Bad Books reconstructs how the eighteenth-century French author Nicolas-Edme Rétif de la Bretonne and his writings were at the forefront of the development of modern conceptions of sexuality and pornography. It explores how Rétif, perceived as a bad author in both senses of the term, and his contributions were glossed over or condemned, such that the originality of his texts has still not been fully established. The book examines the author's repeated testing of the limits of censorship to define and redefine the boundaries of obscenity and his advancement of the modern form and definition of pornography through a focus on intimacy and (female) pleasure.
Bodies, Sex and Desire from the Renaissance to the Present by Sarah Toulalan (Editor); Kate Fisher (Editor)
An examination of how bodies and sexualities have been constructed, categorised, represented, diagnosed, experienced and subverted from the fifteenth to the early twenty-first century. It draws attention to continuities in thinking about bodies and sex: concept may have changed, but hey nevertheless draw on older ideas and language.
The question of an erotic readership has always vexed scholars. With little evidence of anyone's actually reading erotic material, scholars have had to make do with variations of an "ideal reader" approach. Insofar as it presupposes authorial intention and a stable meaning, this theoretical model proves unsatisfactory. Using an interdisciplinary approach, Carnal Reading: Early Modern Language and Bodies proposes a new theory of erotic reading that refigures bodily responses as constitutive of cognitive understanding.
Casanova, The Seduction of Europe by Frederick Ilchman
This volume accompanies the first exhibition to recreate Casanova's visual world, from his birthplace of Venice to the cultural capitals of Paris and London. Summoning up the people he met and the cities, salons and masked balls he frequented, it provides a survey of important works of eighteenth-century European art.
Contes immoraux du XVIIIe siècle by Nicolas Veysman
In Erotic Exchanges, Nina Kushner reveals the complex world of elite prostitution in eighteenth-century Paris by focusing on the professional mistresses who dominated it. In this demimonde, these dames entretenues exchanged sex, company, and sometimes even love for being "kept." Most of these women entered the profession unwillingly, either because they were desperate and could find no other means of support or because they were sold by family members to brothels or to particular men. A small but significant percentage of kept women, however, came from a theater subculture that actively supported elite prostitution. Kushner shows that in its business conventions, its moral codes, and even its sexual practices, the demimonde was an integral part of contemporary Parisian culture. Kushner's primary sources include thousands of folio pages of dossiers and other documents generated by the Paris police as they tracked the lives and careers of professional mistresses, reporting in meticulous, often lascivious, detail what these women and their clients did.
History of My Life by Giacomo Chevalier de Seingalt Casanova; Willard R. Trask (Translator)
Because every previous edition of Casanova's Memoirs had been abridged to suppress the author's political and religious views and tame his vivid, often racy, style, Willard R. Trask's translation of the complete original text in six double volumes is an important resource. For the French text, see the Bouquins edition (2013-15) or the volumes in the Pléiade series (2013).
The Invention of Heterosexual Culture by Louis-Georges Tin
Louis-Georges Tin shows in The Invention of Heterosexual Culture, in premodern Europe heterosexuality was perceived as an alternative culture. The practice of heterosexuality may have been standard, but the symbolic primacy of the heterosexual couple was not. Tin maps the emergence of heterosexual culture in Western Europe and the significant resistance to it from feudal lords, church fathers, and the medical profession. Tin writes that before the phenomenon of "courtly love" in the early twelfth century, the man-woman pairing had not been deemed a subject worthy of more than passing interest. As heterosexuality became a recurrent theme in art and literature, the nobility came to view it as a disruption of the feudal chivalric ethos of virility and male bonding. If feudal lords objected to the "hetero" in heterosexuality and what they saw as the associated dangers of weakness and effeminacy, the church took issue with the "sexuality," which threatened the Christian ethos of renunciation and divine love. Finally, the medical profession cast heterosexuality as pathology, warning of an epidemic of "lovesickness." Noting that the discourse of heterosexuality does not belong to heterosexuals alone, Tin offers a groundbreaking history that reasserts the cultural identity of heterosexuality.
John Cleland's Memoirs of a woman of pleasure by John Cleland
How are the histories of English colonialism and Sapphism intertwined? In what ways did the consumer culture that colonialism fuel encourage or inhibit women from forming romantic and erotic bonds with one another? These are some of the historical and theoretical questions this volume attempts to answer in its exploration of desire between women in Restoration and eighteenth-century England.
