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Aesthetic Sexuality : a Literary History of Sadomasochism

Author: Romana Byrne
Publisher: New York : Bloomsbury, 2013.
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
"To understand why the concept of aesthetic sexuality is important, we must consider the influence of the first volume of Foucault's seminal The History of Sexuality. Arguing against Foucault's assertions that only scientia sexualis has operated in modern Western culture while ars erotica belongs to Eastern and ancient societies, Byrne suggests that modern Western culture has indeed witnessed a form of ars erotica,  Read more...
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Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Romana Byrne
ISBN: 9781441100818 1441100814
OCLC Number: 857535669
Description: 192 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Contents: Universal perversion and the laws of judgment : the Marquis de Sade --
Brutal beauty : Swinburne's Poems and Ballads and Mirbeau's Le Jardin des supplices --
Tragic self-shattering I : Nietzsche's aesthetics --
Tragic self-shattering II : delirious materialism in Bataille's L'Erotisme and Histoire de l'œil --
Tragic self-shattering III : mortifying metaphysics in Réage's Histoire d'O and Berg's L'image --
Sadomasochism as anti-aesthetic theatre --
Conclusion : Fashioning BDSM today.
Responsibility: Romana Byrne.

Abstract:

"To understand why the concept of aesthetic sexuality is important, we must consider the influence of the first volume of Foucault's seminal The History of Sexuality. Arguing against Foucault's assertions that only scientia sexualis has operated in modern Western culture while ars erotica belongs to Eastern and ancient societies, Byrne suggests that modern Western culture has indeed witnessed a form of ars erotica, encompassed in what she calls 'aesthetic sexuality'. To argue for the existence of aesthetic sexuality, Byrne examines mainly works of literature to show how, within these texts, sexual practice and pleasure are constructed as having aesthetic value, a quality that marks these experiences as forms of art. In aesthetic sexuality, value and meaning are located within sexual practice and pleasure rather than in their underlying cause; sexuality's raison d'etre is tied to its aesthetic value, at surface level rather than beneath it. Aesthetic sexuality, Byrne shows, is a product of choice, a deliberate strategy of self-creation as well as a mode of social communication"--

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Romana Byrne's philosophical, historical, and literary reflections on 'aesthetic sexuality', or pleasure as a form of self- and other-creation, provides us with a radical alternative approach to Read more...

 
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