J. N. Davidson has now launched his challenge to the Dover-Foucault paradigm, which he had earlier demonstrated to be an intuitively homophobic misreading of the data ‘Dover, Foucault, and Greek Homosexuality. Pene



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J. N. Davidson has now launched his challenge to the Dover-Foucault paradigm, which he had earlier demonstrated to be an intuitively homophobic misreading of the data (‘Dover, Foucault, and Greek Homosexuality. Penetration and the Truth of Sex’, Past &Present 170, 2001, 3-51), with the required amount of detail and some more : The Greeks and Greek Love. A Radical Reappraisal of Homosexuality in Ancient Greece, London, Weidenfeld &Nicolson, 2007, 650 p. ; 810 in the 2009 reprint — The Greeks and Greek Love. A Bold New Exploration of the Ancient World, New York, Random House —, to which I shall refer hereafter. If only he had produced an academic monograph with full-fledged bibliography and scholarly apparatus instead of a journalistic work meant to seduce ! For only a small part of the book stands up to minimal academic standards ; I mean chapters one and two, on the Greek terminology for same-sex love and dealings (3-73). They are not outstanding, but sound enough to be of use, apart from the bibliographic negligence which is a trademark of the work and a few red herrings, the most pernicious of which concerns the semantic field of EURUPRÔKTOS. Davidson, 57-59, empties this insult of its phallic and penetrative overtones : “ simply a vulgar form of the word ‘wide-mouth’, EURUSTOMOS. For hollow rhetoric was often referred to as windy or gusting. It refers to people who talk out their arses, farting on about something or other, windbags, barristers, politicians ” (58). This will not delude anyone aware of the very close and precise association of the word with ideas of same-sex debauchery and desire in comedy, see, e.g., Dover, Greek Homosexuality, 139-143 ; D. E. O’Reagan, Rhetoric, Comedy, and the Violence of Language in Aristophanes’ Clouds (New York &Oxford, 1992), 97-98 ; B. S. Thornton, Eros. The Myth of Ancient Greek Sexuality (Boulder &Oxford, 1997), 110, 117 ; and Kirk Ormand, Controlling Desires. Sexuality in Ancient Greece and Rome (Westport &London, 2009), 61-63. Davidson shows a noticeable, not to say : magisterial, lack of engagement with the strictures voiced against his view of KATAPUGOSUNÊ, of which his non-penetrative explanation of EURUPROKTÔS is simply a small piece, by N. R. E. Fisher, Aeschines. Against Timarchus. Introduction, Translation and Commentary (Oxford, 2001), 46-48, and a very one-sided conception of iambic and comic obscenity in matters sexual, cf. Claude Calame, The Politics of Eros in Ancient Greece (Princeton &Chichester, 1999), 137-139, along with the more general surveys by James Robson, Humour, Obscenity and Aristophanes (Tübingen, 2006), especially 70-94 — unilluminating, in my view, and too partial to personal theorising and jargon, but preserves some good materials —, and, rather better, Stephen Halliwell, Greek Laughter. A Study in Cultural Psychology from Homer to Early Christianity (Cambridge &New York, 2008), 215-263, cf. 243 sqq. on the AISKROLOGIA typical of Old Comedy. Before we leave the aspects of vocabulary, it must be said that these chapters pave the way to another perverse, if less spectacularly so, view of Davidson’s : the one he takes of ERÔS, a byword, he claims, that has been ‘sexed up’ by phallocentric interpreters : “ although, the commentators claim, erôs can sometimes be translated as ‘love’, its core meaning is ‘sexual desire’. Although in the earliest occurrences erastês seems to mean ‘eager for’ or ‘a fan of’, nevertheless the primary meaning is ‘‘the older, active male partner in the relationship of pederasty’’, except that he may not be older, or male, or in any relationship, let alone a ‘pederastic one’, nor, therefore, taking the ‘active’ role in this. You can see how easy it is in practice to discuss all the evidence to the contrary as an extended use that has strayed from the true narrow meaning established by academic doctrine. Thus the sex interpretation becomes formally incontrovertible ” (122). How much he has to tiptoe here is demonstrated by the endote (8 on 661) : in the face of the convinging survey of the early and classical uses of ERÔS / ERASTÊS by P. W. Ludwig, Eros and Polis. Desire and Community in Greek Political Thought (Cambridge, 2002), 141-153 — a book the findings of which The Greeks and Greek Love does not elsewhere engage with —, Davidson feints and obfuscates ; he quotes from this work (‘‘the older, active male partner in the relationship of pederasty’’) and then attempts to neutralize it rhetorically (661, note : “ Ludwig, Eros and Polis, p. 147. Ludwig carefully goes over almost every reference to erôs-words, in exemplary fashion, showing how erôs is not essentially sexual, but even he falls for it at the last fence and all his careful work is of no avail ”). By so doing, our author shows the depth of his prejudice, for the socially-constructed ERÔS can be proved to have been associated in the mind of the Greeks with as much beauty (the ‘natural’ pleasures) as danger (issues of hierarchy, agression), see Ludwig, 9 note 10, with the bibliography referenced there, and this from the earlier period at least in the case of heterosexual ERÔS (Thornton, Eros, 11-98, amply demonstrates this point ; for a summary, cf. 99 “ (...) eros is, as we have seen, a natural energy flowing out from humans onto any object, whether same-sex paramour, child, relative, or beast, as evidenced by the many Greek myths involving incest and bestiality ”). This being said, the second part of Davidson’s book does mainly succeed in its rebuttal of too narrow a view of the opinio communis according to which the classical Greeks seem only to have had thoughts for the male-male coitus, thus, ultimately, the assertion of power and the enforcement of social status (119-204) ; but in my own eyes, this is beating a dead horse, for only very few Classicists such as Halperin (who was in any case reacting to Boswell) believe in such an extreme model. Furthermore, Davidson is far too radical ; as he explained in his 2001 article on 46-47,
