In this fascinating book, Sander L. Gilman traces the history of how sexuality has been represented in Western civilization since the advent of Christianity. In so doing, he shows how these cultures define themselves and are shaped by their concepts of beauty and ugliness, masculinity and femininity, health and sickness, the sacred and profane. Gilman demonstrates how such concepts are elements in the greater tapestry of Western culture, through which run threads that have remained unbroken for nearly two millennia.
With the help of over three-hundred and twenty pictorial representations produced throughout the ages (most of them unavailable elsewhere), he provides a thorough, comparative look at the foundations and mechanisms of Western sexual constructs and their impact on every aspect of life. From the Middle Ages through current myth-making about AIDS, he draws on materials from medicine, anatomy, pathology, art, and literature to show how ideas of the body and the sexual are and have been portrayed.
Sexuality: An Illustrated History is a fascinating-and sometimes disturbing-contribution to the current discourse on sexual ethics and politics. It helps in defining sexuality and the understanding and portrayal of the body as a social and historical phenomenon while exposing the sources and mechanisms of cultures' most deep-seated prejudices.
Sander L. Gilman, PhD, is a distinguished professor of the Liberal Arts and Sciences as well as Professor of Psychiatry at Emory University. A respected educator, he has served as Old Dominion Visiting Professor of English at Princeton; Northrop Frye Visiting Professor of Comparative Literature at the University of Toronto; Mellon Visiting Professor of Humanities at Tulane University; Goldwin Smith Professor of Humane Studies at Cornell University; and Professor of the History of Psychiatry at Cornell Medical College. He has written and edited several books including The Face of Madness andSeeing the Insane.