The Greeks And Greek Love: A Radical Reappraisal of Homosexuality In Ancient Greece

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9780297819974: The Greeks And Greek Love: A Radical Reappraisal of Homosexuality In Ancient Greece

Though the issue of Greek homosexuality has been the subject of extensive research and debate in recent years, Kenneth Dover's 1978 GREEK HOMOSEXUALITY remains the most recent single-volume treatment of the subject as a whole. Drawing on fifteen years of ensuing research, James Davidson rejects Dover's excessively theoretical approach, using a wide variety of sources unknown to him - court cases, romantic novels, satirical plays and poems - to present a view of the subject that, in contrast to Dover and to Foucault, stresses the humanity of the ancient Greeks, and how they lived their loves and pleasures, rather than their moral codes and the theorising of philosophers. Homosexuality in Ancient Greece remains a central area of debate in the classics, in ancient history and lesbian and gay studies. Greek civilisation centrally underpins our own, providing a basis of so much of the west's culture and philosophy, yet the Greeks were more tolerant of homosexuality than virtually any other culture, certainly than the western civilisations that followed. The extent to which Greek attitudes to sexuality and in particular their privileging of 'Greek Love' were comparable and different to our own underlies the continuing debate over the formation of sexuality (is it natural or cultural?) as well as, both then and in our own time, the much wider question of the roles of nature and nurture in the formation of human behaviour and personality.

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About the Author:

JAMES DAVIDSON is Reader in Ancient History at the University of Warwick. He has written on a wide range of ancient topics, including the historiography of Roman imperialism, prostitution, drinking to get drunk, sacred time and fish. He is the author of Courtesans and Fishcakes: The Consuming Passions of Classical Athens (1997), and is a irregular contributor to The London Review of Books among other journals.

Review:

'By turns lyrical, analytic and militant, this is a magnificently personal and self-reflexive book...' -- Catharine Edwards, TLS

'James Davidson's revisionist account emerges with winning charm from the bloodshed... a landmark in gay studies' -- Tom Cameron, TIME OUT

'Massively informed and informative ... vital and outstanding study.' -- THE SPECTATOR

'a highly erudite work of social and cultural history, astonishingly wide-ranging... an extraordinary achievement, ranging far and wide... unpredictable and lateral-thinking... superb...' -- Oliver Taplin, THE GUARDIAN

'a long haul over strange terrain, spiky with fragments and pulsating with beautiful ghosts... massive work of research, reflection and surprise' -- DAILY TELEGRAPH

'a picture of sexuality among the ancient Greeks which is both familiar in some respects and radically new... with witty diversions... quite an achievement' -- Joan Smith, THE INDEPENDENT

'an impressive study stuffed with juicy tidbits and meaty detail' -- BOYZ

'fascinating, funny, decidedly comprehensive... entertaining and discursive' -- GAY COMMUNITY NEWS

'provocative and enthralling... fascinating and perplexing.' -- QX INTERNATIONAL

'will be read by many people, and I predict a riot... real brilliance, and it is written throughout with flair and passion' -- Simon Goldhill, THES

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Davidson, James
Published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson (2007)
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Published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson (2006)
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