“ the modern consensus about Greek sexuality was created by the foregrounding of sexual behaviour. This sexualization of Greek homose-xuality was impelled above all by two powerful tendencies : a desire to uncover more and more of the truth of sex that modern historians and ancient sources were thought to be covering up, and a desire to demonstrate the spuriousness of Greek homosexuality (Devereux), of homosexuality (Dover), of 80 per cent of sexuality (Veyne), of sexuality in toto (Foucault). These two desires were aligned in two ways in particular. Inasmuch as Greek (homo)sexuality was said to be concerned with roles in sexual acts rather than gender orientation, it was demonstrably different from modern (homo)sexuality, thus proving that (Greek) (homo)sexuality was a cultural phenomenon. Secondly, inasmuch as Greek (homo)sexuality was a sexuality of roles and was ‘social’, it demonstrated, in itself, a non-essential, gestural, social performativity in the field of (Greek) (homo)sexual identity. In other words, the Greeks understood the true spuriousness, the constructed nature, of human sexuality. This sexualization of Greek homosexuality had its own momentum and did not depend on evidence. Indeed the very silence of the sources and the absence of images of sodomy was interpreted as an embarrassed reticence and used to demonstrate the centrality of anxiety about penetration. For cogency the theory depended instead on models derived from elsewhere : universalizing and sociobiological models, Roman models, Mediterranean and modern models. Sparse, ambivalent and obscure references were interpreted according to these models. The strategy was highly effective and has led to the sexualized view of Greek homosexuality being widely accepted not only throughout the discipline of classics, but also by anthropologists and sociologists and students of gender and sexuality working in other periods and places and in modern political debates about gay rights. A very few scholars rejected this emphasis on penetration on the grounds of its implications for gender, its readings of individual texts and / or its a priori assumptions. There is little or no evidence for the particular view that for the Greeks sex was a zero-sum competition producing an active winning subject on the one hand and a passive losing object on the other ”.
Davidson is presently blurring a line rather well drawn by Dover, Greek Homosexuality, 208 “ homosexual relationships are not exclusively divisible, in Greek society or in any other, into those which perform an educational function and those which provoke and relieve genital tension. Most relationships of any kind are complex, and the need for bodily contact and orgasm was one ingredient of the complex of needs met by homosexual eros ”. In The Greeks and Greek Love, he throws his former caution to the wind and writes such sentences as this one : “ obsessed with flagitious anal penetration we have oblivionized the fact that arseholes are famous for quite a few other things apart from occasionally getting shafted ” (135). I shall not confine to silence Davidson’s two most egregious mistakes : that you risked your life, as an adult, by entering the gymnasium when youngsters were in there (“ laws forbade anyone of aged Twenty or over from entering the gymnasium when under-eighteens were exercising : the strictest penalties, not excluding the death penalty, were imposed on those who transgressed ”, 77), and that there was absolutely no sex with boys younger than eighteen before the fourth century B.C., Dadvidson thus debunking what he would have us see as ‘the pedophile myth’, 76-79 (“ in fact in Athens Eighteen seems to have been considered the effective age of consent for boys, since anyone over that age accused of prostitution could himself be prosecuted ; under that age, and it was his legal guardian, his father, who was penalized ”, 78). The first issue revolves around a specific legal clause within the case concocted by Aeschines in order to expose Timarchus’ pathic behaviour, itself a masterpiece of special pleading which no Classicist worth his reputation would take at face value (see Giulia Sissa, ‘Sexual Bodybuilding : Aeschines against Timarchus’, in J. I. Porter (ed.), Constructions of the Classical Body [Ann Arbor, 1999], 147-168 on 153-162, who well unravels what she terms a ‘rhetoric of distaste and shame’ [162] that turns Timarchus into an offensive presence the people cannot afford to tolerate in their ranks, and Nancy Worman, Abusive Mouths in Classical Athens [Cambridge, 2008], 242-247) ; the only text of relevance, Against Timarchus, § 12 KAI MÊ EXESTÔ TOIS HUPER TÊN TÔN PAIDÔN HÊLIKIAN OUSIN EISIENAI TÔN PAIDÔN ENDON ONTÔN, EAN MÊ UIOS DIDASKALOU Ê ADELPHOS Ê THUGATROS ANÊR, “ people older than the boys are not to enter (understand : TA DIDASKALEIA, ‘the schools’) while the boys are present, except for the teacher’s son, his brother or his son-in-law ”, is as spurious as the rest of the laws present in the mediaeval manuscripts of this oration (see Fisher, Aeschines. Against Timarchos, 68 with note 203 for the generalities, with 135 for the present law), which explains why Davidson does not quote it and why he has no endnote at all here, but nonetheless he builds on it. As for the affirmation about the death penalty, it is said to rest on Against Timarchus, § 139, a piece of shameless casuistic with bogus legal authority, and which cannot be pressed into anything resembling the stipulation of an age of consent in sexual dealings (Fisher, 284-285). Such is the stuff the dreams of our ‘expert’ are made of.
