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Solitary Pleasures : The Historical, Literary and Artistic Discourses of Autoeroticism - Paula Bennett

Solitary Pleasures

The Historical, Literary and Artistic Discourses of Autoeroticism

By: Paula Bennett (Editor), Vernon Rosario (Editor)

Paperback Published: 11th September 1995
ISBN: 9780415911740
Number Of Pages: 296
For Ages: 18 years old

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"Solitary Pleasures" is the first anthology to address masturbation, exploring both the history and artistic representation of autoeroticism. Masturbation today enjoys a highly equivocal and contradictory status among cultural discourses relating to sexuality. On the one hand, it is the subject of much popular treatment, especially in sexual self-help books, advice columns, and in pop culture--for example, Madonna's "Like a Virgin" performance, a recent "Roseanne" episode, and David Russell's movie "Spanking the Monkey." On the other hand, masturbation is still a taboo subject for most people in everyday conversation. Perhaps more surprising, it has been largely dismissed by academics as a trivial, humorous topic and the "history of a delusion."
It was not until the eighteenth century that "onanism" was portrayed as a morbid act of epidemic proportions that produced pox, hair loss, blindness, insanity, impotence and a horrible. Its prevention and treatment warranted diverse and often cruel measures: surveillance, diets, drugs, corsets, electrical alarms, urethral cauterization, clitoridectomy, and labial sewing. This literature's apocalyptic warnings about the personal and social morbidity of "pollution-by-the-hand" are largely unknown to most people today, but the ghostly echoes of these admonitions still inform and preserve the present taboo of the subject.
Why did this apparently innocuous activity become so overpoweringly stigmatized? Why was the eradication of masturbation one of the most important goals of 19th century public hygiene? Why, even after the "sexual revolution," is masturbation still shrouded in shame?
"Solitary Pleasures" is the first anthology to take masturbation seriously, as seriously as did those who subjected people to unusual physical and mental torture to curtail the "vicious pleasures of solitude." The volume includes work by scholars in history, literary studies, art history and cultural studies analyzing representations of autoeroticism from the 16th century to the present. Essays study the role of masturbation and sexual fantasy in the production and consumption of film, poetry, art and the novel, and suggests links between auto-eroticism, imaginative production, and sexual orientation. "Solitary Pleasures" establishes masturbation and related issues of sexual fantasy and sexual autonomy as subjects of import for cultural history, psychology, women's studies and the history of literature and the arts.

Industry Reviews

..."a queer theory paean to masturbation... Joycelyn ELders would approve.." -"OUT "Obviously auteroticism deserves to finally be seriously examined in today's climate of sex-related danger, and that end is accomplished very well in this text.." -"Gay Chicago Magazine "The first anthology...that deals extensively with masturbation, "Solitary Pleasures keeps Routledge on the publishing cutting edge of contemporary avant garde social and cultural theory." -"The San Diego Review

Introduction: The Politics of Solitary Pleasuresp. 1
Autonomy as Deviance: Sixteenth-Century Images of Witches and Prostitutesp. 19
Playing with Herself: Feminine Sexuality and Aesthetic Indifferencep. 49
Forbidden Pleasures: Enlightenment Literature of Sexual Advicep. 75
Phantastical Pollutions: The Public Threat of Private Vice in Francep. 101
Jane Austen and the Masturbating Girlp. 133
The Social Evil, the Solitary Vice, and Pouring Teap. 155
"The Roots of the Orchis, the Iuli of Chestnuts": The Odor of Male Solitudep. 163
"Pomegranate-Flowers": The Phantasmic Productions of Late-Nineteenth-Century Anglo-American Woman Poetsp. 189
Fragments of a Poetics: Bonnetain and Rothp. 215
Can Robinson Crusoe Find True Happiness (Alone)?: Beyond the Genitals and History on the Island of Hopep. 233
Coming in Handy: The J/O Spectacle and the Gay Male Subject in Almodovarp. 251
Notes on Contributorsp. 277
Indexp. 281
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780415911740
ISBN-10: 0415911745
Audience: Professional
For Ages: 18 years old
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 296
Published: 11th September 1995
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 23.5 x 15.88  x 1.91
Weight (kg): 0.41
Edition Number: 1

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