Before Pornography: Erotic Writing in Early Modern England by Ian Frederick Moulton

By Ian Frederick Moulton

Before Pornography explores the connection among erotic writing, masculinity, and nationwide identification in Renaissance England. Drawing on either manuscripts and published texts, and incorporating insights from glossy feminist concept and queer experiences, the ebook argues that pornography is a old phenomenon: whereas the illustration of sexual intercourse exists in approximately all cultures, pornography doesn't. The booklet comprises analyses of the social importance of eroticism in such canonical texts as Sidney's Defense of Poesy and Spenser's Faerie Queene.

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Extra resources for Before Pornography: Erotic Writing in Early Modern England (Studies in the History of Sexuality)

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132). Now of course the word has a broader, sexualized, range of meaning and is often used in reference to things that are deemed impure or sexually indecent. " Adding to the ambiguity surrounding Marston's use of the term is the possibility that he was thinking not of "obscenus" but "ob scaena" (not to be staged). Thus while the distinction between wanton and obscene in "Pigmalion" is difficult to define precisely, it would seem to be that between the lewd and the repulsive. Lewd verse is acceptable, offensive verse must be avoided.

Is it harmful to read? Is one destined—like Pigmalion—to be corrupted by one's own erotic creations? The society that took such pleasure in Venus and Adonis and Hero and Leander was obsessed with these questions. Erotic Writing, Effeminacy, and National Identity To understand the social position and function of erotic writing in early modern English culture one must look at the whole range of that writing, the reactions it provoked, the attitudes it supported, the ideologies it promoted, the desires it aroused.

Pigmalion" was the centerpiece of Marston's first published collection of poems, The Metamorphosis ofPigmalions Image and Certaine Satyres (1598). This short volume was published anonymously, and the text is divided into two sections. The first contains the poem "Pigmalion," which is preceded by several prefatory pieces. " In this text Marston violently attacks his own "Pigmalion" for its reckless licentiousness, asking ironically, Hath not my Muse deserv'd a worthy place? Come come Luxurio, crowne my head with Bayes, Which like a Paphian, wantonly displayes The Salaminian titillations, Which tickle up our leud Priapians.

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