Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index


  • Record Number: 4471
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  • Title: Reading the Dirty Bits [discusses the kinds of evidence available for the practice of finding sexual pleasure in a literary text ; also considers the ways in which modern literary criticism has addressed this habit of erotic reading].
  • Source: Desire and Discipline: Sex and Sexuality in the Premodern West.  Edited by Jacqueline Murray and Konrad Eisenbichler.  University of Toronto Press, 1996.  Pages 280 - 295.
  • Description:
  • Article Type: Essay
  • Subject (See Also): Literature- History and Criticism Literature- Verse Pornography Privacy Readers Sexuality in Literature
  • Geographic Area: General
  • Century: 14- 15
  • Related Resources: "Andrew Taylor is even more bold, in "Reading the Dirty Bits" and discussing the connection between, to put it bluntly, reading and jacking off. I think he opens a subject which few medievalists or other humanists a few years ago would have dared to write about for an academic public. He asks whether we have become hardened to pornography because it is now "an electronic commodity". The presence of internet and video pornography today make it difficult or impossible for us to understand how it was for medieval clerics and bourgeois women who could find in a single verbal image something that would not leave their minds. Here again Gerson, as well as Christine de Pizan, in their fervid participation on the debate about the Romance of the Rose, come to mind as medieval people who can deepen such a discussion." From the review written by Brian McGuire of "Desire and Discipline: Sex and Sexuality in the Premodern West," "Medieval Review" (TMR ID: 96.12.11). [Reproduced by permission of the "Medieval Review."].
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  • Year of Publication: 1996.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN/ISBN: 0802007805
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