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Screening Sex (John Hope Franklin Center Books)by Linda Williams
Synopses & Reviews
For many years, kisses were the only sexual acts to be seen in mainstream American movies. Then, in the 1960s and 1970s, American cinema andldquo;grew upandrdquo; in response to the sexual revolution, and movie audiences came to expect more knowledge about what happened between the sheets. In Screening Sex, the renowned film scholar Linda Williams investigates how sex acts have been represented on screen for more than a century and, just as important, how we have watched and experienced those representations. Whether examining the arch artistry of Last Tango in Paris, the on-screen orgasms of Jane Fonda, or the anal sex of two cowboys in Brokeback Mountain, Williams illuminates the forms of pleasure and vicarious knowledge derived from screening sex.
Combining stories of her own coming of age as a moviegoer with film history, cultural history, and readings of significant films, Williams presents a fascinating history of the on-screen kiss, a look at the shift from adolescent kisses to more grown-up displays of sex, and a comparison of the andldquo;tastefulandrdquo; Hollywood sexual interlude with sexuality as represented in sexploitation, Blaxploitation, and avant-garde films. She considers Last Tango in Paris and Deep Throat, two 1972 films unapologetically all about sex; In the Realm of the Senses, the only work of 1970s international cinema that combined hard-core sex with erotic art; and the sexual provocations of the mainstream movies Blue Velvet and Brokeback Mountain. She describes art films since the 1990s, in which the sex is aggressive, loveless, or alienated. Finally, Williams reflects on the experience of screening sex on small screens at home rather than on large screens in public. By understanding screening sex as both revelation and concealment, Williams has written the definitive study of sex at the movies.
Linda Williams is Professor of Film Studies and Rhetoric at the University of California, Berkeley. Her books include Porn Studies, also published by Duke University Press; Playing the Race Card: Melodramas of Black and White from Uncle Tom to O. J. Simpson; Viewing Positions: Ways of Seeing Film; and Hard Core: Power, Pleasure, and the andldquo;Frenzy of the Visible.andrdquo;
A John Hope Franklin Center Book
6x9 trim size
library cloth edition, $89.95
library cloth edition, $89.95
Renowned film scholar Williams investigates how sex acts have been represented on screen for more than a century and, just as important, how movie goers have watched and experienced those representations. 129 illustrations.
Looks at the cinematic conventions for portraying sex acts from early representations of the kiss to more explicit depictions of sex in contemporary art films.
About the Author
“Screening Sex is a truly remarkable follow-up to Linda Williams’s groundbreaking book Hard Core. It reaffirms her place as the leading feminist scholar of the history and theory of on-screen sex. Not that it was ever in doubt.”— Jane Gaines, author of Fire and Desire: Mixed Race Movies in the Silent Era
“Linda Williams is a terrific storyteller about sex, and, as she tracks the growth of her own cinematically mediated sexual consciousness, we go to the movies with her, imagining as though for the first time new encounters with explicitness, new sexual knowledge, and new spectatorial sensations.”—Lauren Berlant, author of The Female Complaint: The Unfinished Business of Sentimentality in American Culture
“With Screening Sex, Linda Williams establishes herself as not only the preeminent scholar of cinematic eroticism, but also the most significant voice in cinema studies of her generation.”— Eric Schaefer, author of “Bold! Daring! Shocking! True!” A History of Exploitation Films, 1919–1958
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