Vice Versa: Bisexuality, Eroticism and the Ambivalence of Culture

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9780140230970: Vice Versa: Bisexuality, Eroticism and the Ambivalence of Culture

A study of bisexuality as an erotic, social and cultural phenomenon, integrating sociological and psychological insights with a close analysis of literature, film and popular culture.

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Despite the flood of sexuality theory and queer cultural studies in 20th-century academia, bisexuality--and the many questions and problems surrounding it--have been little considered. In Vice Versa, Marjorie Garber, director of the Centre for Literary and Cultural Studies at Harvard University, takes on this enormous project with refreshing academic rigor and compelling enthusiasm. Covering cultural influences from antiquity through early psychoanalysis to such recent provocateurs as Geraldo Rivera and Susie Bright, Garber calls into question the basic underpinnings of even the most radical views of human sexuality. She suggests that bisexuality is "not just another sexual orientation but rather a sexuality that undoes sexual orientation as a category," and leads us through the ensuing ruckus with wit and grace.

Vice Versa offers personal accounts, clinical studies, and analysis from every possible camp to demonstrate Garber's thesis that bisexuality as an idea and an experience "disappears" or is erased from our discussions of sexuality at every turn through the normalising (not to mention limiting) influence of the terms of the discussion itself. Her call to recognise bisexuality as not only valid, but deeply transgressive--and therefore useful--in our culture, is urgent and marked by a great affection for her subjects, from Freud to Madonna. "One of the key purposes of studying bisexuality is not to get people to 'admit' they 'are' bisexual," she says, "but rather to restore to them and the people they have loved the full, complex, and often contradictory stories of their lives." --Jessica Peterson, Amazon.com

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