The Female Body in Western Culture: Contemporary Perspectives / Edition 1

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Overview

The female body has occupied a central place in the Western imagination, its images pervading poetry and story, mythology and religious doctrine, the visual arts, and scientific treatises. It has inspired both attraction and fear, been perceived as beautiful and unclean, alluring and dangerous, a source of pleasure and nurturing but also a source of evil and destruction.

In The Female Body in Western Culture, twenty-three internationally noted scholars and critics, in specially commissioned essays, explore these representations and their consequences for contemporary art and culture. Ranging from Genesis to Gertrude Stein and Angela Carter, from ancient Greek ritual to the Victorian sleeping cure, from images of the Madonna to modern film and Surrealist art, the essays cover a wide spectrum of approaches and subject mailer. They all converge, however, around questions of power and powerlessness, voice and silence, subjecthood and objectification. And they point the way to the new possibilities and displacements of traditional male-female oppositions. Androgyny in a new key? This book demonstrates that a blurring of gender boundaries does not have to deny difference.

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What People Are Saying

Elaine Marks
A distinguished contribution to the continuing analysis of the 'question of woman.' The most original essays exemplify the new and provocative alliance between the feminist inquiry and post-structuralist approaches to the reading of texts.
Elaine Showalter
From its opening essay on female eroticism by Susan Suleiman to its closing with Charles Bernheimer's brilliant study of the imagery of disgust in Huysmans, this is a fascinating, unsettling, and important book. Scholars will find it essential, and all readers will find it absorbing.
Nina Auerbach
I particularly loved the section about art: it goes way beyond earlier polemics about male artists and female models to explore the representational life of women's bodies.

A distinguished contribution to the continuing analysis of the 'question of woman.' The most original essays exemplify the new and provocative alliance between the feminist inquiry and post-structuralist approaches to the reading of texts.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674298712
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 5/28/1986
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 400
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 9.36 (h) x 0.95 (d)

Meet the Author

Susan Rubin Suleiman is the Dillon Professor of the Civilization of France and Professor of Comparative Literature, Harvard University.

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Table of Contents

Introduction

Part 1: Eros

1. (Re) Writing the Body: The Politics and Poetics of Female Eroticism

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