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The Beautiful Boy [Hardcover]

Germaine Greer
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Rizzoli International Publications (Nov 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0847825868
  • ISBN-13: 978-0847825868
  • Product Dimensions: 28.8 x 22.2 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,634,481 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

The Boy Greer's simple thesis is that boys have always been the world's favourite pin-ups, but that we have repressed this knowledge and blinded ourselves to their charms, not least because of a confusion between art and pornography - and between delight and desire.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting 24 Mar 2009
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Interesting academically, but the cover picture is one of the best and belies the contents.
I have nothing else to add.
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Amazon.com: 3.4 out of 5 stars  19 reviews
22 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars They really are beautiful! 1 Oct 2005
By CC - Published on Amazon.com
The cover is misleading, but I, for one wasn't disappointed by the contents: paintings and sculpture, mostly, with a smattering of photos.

In the case of *this* book, one might read the text out of curiosity, but if you choose to, beware; Ms. Greer, as has been mentioned, likes to 'court controversy'. It may offend.

Politics aside, this is a gorgeous book for anyone who loves to look at boys. Adorable little boys with rosy cheeks, bigger boys just starting to mature, teenage boys in the gorgeous bloom of youth, and older boys on the verge of manhood. It is the *images* that are of the greatest value here. Not a bald head in sight. This book shows males in all their beauty (yes, beauty) and glory; a rare occurrence, yet a thing that has been done innumerable times in the case of women. Buy this gem of a collection and let them shine for you!
79 of 107 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Don't Judge a Book by it's Cover... 4 Mar 2004
By "specialvixen" - Published on Amazon.com
I buy a lot of photography books and was recommended this book by Amazon. It didn't have a lot of reviews at the time but I thought the cover image/design was interesting and expected a book that would have a lot of photos as well as some writings about the above mentioned subject.
Imagine my surprise when I'm flipping through the book and find it's mostly reproductions of old masters paintings with only a few dozen examples of photography at best. Germaine Greer (I'm not that familiar with her other writings) writes well and obviously has done her research, but I feel the cover is misleading as it makes you think it's a photography book when it's not. The modern photographic style and typography on the cover doesn't reflect the contents of the book accurately as she mostly writes about young males depicted in PAINTINGS. This feels more like a book you'd buy for an Art History class in College than a coffee table book (which was the impression I got.)
I'm not that horribly disappointed as I do like to read too and was pleasantly absorbed in the history and politics of "the female gaze", but don't buy it if you are expecting a photography book.
31 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Beautiful and Engrossing Book 10 Jan 2004
By Grady Harp - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
THE BEAUTIFUL BOY by noted writer, critic and feminist Germaine Greer is one of the more refreshing art volumes to grace the shelves in the past decade. Yes, this is a lavishly illustrated portfolio of paintings, drawings and photographs of boys before they become men, but the point of departure here is that Greer is examining a perception process among women paralleling the historic depiction of the beautiful boy. This, then, is an historic survey, but it is also a psychosocial treatise written with careful attention to detail, wry humor, and joyful discovery. This book deserves a very wide audience.
Setting the mood for her lovely thought process, Greer opens her introduction with these words: "Part of the purpose of this book is to advance women's reclamation of their capacity for and right to visual pleasure. The nineteenth century denied women any active interest in sex, which was only to be found in degenerate types. By the end of the twentieth century female appetite for sexual stimulus had been recognized and platoons of male strippers mobilized to take commercial advantage of it. That health appetite should now be refined by taste. If we but lift our eyes to the beautiful images of young men that stand all about us, there is a world of complex and civilized pleasure to be had. Delight in the boy can only be sharpened by the pathos and irony of his condition of becomingness. What we see in life is gone before we have had time to appreciate it. It is only in art that the compelling evanescent charm of boyhood can be preserved against the ravages of time."
Greer then proceeds to present her illustrated point of view of the prominence of the boy nude as the epitome of beauty, drawn from life long before the idealized female nudes were depicted from artists' imagination. She studies the sculpture and paintings of the Greeks, the paintings of the Baroque and Renaissance, the Romantic period, and the Contemporary art which now includes photography. In each period she manages to suffuse the images with her inimitable thoughts of the slow development of Feminisim in a way that every reader at last can understand. No preaching here, just a gradual unveiling of opportunites for women (and men alike) to really SEE the male body in that transient period between chubby child and muscular postpubescent man. She summarizes: "If, as I have argued, art is fundamentally narcissitic and elegiac, the female artist could only celebrate herself when young by painting and photographing younger women......When the body a woman artist is contemplating is so obviously not and never hers, because it is male, her approach is necessarily conflicted, even confrontational. Simple sensuality is able to function as a medium through which to see and celebrate the child but not, it seems, the man. The boy is the forgotten middle term. The boy Eros would bring the sexes to a reconciliation, if we would only acknowledge him."
Couple these words of wisdom with first class color reproduction and printing of art both familiar and unfamiliar and we have a book that should appeal to the entire art loving community - feminists, gay men, scholars, and students at all stages in creating art. THE BEAYTIFUL BOY is a beautiful book!
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Stunning as an Art Book 20 Dec 2006
By R. Windsor - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
If you purchase this book with the knowledge that it is not a book of photographs, but a stunning collection of artwork images throughout the ages, you will not be disappointed. Agree with Greer's text or not, the works presented are beautifully reproduced and there are many of them.

I would challenge the reviewer who claimed this is not a coffee table book. It is precisely that. Not just for it's imagery, but for the conversations it can lead to.

I am extremely pleased with this purchase.
8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, but not great. Beautiful, though! 2 May 2008
By Chris Swanson - Published on Amazon.com
Germaine Greer once wrote a book called The Female Eunuch. This time she goes a slightly different course and writes a book in praise of adolescent male beauty called, appropriately enough, "The Beautiful Boy". Those who know me will won't be surprised to hear that, although I haven't read "The Female Eunuch", I've read "The Beautiful Boy" and found it to be most interesting.

Greer's point through this book is that, throughout history, adolescent boys have been used as the ideal of beauty. She sites works by several major artists, particularly Caravaggio, in support of this theory and icnludes pictures of many of their better known paintings and sculptures. She even sites works where the subject is female, but the model was clearly a boy.

Overall the thrust of this seems to be that it's perfectly fine for older women (such as herself, I'm guessing), to lust after adolescent boys and view them through a sexual lens. I actually don't have much of a problem with this, which again won't surprise anyone who knows me. I do think it somewhat of an odd topic for her to be tackling, but that's ok.

The book itself is nicely put together, with several boys inside who are, well, nicely put together. The writing is clear and conscise, and the pictures inside are really easy on the eyes. It makes for a good coffee-table book if you're someone who doesn't care what visitors to your house think. It's a book for a niche audience (such as those who appreciate the works of Will McBride and Larry Clark), but if you're part of that audience, you'll probably enjoy it and find it worth the price. Otherwise, you'll probably want to wash your eyes after reading the book.
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