Before Sexuality: The Construction of Erotic Experience in the Ancient Greek World

Before Sexuality: The Construction of Erotic Experience in the Ancient Greek World

Pub. Date:
Princeton University Press

Hardcover - Rent for

Select a Purchase Option
  • purchase options

Temporarily Out of Stock Online


Before Sexuality: The Construction of Erotic Experience in the Ancient Greek World

A dream in which a man has sex with his mother may promise him political or commercial success--according to dream interpreters of late antiquity, who, unlike modern Western analysts, would not necessarily have drawn conclusions from the dream about the dreamer's sexual psychology. Evidence of such shifts in perspective is leading scholars to reconsider in a variety of creative ways the history of sexuality. In these fifteen original essays, eminent cultural historians and classicists not only discuss sex, but demonstrate how norms, practices, and even the very definitions of what counts as sexual activity have varied significantly over time. Ancient Greece offers abundant evidence for a radically different set of sexual standards and behaviors from ours. Sex in ancient Hellenic culture assumed a variety of social and political meanings, whereas the modern development of a sex-centered model of personality now leads us to view sex as the key to understanding the individual. Drawing on both the Anglo-American tradition of cultural anthropology and the French tradition of les sciences humaines, these essays explore the iconography, politics, ethics, poetry, and medical practices that made sex in ancient Greece not a paradise of liberation but an exotic locale hardly recognizable to visitors from the modern world. In addition to the editors, the contributors to this volume are Peter Brown, Anne Carson, Franoise Frontisi-Ducroux, Maud W. Gleason, Ann Ellis Hanson, Franois Lissarrague, Nicole Loraux, Maurice Olender, S.R.F. Price, James Redfield, Giulia Sissa, and Jean-Pierre Vernant.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780691035383
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication date: 04/10/1990
Pages: 552
Product dimensions: 6.50(w) x 1.50(h) x 9.50(d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrationsvii
List of Abbreviationsxvii
1.Herakles: The Super-Male and the Feminine21
2.The Sexual Life of Satyrs53
3.Aspects of Baubo: Ancient Texts and Contexts83
4.From Sex to Politics: The Rites of Artemis Triklaria and Dionysos Aisymnetes at Patras115
5.Putting Her in Her Place: Woman, Dirt, and Desire135
6.Laying Down the Law: The Oversight of Men's Sexual Behavior in Classical Athens171
7.From Ambiguity to Ambivalence: A Dionysiac Excursion through the "Anakreontic" Vases211
8.Why Is Diotima a Woman? Platonic Eros and the Figuration of Gender257
9.The Medical Writers' Woman309
10.Maidenhood without Maidenhead: The Female Body in Ancient Greece339
11.The Future of Dreams: From Freud to Artemidoros365
12.The Semiotics of Gender: Physiognomy and Self-Fashioning in the Second Century C.E.389
13.The Poetics of Eros: Nature, Art, and Imitation in Longus' Daphnis and Chloe417
14.One ... Two ... Three: Eros465
15.Bodies and Minds: Sexuality and Renunciation in Early Christianity479
Notes on Contributors495
Index of Passages Discussed499
General Index511

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews