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The Sleep of Reason brings together an international group of philosophers, philologists, literary critics, and historians to consider two questions normally kept separate: how is erotic experience understood in classical texts of various kinds, and what ethical judgments and philosophical arguments are made about sex? From same-sex desire to conjugal love, and from Plato and Aristotle to the Roman Stoic Musonius Rufus, the contributors demonstrate the complexity and diversity of classical sexuality. They also show that the ethics of eros, in both Greece and Rome, shared a number of commonalities: a focus not only on self-mastery, but also on reciprocity; a concern among men not just for penetration and display of their power, but also for being gentle and kind, and for being loved for themselves; and that women and even younger men felt not only gratitude and acceptance, but also joy and sexual desire.
* Eva Cantarella
* Kenneth Dover
* Chris Faraone
* Simon Goldhill
* Stephen Halliwell
* David M. Halperin
* J. Samuel Houser
* Maarit Kaimio
* David Konstan
* David Leitao
* Martha C. Nussbaum
* A. W. Price
* Juha Sihvola
As defined by the ancient civil or canonical codes, sodomy was a category of forbidden acts; their author was nothing more than the juridical subject of them. The nineteenth-century homosexual became a person-age--a past, a case history and a childhood, a character, a form of life; also a morphology, with an indiscreet anatomy and possibly a mysterious physiology. Nothing in his total being escapes his sexuality. Everywhere in him it is present: underlying all his actions, because it is their insidious and indefinitely active principle; shamelessly inscribed on his face and on his body, because it is a secret that always gives itself away. It is consubstantial with him, less as a habitual sin than as a singular nature.. . . Homosexuality appeared as one of the forms of sexuality when it was transposed from the practice of sodomy onto a kind of interior androgyny, a hermaphroditism of the soul. The sodomite was a renegade [or "backslider"]; the homosexual is now a species.Foucault's formulation is routinely taken to authorize the doctrine that before the nineteenth century the categories or classifications typically employed by European cultures to articulate sexual difference did not distinguish among different kinds of sexual actors but only among different kinds of sexual acts. In the premodern and early modern periods, so the claim goes, sexual behavior did not represent a sign or marker of a person's sexual identity; it did not indicate or express some more generalized or holistic feature of the person, such as that person's subjectivity, disposition, or character. The pattern is clearest, we are told, in the case of deviant sexual acts. Sodomy, for example, was a sinful act that anyone of sufficient depravity might commit; it was not a symptom of a type of personality. To perform the act of sodomy was not to manifest a deviant sexual identity, but merely to be the author of a morally objectionable act. Whence the conclusion that before the modern era sexual deviance could be predicated only of acts, not of persons or identities.
[La sodomie--celle des anciens droits civil ou canonique--etait un type d'actes interdits; leur auteur n'en etait que le sujet juridique. L'homosexuel du xixe siecle est devenu un personnage: un passe, une histoire et une enfance, un caractere, une forme de vie; une morphologie aussi, avec une anatomie indiscrete et peut-etre une physiologie mysterieuse. Rien de ce qu'il est au total n'echappe a sa sexualite. Par-tout en lui, elle est presente: sous-jacente a toutes ses conduites parce qu'elle en est le principe insidieux et indefiniment actif; inscrite sans pudeur sur son visage et sur son corps parce qu'elle est un secret qui se trahit toujours. Elle lui est consubstantielle, moins comme un peche d'habitude que comme une nature singuliere.... L'homosexualite est apparue comme une des figures de la sexualite lorsqu'elle a ete rabattue de la pratique de la sodomie sur une sorte d'androgynie interieure, un hermaphrodisme de l'ame. Le sodomite etait un relaps, l'homosexuel est maintenant une espece.]
Excerpted from The Sleep of Reason: Erotic Experience and Sexual Ethics in Ancient Greece and Rome by Juha Sihvola Copyright © 2002 by Juha Sihvola. Excerpted by permission.
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|1||Forgetting Foucault: Acts, Identities, and the History of Sexuality||21|
|2||Eros and Ethical Norms: Philosophers Respond to a Cultural Dilemma||55|
|3||Erotic Experience in the Conjugal Bed: Good Wives in Greek Tragedy||95|
|4||Aristophanic Sex: The Erotics of Shamelessness||120|
|5||The Legend of the Sacred Band||143|
|6||Plato, Zeno, and the Object of Love||170|
|7||Aristotle on Sex and Love||200|
|8||Two Women of Samos||222|
|9||The First Homosexuality?||229|
|10||Marriage and Sexuality in Republican Rome: A Roman Conjugal Love Story||269|
|11||The Incomplete Feminism of Musonius Rufus, Platonist, Stoic, and Roman||283|
|12||Eros and Aphrodisia in the Works of Dio Chrysostom||327|
|14||The Erotic Experience of Looking: Cultural Conflict and the Gaze in Empire Culture||374|
|15||Agents and Victims: Constructions of Gender and Desire in Ancient Greek Love Magic||400|
|App||Major Historical Figures Discussed||427|