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    Sexual Ambivalence: Androgyny and Hermaphroditism in Graeco-Roman Antiquity (Paperback) By (author) Luc Brisson, Translated by Janet Lloyd

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    DescriptionThis fascinating book collects and translates most of the extant written Graeco-Roman material on human beings, divinities, animals, and other creatures who were said to have been both female and male. Luc Brisson provides a commentary that situates this rich source material within its historical and intellectual contexts. These selections--from mythological, philosophical, historical, and anecdotal sources--describe cases of either simultaneous dual sexuality, as in androgyny and in hermaphroditism, or successive dual sexuality, as in the case of Tiresias (the blind Theban prophet), which are found through the whole span of Graeco-Roman antiquity. Sexual Ambivalence is an invaluable sourcebook that gathers this suggestive, yet hard to find, material in one convenient place. This book presents some very obscure but wonderfully strange material. There is the ghost story about a father who returns from the dead to devour his dual-sexed son in the public square, leaving behind only the head, which proceeds to deliver a prophecy from its position on the ground. In addition to including such familiar sources as the myths of Salmacis and Hermaphroditus as told in Ovid's Metamorphoses and Aristophanes' myth of the origins of the sexes and sexuality in Plato's Symposium, Brisson also discusses cosmogonic mythology in Hesiodic poetry, the Orphic Rhapsodies, Gnosticism, the Hermetic Corpus, and the so-called Chaldean Oracles. He presents the manifold variants of the myth of Tiresias, as well as many other sources. Brisson quotes this material at length and discusses its significance in Graeco-Roman myth and philosophy. These ancient stories open a window onto a world without the sexual oppositions of male and female, a paradise of unity and self-containment, as well as onto the peculiar world of go-betweens like the prophet Tiresias. They deepen our awareness of the extent to which the polarity of sexuality colors our entire perception of the world, as it did in antiquity, and as it does for us now. This provocative material is profoundly relevant to our thinking today.

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  • Full bibliographic data for Sexual Ambivalence

    Sexual Ambivalence
    Androgyny and Hermaphroditism in Graeco-Roman Antiquity
    Authors and contributors
    By (author) Luc Brisson, Translated by Janet Lloyd
    Physical properties
    Format: Paperback
    Number of pages: 209
    Width: 140 mm
    Height: 210 mm
    Thickness: 16 mm
    Weight: 40 g
    ISBN 13: 9780520223912
    ISBN 10: 0520223918

    Nielsen BookScan Product Class 3: T3.7
    B&T Book Type: NF
    BIC E4L: LIT
    LC subject heading:
    BIC geographical qualifier V2: 1QDAR
    B&T Modifier: Region of Publication: 01
    BIC subject category V2: JFSJ
    LC subject heading:
    B&T Modifier: Subject Development: 01
    BIC subject category V2: JFHF
    BIC geographical qualifier V2: 1QDAG
    BIC subject category V2: HRKP, DSBB
    LC subject heading:
    Ingram Theme: CULT/ITALY
    Ingram Subject Code: LC
    Libri: I-LC
    Warengruppen-Systematik des deutschen Buchhandels: 25490
    B&T General Subject: 670
    BISAC V2.8: PSY016000, HIS002020
    B&T Modifier: Academic Level: 02
    DC21: 292.13
    LC subject heading:
    B&T Merchandise Category: UP
    BISAC V2.8: HIS002010, LIT004190
    LC subject heading:
    BIC subject category V2: 1QDAR, 1QDAG
    LC subject heading: , , , ,
    DC22: 155.3/34/0938
    LC classification: BF692.2 .B7613 2002
    LC subject heading: ,
    DC22: 155.3340938
    LC subject heading:
    LC classification: 2001016205
    Thema V1.0: JBGB, DSBB, JBSF, QRS
    Illustrations note
    2 line illustrations, 1 table
    University of California Press
    Imprint name
    University of California Press
    Publication date
    28 March 2002
    Publication City/Country
    Author Information
    Luc Brisson is Researcher at the French National Center for Scientific Research and is the author of many books on Greek philosophy and religion, including Plato the Myth Maker, translated, edited, and with an introduction by Gerard Naddaf (1999).
    Back cover copy
    "Sexual ambivalence in antiquity was both deeply threatening to the social order and profoundly attractive. Especially in a culture in which gender roles seemed so fundamental, hermaphroditism was monstrous, a portent of disorder. But in the myths and the philosophy of that world it also represented the promise of fusion, the hoped-for reward of love and the ground from which civilization sprang. Everyone who studies sexuality, whether in the ancient world or in the present, owes Brisson a great debt for bringing together such a wide range of texts on so important and moving an issue."--Thomas W. Laqueur, author of "Making Sex: Body and Gender from the Greeks to Freud
    Table of contents
    List of Illustrations Foreword Preface to the English Edition Introduction 1. Monsters An Ominous Prodigy An Error of Nature A Phenomenon 2. Dual Sexuality and Homosexuality The Myth of Hermaphroditus, as told by Ovid Masculinity and Femininity in Ancient Greece and Rome Homosexuality in Ancient Greece and Rome 3. Archetypes The Myth of Aristophanes in Plato's Symposium Orphism Gnosticism The Chaldean Oracles The Hermetic Corpus The Phoenix 4. Mediators The Myth of Tiresias A Brief Bestiary Associated with the Myth of Tiresias Conclusion Notes Bibliography Index