Art Sex and Eugenics
This book reveals how art and sex promoted the desire for the genetically perfect body. Its eight chapters demonstrate that before eugenics was stigmatized by the Holocaust and Western histories were sanitized of its prevalence, a vast array of Western politicians, physicians, eugenic societies, family leagues, health associations, laboratories and museums advocated, through verbal and visual cultures, the breeding of 'the master race'. Each chapter illustrates the uncanny resemblances between models of sexual management and the perfect eugenic body in America, Britain, France, Communist Russia and Nazi Germany both before and after the Second World War. Traced back to the eighteenth-century anatomy lesson, the perfect eugenic body is revealed as athletic, hygienic, 'pure-blooded' and sexually potent. This paradigm is shown to have persisted as much during the Bolshevik sexual revolution, as in democratic nations and fascist regimes. Consistently posed naked, these images were unashamedly exhibitionist and voyeuristic. Despite stringent legislation against obscenity, not only were these images commended for soliciting the spectator's gaze but also for motivating the spectator to act out their desire. An examination of the counter-archives of Maori and African Americans also exposes how biologically racist eugenics could be equally challenged by art. Ultimately this book establishes that art inculcated procreative sex with the Corpus Delecti - the delectable body, healthy, wholesome and sanctioned by eugenicists for improving the Western race.
Confronting Modernity in Fin de Si cle France
The turn of the twentieth century represented a crossroads in the French experience of modernization, especially in regard to ideas about gender and sexuality. Drawing together prominent scholars in French gender history, this volume explores how historians have come to view this period in light of new theoretical developments since the 1980s.
An unprecedented examination of the ways in which the uninhibited urban sexuality, sexual experimentation, and medical advances of pre-Weimar Berlin created and molded our modern understanding of sexual orientation and gay identity. Known already in the 1850s for the friendly company of its “warm brothers” (German slang for men who love other men), Berlin, before the turn of the twentieth century, became a place where scholars, activists, and medical professionals could explore and begin to educate both themselves and Europe about new and emerging sexual identities. From Karl Heinrich Ulrichs, a German activist described by some as the first openly gay man, to the world of Berlin’s vast homosexual subcultures, to a major sex scandal that enraptured the daily newspapers and shook the court of Emperor William II—and on through some of the very first sex reassignment surgeries—Robert Beachy uncovers the long-forgotten events and characters that continue to shape and influence the way we think of sexuality today. Chapter by chapter Beachy’s scholarship illuminates forgotten firsts, including the life and work of Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld, first to claim (in 1896) that same-sex desire is an immutable, biologically determined characteristic, and founder of the Institute for Sexual Science. Though raided and closed down by the Nazis in 1933, the institute served as, among other things, “a veritable incubator for the science of tran-sexuality,” scene of one of the world’s first sex reassignment surgeries. Fascinating, surprising, and informative—Gay Berlin is certain to be counted as a foundational cultural examination of human sexuality. From the Hardcover edition.
Dirt for Art s Sake
In Dirt for Art's Sake, Elisabeth Ladenson recounts the most visible of modern obscenity trials involving scandalous books and their authors. What, she asks, do these often-colorful legal histories have to tell us about the works themselves and about a changing cultural climate that first treated them as filth and later celebrated them as masterpieces? Ladenson's narrative starts with Madame Bovary (Flaubert was tried in France in 1857) and finishes with Fanny Hill (written in the eighteenth century, put on trial in the United States in 1966); she considers, along the way, Les Fleurs du Mal, Ulysses, The Well of Loneliness, Lady Chatterley's Lover, Tropic of Cancer, Lolita, and the works of the Marquis de Sade. Over the course of roughly a century, Ladenson finds, two ideas that had been circulating in the form of avant-garde heresy gradually became accepted as truisms, and eventually as grounds for legal defense. The first is captured in the formula "art for art's sake"-the notion that a work of art exists in a realm independent of conventional morality. The second is realism, vilified by its critics as "dirt for dirt's sake." In Ladenson's view, the truth of the matter is closer to -dirt for art's sake-"the idea that the work of art may legitimately include the representation of all aspects of life, including the unpleasant and the sordid. Ladenson also considers cinematic adaptations of these novels, among them Vincente Minnelli's Madame Bovary, Stanley Kubrick's Lolita and the 1997 remake directed by Adrian Lyne, and various attempts to translate de Sade's works and life into film, which faced similar censorship travails. Written with a keen awareness of ongoing debates about free speech, Dirt for Art's Sake traces the legal and social acceptance of controversial works with critical acumen and delightful wit.
