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Looking at Lovemaking: Constructions of Sexuality in Roman Art, 100 B.C.-A.D.250 Hardcover – 18 Mar 1998


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 406 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press; 1st Edition edition (18 Mar. 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520200241
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520200241
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 2.9 x 25.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 670,913 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

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Review

"Clarke's exegisis of wall paintings from the so-called Suburban Baths, a Roman unisex locker room, is worth the price of the book alone."--"Lingua Franca

About the Author

John R. Clarke is Annie Laurie Howard Regents Professor of Art History at the University of Texas at Austin. He is the author of "The Houses of Roman Italy: Ritual, Space, and Decoration" (California, 1991).

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First Sentence
Roman visual representations of lovemaking owe much to the abundant imagery of sex that was integral to Greek culture(s) from sixth century to the first century B.C. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Roman Clodia TOP 100 REVIEWER on 23 Jan. 2010
Format: Paperback
Clarke is an academic art critic known for his work on sexuality in Greek and Roman art. In this book he argues that the Romans were not just like us (despite what 'popular' historians, novelists and the BBC would have one think) and explores this difference through an analysis of Roman sexual culture and the visual images it produced.

By contextualising the erotic images he discusses, he explores the way sexual representations on cups, walls painting, mirrors, vases etc. are embedded within Roman social practices and are public indicators of culture, social status and luxury, rather than private objects as they might be for us.

For anyone who works on Latin literary texts, this is an ideal way for thinking about the interaction between the visual and material culture surrounding the poets who wrote erotic poetry, and makes some of the texts less cultural shocking, indeed, almost tame in comparison with some of the pictures that surrounded Romans in their daily lives.

Acutely pointing out that while sexual and erotic acts might stay the same, their meaning can be nuanced in different cultural contexts, Clarke adds nicely to the literature on sexuality and the erotic in Roman culture.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 6 reviews
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Clearly Argued, Captivating Book on an Unusual Topic 27 Jan. 2001
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Clarke's book provides very clear analysis of the purpose and nature of ancient Roman erotica. He uses a wide range of sources--literature, instructive manuals, precedent in Greek and Roman art, setting, etc.--to back up his arguments, which he presents in a lucid style that is as pleasurable to read as it is easy to follow. I particularly recommend the chapter on erotic art in public locations in Pompeii.
19 of 28 people found the following review helpful
Lavishly illustrated, unconvincingly argued 26 Sept. 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Clarke claims he is going to reach down from the Roman elite (which produced the literature) to the masses and to reveal a totally alien (to a presumably homogeneous "us") sexuality. The illustrations are plentiful and may be interpreted in many ways--so many and with so little evidence that any Romans saw any of the ways Clarke does that the reader is left to choose with no real guidance from the author. (And rather a lot of the images come from luxury objects so we remain in the world of representations for the upper stratum of Augustan Rome.)
Four Stars 12 Aug. 2014
By Norman D. Van Manen - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is a well written scholarly book. It helped me to understand that era and lovemaking in it.
6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Boobs and phalluses et al. 21 Mar. 2002
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Only one problem (I think): Clarke doesn't really follow up very well on his early-proposed problem, i.e. just how it is that textual representations of sex don't allow us the same latitude of insight into Roman practices as visual works might otherwise. Still, it might be argued that these thousand-word-speaking pictures do the talking for him, and if that's the case, then I'm fine with that. Get this, though. It's a very worthy study.
Four Stars 12 Oct. 2014
By Larry L Burks - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
A good read information a little dry
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