The Libertine by Michel Delon (Editor); Marilyn Yalom (Foreword by)
A richly illustrated literary anthology that explores the fantasies, seductions, and intrigues of the eighteenth-century French lover. This sumptuous volume presents more than eighty selections from eighteenth-century French literature, each concerning some facet of the game of love as practiced by the libertine, or the freethinking aristocratic hedonist, a type that flourished-not least in literature-in the declining years of the Ancien Regime. Each selection is illustrated by well-chosen period artworks, many rarely seen, by Watteau, Boucher, Fragonard, and numerous others.
Limites de la masculinité: l'androgyne dans l'art et la théorie de l'art en France, 1750-1830 by Mechthild Fend
"Reusing on cases of extramarital sex, Johanna Rickman investigates fornication, adultery, and bastard hearing among the English nobility during the Elizabethan and early Stuart period. Since members of the nobility were not generally brought before the ecclesiastical courts, which had jurisdiction over other citizens' sexual offences, Rickman's sources include collections of family papers (primarily letters), state papers, and literary texts (prescriptive manuals, love sonnets, satirical verse, and prose romances), as well as legal documents."--BOOK JACKET.
Obscénités renaissantes by Roberts, Hugh 1977-, Peureux, Guillaume., Wajeman, Lise.
"Although the French Renaissance has a persistant reputation for 'Rabelaisian' debauchery, there are few critical works devoted to analysing obscenity in sixteenth-century France. The studies collected here show how the notion of obscenity emerged during the French Renaissance through a process of contestation and change as the moral and social frames of reference on which the concept depends were not yet fixed. The word ‘obscène’ appears in French for the first time in the sixteenth century and obscenity spreads through very different contexts, from medicine to music and from farce to travel writing – all areas in which obscenity becomes a hermeneutic challenge, for it can only be defined through its effects and because it blurs the boundaries between action and representation. Hence the innately provocative nature of the obscene unleashes an energy which leads to a fundamental questioning of the basis of morality, of the function of works of art, and of human nature itself." - Publisher's description
Obscenity. EMF: Studies in Early Modern France Vol. 14 by Russell J. Ganim (Editor); Anne L. Birberick (Editor); Hugh G. A. Roberts (Guest Editor)
In this comparative study, Pluskota offers an analysis of the lives of prostitutes that looks beyond a purely criminal perspective, and which encompasses their roles within their families, relationships and social networks. Using police and judicial records, she provides a valuable corrective to the narrow analysis of prostitutes in terms of immorality or deviance. The unique forms of development and problems faced by port cities in the early modern period make them particularly interesting subjects for comparative history.
Queer Renaissance Historiography by Stephen Guy-Bray; Vin Nardizzi; Will Stockton
Dealing with questions on the meaning of eroticism in Renaissance England and its separation from other affective relations, Queer Renaissance Historiography examines the distinctive arrangement of sexuality during this period, and the role that queer theory has played in our understanding. As such this book not only reflects on the practice of writing a queer history of Renaissance England, but also suggests new directions for this practice. Queer Renaissance Historiography collects original contributions from leading experts, participating in a range of critical conversations whilst prompting scholars and students alike to reconsider what we think we know about sex and sexuality in Renaissance England. Presenting ethical, political and critical analyses of Early Modern texts, this book sets the tone for future scholarship on Renaissance sexualities, making a timely intervention in theoretical and methodological debates.
Queer (Re)Readings in the French Renaissance by Gary Ferguson
"Focusing on multiple aspects of Renaissance culture, and in particular its preoccupation with the reading and rewriting of classical sources, this book examines representations of homosexuality in sixteenth-century France. Analysing a wide range of texts and topics, it presents an assessment of queer theory that is grounded in historical examples, including French translations of Boccaccio's Decameron, the poetry of Ronsard, works in praise of and satirising Henri III and his mignons, Montaigne's Essais, Brantome's Dames galantes, the figures of the androgyne and the hermaphrodite, and religious discourses and practices of penance and confession. Throughout this study, emphasis is placed on the coexistence of different models of homosexuality during the Renaissance - homosexual desire was simultaneously universal and individual, neither of these views excluding the other. Insisting equally on points of convergence and difference between Renaissance and modern understandings of homosexuality, this book works towards a historicisation of the concept of queerness."--BOOK JACKET.
Same-Sex Desire in Early Modern England, 1550-1735 by Marie H. Loughlin (Editor)
Balancing long-overlooked and well-known works from early modern England, Same-Sex Desire in Early Modern England, 1550-1735: An Anthology of Literary Texts and Contexts is a collection of English texts about homoerotic love, relationships, desires, and sexual acts. The anthology's core texts are selections from works of drama, fiction, romance, poetry, essays and translation.
