Looking at Lovemaking: Constructions of Sexuality in Roman Art, 100 B.C.-A.D.250 Hardcover – 18 Mar 1998
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"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
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"Clarke teaches us to think about how this art was understood and felt by those who lived with it in their daily lives and he speculates that it might even reflect what the Romans actually did. This is the first genuinely contextual and theoretically informed study we have of a vast panoply of classical art about sex. It will be an illuminating book for classicists, historians, and anybody else who finds lovemaking interesting."Thomas Laqueur, author of "Making Sex"
"There are few scholars as able to take on this material, as well versed in theories of sexuality, and as comfortable dealing with both heterosexual and homoerotic content as Clarke. The topic is timely and the execution is professional."Natalie Kampen, Barnard College
"This book should attract not only classicists, but also scholars of sexuality in any field. Clarke succeeds both in introducing little-known material and in defamiliarizing the familiar examples of erotic art."Anthony Corbeill, University of Kansas
""Looking at Lovemaking" proves that the ancients were very different from you and methat they saw sex not primarily as procreation and never as sin but rather as sport, art, and pleasure, an activity full of humor, tenderness and above all variety. John R. Clarke, by looking at Roman artifacts from several centuries destined to be used by different social classes, reveals that the erotic "visual" record is far more varied, open-minded and playful than are "written" moral strictures, which were narrowly formulated by the elite and for the elite. This book is at once discreet and bolddiscreetly respectful of nuance and context, boldly clear in drawing the widest possible conclusions about the malleability of human behavior. Clarke has, with meticulous scholarship and a fresh approach, vindicated Foucault's revolutionary claims for the social construction of sexuality."Edmund White, author of "The Beautiful Room is Empty"" --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
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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