Pornography and Representation in Greece and Rome

By Amy Richlin | Go to book overview

See the episode in Story of O discussed in Silverman 1984: 341; de Lauretis 1984: 150.
The position I have adopted here follows Haraway 1985 but speaks with the voices of many others, including E. Kaplan 1983, Kappeler 1986, de Lauretis 1984, Rubin 1984, Silverman 1984. The positions being critiqued are those of the antipornography movement and anyone else who ignores her or his own patriarchal origins.
This position is especially well articulated by Haraway 1985. It is also implied in the analyses of Carse 1986 and de Lauretis 1986 and resembles the positions of Cixous 1986 and Irigaray 1985. By theorizing a genderless subject, I do not mean to imply that our political projects as men and women are identical or even similar. As Nancy Miller argues ( 1986), the postmodemist dislocation and dispersal of the author does not work for women because we have been "juridically excluded from the polis, and hence decentered, 'disoriginated,' deinstitutionalized, etc. [and as a consequence our] relation to integrity and textuality, desire and authority is structurally different from men's."
I am using these terms in their lay sense. The term sadistic is intended to describe anyone who derives pleasure in and from the degradation of others; masochistic alternatively describes those who derive pleasure from (and through their guilt facilitate) their own degradation.
My reading here is a fictionalized rereading of the cyborg manifesto ( Haraway 1985).
De Lauretis 1984: 133; while the primary signification of these words in her account is somewhat different (in its immediate focus on the ways "fucking" does not work for men), the conclusions she draws (that it is and is not working for us) are the same.
As Haraway (also) observes ( 1985: 75), "White women, including socialist feminists, discovered . . . the non-innocence of the category 'woman.' That consciousness changes the geography of all previous categories. . . . In the fraying of identities and in the reflexive strategies for constructing them, the possibility opens for weaving something other than a shroud for the day after the apocalypse that so prophetically ends salvation history."
Voice 3 owes much to the writings of Donna Haraway and Teresa de Lauretis. I have named her Diotima to counter the erotic tales about love attributed by Plato to the Diotima he invents.
Voice I speaks for herself. However, she sounds like Lacan, Kaja Silverman (esp. Silverman 1984), and anyone else who, like them, situates our subjectivity within the parameters of the "grammar," "morphology," and "syntax" of (male-produced) language and representation. Voice I also speaks from within the male-produced fictions of and about Aspasia. Because of her epistemological "faith" in the power of discourse to define and delimit our subject status, I have (to some extent) written her as she has been read by Aristophanes ( Ach.515-29), Plato ( Menex.235e), Aristotle ( Ath. Pol. 26.4), Plutarch ( Per. 24.6, 25.1, 37.5), Xenophon ( Mem. 2.6.36; Oec. 3.14), Eupolis (frg. 274 K), and others.
This line, from Pericles' Funeral Oration ( Thucydides 2.45.2), was attributed to Aspasia by Socrates in Plato ( Menex.236b).
See Zeitlin 1986.
" Aspasia's" foreign birth, status, beauty, and seductive charm figure in most of the male-produced accounts of her--including Aristophanes ( Ach.515-29), Plato ( Menex. 235e), Athenaeus ( Deip. 13.589d), Plutarch ( Per. 24.6).
Others have illustrated how tragic discourse and the spectacles it effected served the Athenian male state; thus, as Winkler observes ( 1985b), the tragic gaze is male, as is the self at stake ( Zeitlin 1985a: 66).
See Eum., especially lines 734-43, where she becomes the mouthpiece for 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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