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

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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.
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New York 1998 Hard Cover in Dust Jacket First Edition New/New 6-1/4 x 9-1/2 x 1 " 0312156251 1998 First Edition Hardcover book in DJ...BRAND NEW from 1998 publisher; Never ... opened, Never owned. Thin red pen line and small dot bottom page edges. Nice Clean Gift Giving quality. Jacket protected in New non-stick clear mylar sleeve protector. Handsome book; steel grey boards with red metallic gilt title impressed on spine, in matching red & black & white photographic jacket. Size 6-1/4 x 9-1/2 x 1" thick; 294 pages, with index. Renowned cultural critic and commentator, author Michael Bronski, in this book, examines 50 years of gay history-and looks at why it makes some heterosexuals uncomfortable. From post World War Two fashions, through to mainstream film such as The Birdcage, to the Mapplethorpe controversy, up to the right-wing anti-gay referenda, Bronski brilliantly maps the fasinating and often ironic interplay between culture and politics. *** The Pleasure Principle-Sex, Backlash, and the Struggle for Ga Read more Show Less

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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.
Read More Show Less

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
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312156251
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 7/15/1998
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 6.42 (w) x 9.46 (h) x 1.11 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Bronski
Michael Bronski

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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Table of Contents

Introduction 1
1 The Making of Americans 5
2 The Pleasure Principle 15
3 Popular Culture 26
4 Subculture and Dominant Culture: The Limits of Assimilation 37
5 Gay Culture 54
6 Gay Freedom, Gay Movement, Backlash 64
7 The Eroticized Male Body 81
8 Suffer the Little Children 109
9 The Construction of a Pleasure Class and the Marketing of Homosexuality 138
10 Pleasure and the Failure of Privacy 158
11 The Gay Ghetto and the Creation of Culture 183
Conclusion: The World Turned Upside Down 226
Notes 250
Bibliography 271
Index 283
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