Pornography and Sexual Representation: A Reference Guide - Vol. 1

By Joseph W. Slade | Go to book overview

4
Bibliographies and Reference Tools

Any scholar knows to begin research with forays into standard indexes such as the Readers' Guide to Periodical Literature, Education Index, Humanities Index, Social Sciences Index, and Communication Abstracts. Those using this guide are also advised to look at chapter 7, Major Research Collections, which lists collections in archives and libraries. What follows are specialized sources. A word of caution: this chapter is intended not for the bibliophile fascinated by plates, bindings, typefaces, and publishing histories of often magnificent classics but for scholars trying to trace criticism. For that reason I have tried to identify the most accessible, rather than the most beautiful, editions. (Collectors may contact dealers like C. J. Scheiner, whose catalogs are listed later.) Even so, many of these works are rare and virtually unobtainable outside large research libraries. Included here are items with the most relevance to American erotica and pornography, a restriction that necessarily excludes extraordinary feats of scholarship on African, Oriental, and European subjects. Most of the classic bibliographies begin with lexicography or folklore and move on to literature, while later efforts deal with iconographic representations of more modern technologies. Many of the classic bibliographies are as much artistic as scholarly achievements and are justly prized as both.

Despite very real contributions to our understanding of sexual materials, the current debate over pornography, especially that enjoined by antiporn feminists, obscures the evolution of sexual representation. More to the point, it ignores the rich scholarship devoted to various genres. For most of its history, the production and distribution of erotica have been illegal activities, and historians and bibliographers have of necessity preferred the shadows themselves. It is probably no accident, for example, that H. Montgomery Hyde decided to write A History of Pornography (see chapter 16, Histories of Erotic Books), one of the first

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