Bloomsbury Cultural History
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A Cultural History of Sexuality

6 Volumes

      Though many of the sexual practices of the Ancient Greeks and Romans are known and accepted today, the meanings the Ancients associated with these acts were often utterly different from our own. Both idea and practice also varied within antiquity, shaped by locale, history, social class, age, legal status, and gender. Focusing on the cultures of the Mediterranean from 800 BCE to 350 CE, A Cultural History of Sexuality in the Classical World covers sexual practices, feelings, and ideas from the time of Homer to the transformation of the Roman Empire.

      A Cultural History of Sexuality in the Classical World presents an overview of the period with essays on heterosexuality, homosexuality, sexual variations, religious and legal issues, health concerns, popular beliefs about sexuality, prostitution and erotica.

      Historians of sexuality have often assumed that medieval people were less interested in sex than we are. But people in the Middle Ages wrote a great deal about sex: in confessors’ manuals, in virginity treatises, and in literary texts. This volume looks afresh at the cultural meanings that sex had throughout the period, presenting new evidence and offering new interpretations of known material. Acknowledging that many of the categories that we use today to talk about sexuality are inadequate for understanding sex in premodern times, the volume draws on important recent work in the historiography of medieval sexuality to address the conceptual and methodological challenges the period presents.

      A Cultural History of Sexuality in the Middle Ages presents an overview of the period with essays on heterosexuality, homosexuality, sexual variations, religious and legal issues, health concerns, popular beliefs about sexuality, prostitution and erotica.

      Europe saw such revolutionary cultural change between 1450 and 1650 that those who witnessed the transformations conceived of the period as a time of rebirth. Ideas and practices around sexuality were transformed as much as any other aspect of society. Religious change, the growth of empires, educational development, social mobility, the theater and the printing press, and medical advances all radically reshaped sexuality in the West. Focusing on texts, images, and social practices, this volume examines the changing attitudes to sexuality during the Renaissance and the strategies used both to enforce and subvert public assumptions and standards.

      A Cultural History of Sexuality in the Renaissance presents an overview of the period with essays on heterosexuality, homosexuality, sexual variations, religious and legal issues, health concerns, popular beliefs about sexuality, prostitution and erotica.

      In the period between 1650 and 1820 new worlds of sex opened up. This was a pivotal time when old religious beliefs and medical theories about sexuality and the body clashed with innovatory ideas emerging from natural science and philosophy. In addition, a burgeoning print industry fed a rapidly expanding reading public with erotica. With the breakdown of old community networks and increased urbanization, authorities reacted to increased sexual license with a raft of new regulations designed to curtail variations in sexual behaviour.

      A Cultural History of Sexuality in the Enlightenment presents an overview of the period with essays on heterosexuality, homosexuality, sexual variations, religious and legal issues, health concerns, popular beliefs about sexuality, prostitution and erotica.

      A Cultural History of Sexuality in the Age of Empire

      Volume 5

      Editor(s):

      Chiara Beccalossi, Ivan Crozier

      The 19th Century saw intense urbanization, the development of a consumer culture, the formalization of gender roles, the solidification of class structures, and various encounters with the exotic customs of the colonies – all of which contributed to enhance sexual anxiety among the middle classes. In response, new social conventions, sanitary prescriptions, practices of self-control, and policies of sex regulation and education were developed as a means to control disorderly sexual behavior. At the same time, though an ideology based on sexual respectability was largely promoted throughout society, significant individuals and subcultures often challenged both the principle and the practice of such morality.

      A Cultural History of Sexuality in the Age of Empire presents an overview of the period with essays on heterosexuality, homosexuality, sexual variations, religious and legal issues, health concerns, popular beliefs about sexuality, prostitution and erotica.

      Sexual cultures have changed enormously in the 20th Century. We have greater sexual equality than ever before and homosexuality has shifted from being a crime, a sin, and a disease to an acknowledged and sometimes legally sanctioned variation. However, many sexual practices remain controversial, even demonized. The sexual revolution, psychoanalysis, changes in the law, medical advances, and the explosion of sexual imagery in the media have all contributed to a liberalization of sex. At the same time, Western cultures continue to think about sexuality as a desire shaped by nature, as of greater interest to men than women, as private, and as shaped by love.

      A Cultural History of Sexuality in the Modern Age presents an overview of the period with essays on heterosexuality, homosexuality, sexual variations, religious and legal issues, health concerns, popular beliefs about sexuality, prostitution and erotica.