L enfer de la IIIe r publique
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The dissertation analyzes the projects of popular theater devised by the republican governments and assemblies, 1878 to 1893, in order to understand the conflicted point of view of republicans with regard to the democratization of art. In the 1880s, the four state-subsidized theaters (the Opéra, the Opéra-Comique, the Comédie-Française, and the Odéon) had a very select audience. Yet, republicans were divided on the issue of its diversification. On the one hand, the purportedly inferior moral capacities of the popular public made dramatic performances hazardous without a prior education of its will. On the other hand, it was fair to let people who paid for the upkeep of state-subsidized theaters access these institutions and to fulfill the wish of a significant part of the population to acquaint themselves with high-brow culture. The successive projects of popular theater represent the various solutions imagined by republican governments to reconcile two contradictory impulses, democratization and discrimination. They show how a culture of prejudices, inherited from previous regimes, progressively came to terms with a new conception of justice, more respectful of individuals' autonomy and sovereignty. At the end of the 1870s, the minister of public instruction and fine arts Agénor Bardoux denied that the state had any responsibility to democratize art. He variously argued that democratization happened spontaneously or that the artistic mission of the state did not include the dissemination of works. Jules Ferry believed that the state owed a theater to the lower classes, but, convinced that lower classes were inferior in their aptitudes, he imagined a popular lyric theater that would be the pale copy of the Opéra. Finally, Léon Bourgeois accepted the director of the Opéra's proposition that the institution should organize reduced-price performances. Bourgeois thought it more conducive to social peace to promote a common culture than to cultivate separate class identities. In his mind, the difference between the people and the elite should consist in their respective degrees of exposure to high-brow culture. The study of theatrical democratization in the 1880s shows that French republicans abided by two principles of government. One, which reflected the republicans' universalist credo, advocated the equal treatment of individuals by virtue of their equal rights. The other, inspired by utilitarian tenets, defended the differentiated treatment of individuals on the grounds of their unequal aptitudes. This dissertation argues that the ambiguity of the notion of merit in the republicans' discourse (did it lie in the essence of a social group or was it the result of individuals' actions?) informed a tension between the desire to extend liberties and democratize elite practices, on the one hand, and the perceived necessity to control activities and discriminate against the people, on the other.
Bad Books reconstructs how the eighteenth-century French author Nicolas-Edme Retif de la Bretonne and his writings were at the forefront of the development of modern conceptions of sexuality and pornography. Although certain details are well known (for example, that Retif s 1769 treatise on prostitution, Le Pornographe, is the work from which the term pornography is derived, or that he was an avid foot and shoe fetishist), much of this story has been obscured and even forgotten including how the author actively worked to define the category of obscenity and the modern pornographic genre, and how he coined the psycho-sexual term fetish and played a central role in the formation of theories of sexual fetishism in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Thus this book is also about literary history and how it is written: it explores how Retif, perceived as a bad author in both senses of the term, and his contributions were glossed over or condemned, such that the originality of his texts has still not been fully established. Placing Retif s novels and short stories in dialogue with his autobiographical writings as well as with contemporary and modern critical commentaries, the various chapters of the book examine the author s repeated testing of the limits of censorship to define and redefine the boundaries of obscenity; his advancement of the modern form and definition of pornography through a focus on intimacy and (female) pleasure; his detailed narrative explorations of foot and shoe fetishisms that were later appropriated by the sexologists; and his development of theories of eugenics and reproduction in his utopian science fiction. The history of Retif s texts and their reception reveals an evolution in the criteria of what is considered to be good or worthy literature a category once defined purely on moral grounds that is increasingly seen in cultural terms. Bad Books corroborates the recent resurgence of interest in the author by showing the import of his texts, which not only designate a number of firsts in the histories of sexuality and pornography, but which also illuminate some of the defining moments in the history of French literary studies."
From the 19th century onwards, famous literary trials have caught the attention of readers, academics and the public at large. Indeed it is striking that more often than not, it was the texts of renowned writers that were dealt with by the courts, as for example Gustave Flaubert's Madame Bovary and Charles Baudelaire's Les Fleurs du Mal in France, James Joyce's Ulysses and Henry Miller's Tropic of Cancer in the US, D.H. Lawrence's Lady Chatterley's Lover in Great-Britain, up to the more recent trials on Klaus Mann's Mephisto and Maxim Biller's novel Esra in Germany. By bringing together international leading experts, Literary Trials represents the first step towards a systematic discussion of literary trials on a global scale. Beginning by first reassessing some of the most famous of these trials, it also analyses less well-known but significant literary trials. Special attention is paid to recent developments in the relationship between literature and judicature, pointing towards an increasing role for libel and defamation in the societal demarcation of what literature is, and is not, allowed to do.
"Street Noises combines the diverse materials of mass culture with literary and archival sources, to produce an innovative and critical re-reading of twentieth-century Paris as the city of the people and of cultural modernity." "It concentrates on popular song and opera, cultural theory and records of police surveillance (such as the unpublished archives concerning the sexual mores of sailors in Toulon), sensational weekly magazines (including the weekly Detective Magazine with its remarkable photomontage) and writers of the Academie Goncourt. The author picks out their common realisation of the experience of the city, also showing how the faits divers and the entertainment industries frame the writing of a Benjamin, a Colette or a Genet. Rifkin re-works modern critical theory through these sources, reflecting on its relation to the production of mass cultures."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved
First published in 2002. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa company.