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Other titles in the Sexual Cultures series:
Our Monica, Ourselves: The Clinton Affair and the National Interest (Sexual Cultures)by Lauren Berlant
Synopses & Reviews
At the Bottom of the Garden is a history of fairies from the ancient world to the present. Steeped in folklore and fantasy, it is a rich and diverse account of the part that fairies and fairy stories have played in culture and society.
The pretty pastel world of gauzy-winged things who grant wishes and make dreams come true—as brought to you by Disney's fairies flitting across a woodland glade, or Tinkerbells magic wand—is predated by a darker, denser world of gorgons, goblins, and gellos; the ancient antecedents of Shakespeare's mischievous Puck or J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan. For, as Diane Purkiss explains in this engrossing history, ancient fairies were born of fear: fear of the dark, of death, and of other great rites of passage, birth and sex. To understand the importance of these early fairies to pre-industrial peoples, we need to recover that sense of dread.
This book begins with the earliest manifestations of fairies in ancient civilizations of the Mediterranean. The child-killing demons and nymphs of these cultures are the joint ancestors of the medieval fairies of northern Europe, when fairy figures provided a bridge between the secular and the sacred. Fairies abducted babies and virgins, spirited away young men who were seduced by fairy queens and remained suspended in liminal states.
Tamed by Shakespeare's view of the spirit world, Victorian fairies fluttered across the theater stage and the pages of children's books to reappear a century later as detergent trade marks and alien abductors. In learning about these often strange and mysterious creatures, we learn something about ourselves—our fears and our desires.
A case study that provides a forum for thinking through the cultural, political and public policy issues surrounding the affair.
Alongside the O.J. Simpson trial, the affair between Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky now stands as the seminal cultural event of the 90s. Alternatively transfixed and repelled by this sexual scandal, confusion still reigns over its meanings and implications. How are we to make sense of a tale that is often wild and bizarre, yet replete with serious political and cultural implications?
Our Monica, Ourselves provides a forum for thinking through the cultural, political, and public policy issues raised by the investigation, publicity, and Congressional impeachment proceedings surrounding the affair. It pulls this spectacle out of the framework provided by the conventions of the corporate news media, with its particular notions of what constitutes a newsworthy event. Drawing from a broad range of scholars, Our Monica, Ourselves considers Monica Lewinsky's Jewishness, Linda Tripp's face, the President's penis, the role of shame in public discourse, and what it's like to have sex as the president, as well as specific legal and historical issues at stake in the impeachment of Bill Clinton.
Thoughtful but accessible, immediate yet far reaching, Our Monica, Ourselves will change the way we think about the Clinton affair, while helping us reimagine culture and politics writ large.
Contributors include: Lauren Berlant, Eric O. Clarke, Ann Cvetkovich, Simone Weil Davis, Lisa Duggan, Jane Gallop, Marjorie Garber, Janet R. Jakobsen, James R. Kincaid, Laura Kipnis, Tomasz Kitlinski, Pawel Leszkowicz, Joe Lockard, Catharine Lumby, Toby Miller, Dana D. Nelson, Anna Marie Smith, Ellen Willis, and Eli Zaretsky.
About the Author
Lauren Berlant is Professor of English and Director of the Center for Gender Studies at the University of Chicago. She is author of The Anatomy of National Fantasy and The Queen of America Goes to Washington City: Essays on Sex and Citizenship, and co-editor of the journal Critical Inquiry.
Lisa Duggan is associate professor of American Studies and History at New York University. She is co-author of Sex Wars: Sexual Dissent and Political Culture and author of Sapphic Slashers: Sex, Violence and American Modernity.
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