Synopses & Reviews
Amid the national shame and subjugation following World War I in France, cultural critics therejournalists, novelists, doctors, and legislators, among othersworked to rehabilitate what was perceived as an unhealthy social body. Carolyn J. Dean shows how these critics attempted to reconstruct the bodily integrity” of the nation by pointing to the dangers of homosexuality and pornography. Dean's provocative work demonstrates the importance of this concept of bodily integrity in France and shows how it was ultimately used to define first-class citizenship.
Dean presents fresh historical materialincluding novels and medical treatisesto show how fantasies about the body-violating qualities of homosexuality and pornography informed social perceptions and political action. Although she focuses on the period from 1890 to 1945, Dean also establishes the relevance of these ideas to current preoccupations with pornography and sexuality in the United States.
This innovative and important work demonstrates the growing importance of homosexuality and pornography in the Western concept of bodily integrity from the 1880s to World War II. It is a wise think piece about uncharted historical terrainthe most desirable kind of scholarship.”Bonnie G. Smith, author of The Gender of History: Men, Women, and Historical Practice
In this fascinating book, Carolyn Dean forces us to rethink many of our basic assumptions about pornography, homosexuality, and sexual rights. She brings together a vast repertoire of sources and places these eclectic materials at the very center of contemporary debates over the relationship between sexuality and society.”Bryant T. Ragan, coeditor of Homosexuality in Modern France
Includes bibliographical references (p. -251) and index.
About the Author
Carolyn J. Dean is Professor of History at Brown University and author of The Self and Its Pleasures: Bataille, Lacan, and the History of the Decentered Subject (1992) and Sexuality and Modern Western Culture (1996).