Nudes from Nowhere: Utopian Sexual Landscapes

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Nudes from Nowhere is the history of the idea that women and the land are analogous. This idea is traced from the earliest etiological myths that present the earth as a womb from which life sprang, to British pornographic texts which feminized nature and masculinized culture. The ultimate effect of treating woman as landscape instead of land is to alter the metaphor of woman from wild nature to cultural artifact. This study further tracks the development of the nature/culture conflict through its growth in ...

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Overview

Nudes from Nowhere is the history of the idea that women and the land are analogous. This idea is traced from the earliest etiological myths that present the earth as a womb from which life sprang, to British pornographic texts which feminized nature and masculinized culture. The ultimate effect of treating woman as landscape instead of land is to alter the metaphor of woman from wild nature to cultural artifact. This study further tracks the development of the nature/culture conflict through its growth in pornographic utopian texts to its eventual realization in the British Imperial project. Historic narratives of exploration reinforce the pornography of treating New World lands as women who must be conquered and exploited, and maps from the period make the earth/woman paradigm graphically explicit. European imperialists first used the land as woman metaphor as propaganda to initiate investment and colonization, then as a validation for brutal political actions. Nudes from Nowhere shows how both pornography and imperialism feed on those who lack protection afforded by the privilege of race, class, or gender.

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Editorial Reviews

Utopian Studies
This is a highly readable book, where you don't have to have read the subject matter. It will be useful to those interested in utopian studies, gender studies, literature and the workings of ideology through language.
W. J.T. Mitchell
This discussion of the ancient metaphor of land-as-woman, woman-as-land is a delightful tour de force of scholarly learning, enlivened by a wicked sense of humor. Darby Lewes provides a comprehensive survey of 'somatopia,' the mutual mapping of female bodies and places. After reading this book, one will never look at 'country matters' in quite the same way. Highly recommended for anyone interested in feminism, women's studies, pornography, utopia, and the cultural study of landscape.
Suzanne Gossett
Amusingly written and thoroughly researched, Darby Lewes’ Nudes from Nowhere is a scholarly romp through that subset of pornographic literature which presents women’s bodies as a geographic site—for control, for pleasure, for the progress of empire. As her contribution to the debate over pornography and free speech, Lewes gives us a full and convincing analysis of one of its most persistent forms, the 'somatopic' metaphor of the land as woman. She persuasively traces how changes in the metaphor’s variations, for example, the woman’s body as architecture, reflect altered conditions for rural and urban women and workers from the 17th through the 19th centuries. A wonderful range of illustrations and maps demonstrate how in these somatopias the sexual and political become indistinguishable, simultaneously advocating the control of women and of entire populations.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780847698158
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 5/28/2000
  • Edition number: 240
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 5.86 (w) x 8.96 (h) x 0.53 (d)

Meet the Author

Darby Lewes is associate professor of English at Lycoming College and the author ofDream Revisionaries: Genre and Gender in Women's Utopian Fiction 1870-1920(University of Alabama Press, 1995).

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Introduction: Utopian Sexual Landscapes Chapter 2 Treating Women Like Dirt: The Agricultural Female Chapter 3 Whorticulture: From Land to Landscape Chapter 4 The Pubic Hare and Other Beasts: Woman as Game Chapter 5 Homebodies and Whorehouses: The Architectural Female Chapter 6 Nudes from Nowhere: Pornography, Empire, and Utopia Chapter 7 Female Sites/Sights: Visual Somatopia Chapter 8 Utopian Sexual Landscapes: An Annotated Checklist of British Somatopias Chapter 9 Works Cited

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