Sexual Anarchy: Gender and Culture at the Fin de Siecle

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9780140115871: Sexual Anarchy: Gender and Culture at the Fin de Siecle

An exploration of the paralells between the ends of the 19th and 20th centuries and their representations in art, literature and film, this book asks whether the approaching millenium signals a beginning or points grimly to an end, and whether the ends of centuries are merely imaginery borderlines in time, or cycles, such as the crises of the "fin de siecle" and the sense of ending so ominously present in the works of contemporary writers and artists. The novelist George Gissing remarked that the 1880s and 1890s were decades of sexual anarchy, when the notions of gender that governed sexual identity and behaviour were being constantly eroded. It was a time when the words "feminism" and "homosexuality" came into use, redefining accepted ideas of masculine and feminine, and a time when the "emancipated woman" was viewed as a threat to family stability. That was nearly 100 years ago, and in this book the author points out the similarity between that time and this time. The sexual abuse of children and the increasing frequency of rape; the censoring of art and the banning of pornography; anti-abortion campaigns and the AIDs epidemic - these late-20th-century crises are, the author suggests, comparable to their "fin de siecle" counterparts. Elaine Showalter is also the author of "A Literature of Their Own: Women Writers from Bronte to Lessing" and "The Female Malady: Women, Madness, and English Culture, 1830 - 1980".

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About the Author:

Elaine Showalter was born in Cambridge, Mass in 1941 and was educated at Bryn Mawr College and the University of California. From 1967 to 1984 she taught at English and Women's Studies at Rutger's University and is now Professor of English at Princeton University.

From Library Journal:

A history of the sexes and the crises, themes, and problems associated with the battle for sexual supremacy and identity, this work draws striking cultural parallels between the end of the 19th century and the end of the 20th century. Showalter explores the history and attitudes toward homosexuality, unmarried men and women, the concepts of masculinity and femininity, sexual fears and fantasies, sexual surgery, and sexual epidemics as represented in psychological, medical, and literary texts, visual art, and film. Fascinating and provocative, this book reflects the realities of history repeating itself and the impact of gender crisis on culture.
- Jeris Cassel, Rutgers Univ. Libs., New Brunswick, N.J.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Showalter, Elaine
Published by Penguin Books (1991)
ISBN 10: 0140115870 ISBN 13: 9780140115871
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Elaine Showalter
Published by Penguin Books (1991)
ISBN 10: 0140115870 ISBN 13: 9780140115871
New Paperback Quantity Available: 1
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Ergodebooks
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