemed so fundamental, hermaphroditism was monstrous, a portent of disorder. But in the myths and the philosophy of that world it also represented the promise of fusion, the hoped-for reward of love and the ground from which civilization sprang. Everyone who studies sexuality, whether in the ancient world or in the present, owes Brisson a great debt for bringing together such a wide range of texts on so important and moving an issue."—Thomas W. Laqueur, author of Making Sex: Body and Gender from the Greeks to Freud
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press; 1st edition (March 18, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520223918
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520223912
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,338,690 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
Wispy and suggestive, this little book addresses the historical accounts, mythological examples and religious explanations of dual sexuality in the ancient world. This one is definitely not a treatise in current cultural studies, as the only authors cited are ancients. While Brisson does not stray from his historical task, the dearth of contemporary situational relevance, or comparison even, may be a weakness of the book. However, the accounts are insightful. The chapter on Plato's myth from the <Symposium> concerning the dual-sexuality of original states is a strong one. Also a nice treat, Brisson presents discussion of the Chaldean Oracles and Orphic mysteries within the context of dual sexuality. The former topic in particular appears rarely in writing on general classical culture. Remarkable too, is the relation of early Roman and Etruscan reactions to these hermaphrodite prodigies. This clear little book serves up a handy collection and analysis of incidents, from which, perhaps, one can generalize not only about antiquity's perception of and reaction to sexual duals, but too the value of such dualism as a mythological or philosophical concept.
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Format: Paperback
good work
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