Pornography and Representation in Greece and Rome

By Amy Richlin | Go to book overview

INTRODUCTION

This collection of essays is unusual in its content, its method, its authors, and the way it came together. It is one of very few large-scale applications of feminist theory to Greco-Roman antiquity; in fact, by starting from feminist theory we named and collocated a set of ancient phenomena that would otherwise not have received attention together. Many articles here are the first on their subject or of their kind, and the authors likewise include new and radical voices. What we have done constitutes part of an ongoing transformation of our field; it also serves to bring our material to a new audience. Yet as feminists we vary considerably in our approach, both in the kinds of theory we use and in the stands we take on the embattled issue of pornography. Finally, to an extent unusual in Classics, we wrote this book together; a collective made up of the six original panelists read all the papers, and rewriting took place in the context of group discussion and with much pooling of bibliography and ideas. Whatever effect we will have on our field, the experience has certainly transformed us as a group.

We share the following assumptions. (1) Our work fits into the discipline that is coming to be known as cultural studies. It is a methodological axiom of this volume that text and social context are interrelated, and we all consider issues of audience and conditions of production. (2) With this axiom firmly in place, the application of feminist or other modern theories to ancient material is not inherently problematical. Feminist theoretical models of the pornographic not only help us to understand what is going on in some ancient texts, images, and behaviors but also correspond with explicit Greek and Roman self-analyses. Furthermore, since some of the texts discussed here continue to enjoy canonical status, an adequate the-

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Pornography and Representation in Greece and Rome
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • Contents ix
  • Introduction xi
  • Time Line of Events, Sources, and Persons Discussed xxiv
  • 1: Pornography and Persuasion on Attic Pottery 3
  • Notes 34
  • 2: Tragedy and the Politics of Containment 36
  • Notes 51
  • 3: Eros in Love: Pederasty and Pornography in Greece 53
  • Notes 72
  • 4: The Mute Nude Female Characters in Aristophanes' Plays 73
  • Notes 88
  • Appendix Texts Relating to the Writers of Sexual Handbooks 108
  • Notes 109
  • 6: The Body Female and the Body Politic: Livy's Lucretia and Verginia 112
  • Notes 129
  • 7: The Domestication of Desire: Ovid's Parva Tabella and the Theater of Love 131
  • Notes 155
  • Notes 158
  • Notes 178
  • Notes 179
  • 9: Death as Decoration: Scenes from the Arena on Roman Domestic Mosaics 180
  • Notes 208
  • 10: Callirhoe 212
  • 11: Sweet and Pleasant Passion: Female and Male Fantasy in Ancient Romance Novels 231
  • Notes 249
  • 12: The Edible Woman: Athenaeus's Concept of the Pornographic 250
  • Conclusion 266
  • Notes 269
  • Notes 269
  • Notes 283
  • Bibliography 285
  • Contributors 313
  • Index 315
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