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The Pleasure Principle: Culture, Backlash, and the Struggle for Gay Freedom
     

The Pleasure Principle: Culture, Backlash, and the Struggle for Gay Freedom

by Michael Bronski
 
In this compelling book, journalist Michael Bronski explores the often unacknowledged but undeniable impact that gay sensibility has had in breaking down traditional and repressive structures in society.

Overview

In this compelling book, journalist Michael Bronski explores the often unacknowledged but undeniable impact that gay sensibility has had in breaking down traditional and repressive structures in society.

Editorial Reviews

George De Stefano
In his ambitious and entertaining book -- reading it is itself an experience of the pleasure principle -- he is helping to remove gay history and culture from the marginalized realm of exotica and place them squarely in the ebb and flow of American history. -- The Nation
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
"For decades," writes Boston gay cultural critic Bronski (Culture Clash), "conservative psychoanalysts, religious leaders, and politicians have charged that homosexuality is about nothing more than having sex; that homosexuals are `obsessed' with sex; that homosexuality is a `flight' from the responsibilities of `mature' sexuality. And they are right." Though occupying an uneasy middle ground between the academic and the mainstream (reflected in its clear but occasionally fussy prose), Bronski's book is important as a long-overdue addition to the discussion of gayness and sexuality in general in the U.S. In devoting the greatest part of his argument to the relationship of gay sex to pure pleasure, and to the lessons in pleasure learned by the rest of society from the gay example, Bronski is able to deal with issues that nearly all sides of the debate have tended to shy away from. Bronski draws compelling and broadly considered parallels between homophobia and anti-Semitism and provides a useful history of the development of ghettos as a way that various societies have handled unassimilable minorities. Though he forthrightly takes on the issue of children and homosexuality, he is at his weakest there for relying heavily on correspondences and opinions that seem inconclusive. Yet his book reminds us that before matters of sexuality--homo-, hetero- or otherwise--can be resolved, sexuality itself and the concept of pleasure must be confronted head on. (Aug.)
Library Journal
What is it that truly constitutes "pleasure" and what is its role in our lives? Journalist Bronski (Culture Clash: The Making of Gay Sensibility, LJ 12/84) ponders these questions as he examines the link between pleasure and sexuality. Bronski especially examines how pleasure relates to homosexuality and gay culture by pointing out that "pleasure for pleasure's sake" is a troubling concept for many people. He convincingly argues that "institutionalized heterosexuality...is the dominant culture's primary means of regulating sexuality and sexual activity" and further suggests that heterosexuals have an essential interest in keeping everyone on a very tight sexual leash. Are gay people targeted for discrimination? Is it because they pursue sexual activity just for the sake of having it or is something more fundamental at play? According to Bronski, homophobia centers around the enjoyment of sexual relations outside of marriage, and while it's a tough thesis, he backs it up with impressive documentation. Though his arguments sometimes sound like a legal brief and are not entirely original, this insightful and provocative work succeeds in showing why heterosexuals have nothing to fear and very much to learn from gays. Recommended.--Richard S. Drezen, "Washington Post" News Research Ctr., Washington, DC

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780312156251
Publisher:
St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
07/15/1998
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
304
Product dimensions:
6.42(w) x 9.46(h) x 1.11(d)

Meet the Author

Michael Bronski is the author of Culture Clash: The Making of Gay Sensibility and The Pleasure Principle: Sex, Backlash, and the Struggle for Gay Freedom. He has edited and contributed to many anthologies, has had essays published throughout the world, and teaches and lectures widely. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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