Same-Sex Desire in the English Renaissance by Kenneth Borris
The readings gathered here include many rare texts that have not been reprinted for centuries, excerpted from biblical commentary, legal writings, medical and scientific writings, popular encyclopedias, and literature, as well as continental vernacular and Latin sources never before available in English translation. The selections are assembled in ten chapters addressing particular discursive fields - Theology, Law, Medicine, Astrology, Physiognomics, Encyclopedias and Reference Works, Prodigious Monstrosities, Love and Friendship, the Sapphic Renaissance, and Erotica. Each chapter includes a substantial introduction summarizing its topic and its relation to early modern homoeroticism. The volume also poignantly addresses key issues in Renaissance thinking about sexual identity, and newly clarifies central problems and debates in the historiography of same-sex love.
Secret sexualities: a sourcebook of 17th and 18th century writing by Ian McCormick (Editor)
Secret Sexualitiesis expansive in its historical range, vast sources and scholarly research. It contains rare, unpublished, primary material, extensive critical and contextual material by the editor, and refuses to discriminate between issues of sex, sexuality and gender.
Sex education in eighteenth-century France by Shane Agin (Editor)
"Did sex education actually exist in eighteenth-century France? Shaped by competing currents of religious dogma, atheist materialism and bourgeois morality, eighteenth-century France marked the beginning of what Michel Foucault called une fermentation discursive on matters related to sex. But when we consult the educational theorists or philosophes of the time for their opinions on preparing a young person for life as a sexual being, we are met with a telling silence. Did an Enlightenment era that dared to make sex an object of discourse also dare to make it an object of pedagogy? Sex education in eighteenth-century France brings together specialists from a range of disciplines to address these issues. Using a wide variety of literary, historical, religious and pedagogical sources, contributors explore for the first time the nexus between sex and instruction. Although these two categories were publicly kept distinct, writers were effectively shaping attitudes and behaviours. Unraveling the complex system of rules and codes through which knowledge about sex was communicated, contributors uncover a new dimension in the practice of education in the eighteenth century."--Book jacket.
This roman à clef is based on a true story involving the French ambassador to the Ottoman Porte from 1699 to 1711. It is the story of the tormented relationship between the diplomat and a beautiful young Greek concubine, Théophé, whom he frees from a pasha's harem. While her benefactor becomes increasingly infatuated with her and bent on becoming her lover, the Greek girl becomes obsessed with the idea of becoming a virtuous and respected woman.
The Sex of Men in Premodern Europe by Patricia Simons
"How were male bodies viewed before the Enlightenment? And what does this reveal about attitudes towards sex and gender in premodern Europe? This richly textured cultural history investigates the characterization of the sex of adult male bodies from ancient Greece to the seventeenth century. Before the modern focus on the phallic, penetrative qualities of male anatomy, Patricia Simons finds that men's bodies were considered in terms of their active physiological characteristics, in relation to semen, testicles and what was considered innately masculine heat. Re-orienting attention from an anatomical to a physiological focus, and from fertility to pleasure, Simons argues that women's sexual agency was perceived in terms of active reception of the valuable male seed. This provocative, compelling study draws on visual, material and textual evidence to elucidate a broad range of material, from medical learning, high art and literary metaphors to obscene badges, codpieces and pictorial or oral jokes"-- Provided by publisher.
The Sexual Culture of the French Renaissance by Katherine Crawford
When the French invaded Italy in 1494, they were shocked by the frank sexuality expressed in Italian cities. By 1600, the French were widely considered to be the most highly sexualized nation in Christendom. What caused this transformation? This book examines how, as Renaissance textual practices and new forms of knowledge rippled outward from Italy, the sexual landscape and French notions of masculinity, sexual agency, and procreation were fundamentally changed.
Thinking Sex with the Early Moderns by Valerie Traub
What do we know about early modern sex? And how do we know it? How, when, and why does sex become history? In this book, Valerie Traub addresses these questions and, in doing so, reorients the ways in which historians and literary critics, feminists and queer theorists approach sexuality and its history. Her answers offer interdisciplinary strategies for confronting the difficulties of making sexual knowledge.
The Wanton Jesuit and the Wayward Saint by Mita Choudhury
This microhistory investigates the famous and scandalous 1731 trial in which Catherine Cadière, a young woman in the south of France, accused her Jesuit confessor, Jean-Baptiste Girard, of seduction, heresy, abortion, and bewitchment. Generally considered to be the last witchcraft trial in early modern France, the Cadière affair was central to the volatile politics of 1730s France, a time when magistrates and lawyers were seeking to contain clerical power. The case contributed significantly to the French people's ever-increasing disenchantment with the church and the king.