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In this study of ancient myth, tragedy and philosophy, Sissa (Greek Virginity) traces the evolution of desire from Homer to St. Augustine. In the ancient world, sex was recognized as capable of fomenting all sorts of havoc (or, in the case of Oedipus and his mother, "genealogical chaos"), but desire was considered a distraction, with pleasure an enjoyable byproduct. In the early Christian world, however, the author demonstrates how desire and pleasure became problematic-marriage was a "second choice when compared with chastity." According to the author, women's demonization was the one constant: artists portrayed women as motivated by vanity and neediness, with a complicated and often twisted sexuality. Sissa draws on ancient texts for her evidence, but this book is no mere romp through ancient literature; the author's argument is informed by her mastery of the subject and scholarly rigor and daring-she takes on Foucault's seminal work on the subject. Although the book will be of greatest interest to scholars, enthusiasts for the great books may also find it an illuminating complement to their reading. (Nov.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.