Another contention of Davidson’s with which one has to distance oneself with the sharpest clarity possible is, in his own words, ‘the puberty shift’ (92-93) : we are told that a shift in the growth of the male body took place after 1800 AD in round numbers, so that boys in Antiquity did ‘hit puberty much later than they do now’ (93). MEIRAKIA before 18 did not develop facial and body hair nor grow into their muscles, thus confirming that this was the age of consent. All the evidence the reader is offered for this claim fills two notes (29-30 on 658) : the first endnote clumsily attempts to link this phenomenon with issues of (mal)nutrition and to place the Greeks and Romans within a ‘Barbigerous Crescent’ (!) of civilisations ; the second one misreads in a most perverse manner Aristotle’s Historia Animalium, VII, 581 a 11-34 (not ‘581a and 582a’ ; 582 a 16-17 only explains that “ at the outset and till the age of thrice seven years the spermatic discharge (in the boy) is devoid of fecundity ”, MEKHRI MEN OUN TÔN TRIS EPTA ETÔN TO MEN PRÔTON AGONA TA SPERMATA ESTIN, viz. that puberty is not complete until twenty-one). The Stagirite writes PHEREIN DE SPERMA PRÔTON ARKHETAI TO ARREN HÔS EPI TO POLU EN TOIS ETESI TOI DIS EPTA TETELESMENOIS. HAMA DE KAI HÊ TRIKHÔSIS TÊS HÊBÊS ARKHETAI (581 a 12-15), “ the male begins to engender seed, in the most of cases, when twice seven years old, and at the same time hair appears upon the pubes ”, viz. that the process of puberty begins around fourteen. Davidson takes this and 582 a 17 sqq. to mean that “ puberty hits after fourteen, or in the third ‘week’ of life, and the beard appears at twenty-one, at the start of the fourth. He cannot be saying that pubic hair appears ‘at fourteen’ and a beard seven years later, unless he is being unusually unobservant or Procustean ” ; this is not borne out by the Greek and erroneously locates the growth of beard after the third ETOS of boys, whereas Aristotle puts this ‘about this time of life’ (582 a 32), correctly enough since most pubescent boys with stubble on their face seldom sprout enough hair to grow a beard until after they are 17 or 18. What is more, Davidson does not seem to remember that the Late Bronze Age frescoes of Akrotiri present us with extraordinarily detailed representations of male youth where one can witness the transformation of infants into athletes (E. N. Davis, ‘Youth and Age in the Thera Frescoes’, American Journal of Archaeology 90, 1986, 399-406, details six such stages, and we have now the richly detailed and illustrated study by A. P. Chaplin, ‘Boys Will Be Boys : Youth and Gender Identity in the Theran Frescoes’, in Ada Cohen and J. B. Rutter (edd.), Constructions of Childhood in Ancient Greece and Italy [Athens, 2007], 229-255) ; some historians even speculate that the white colour, usually reserved for females in Aegean wall paintings, several figures are drawn in might not encode their gender but symbolise the younth or degree of maturity of these boys (Lyvia Morgan, ‘Form and Meaning in Figurative Painting’, in Susan Sherratt (ed.), The Wall Paintings of Thera. Proceedings of the First International Symposium, Petros M. Nomikos Conference Center, Thera, Hellas, 30 August-4 September 1997 [Athens, 2000], 925-944 on 937-940). Though it would be rash to have these Akrotiri images ‘intentionally executed to provide specific physiological details conveying information on age and physical developement from early childhood to adolescence’ (Chaplin, 255) apply to classical Greece, they do not square at all with Davidson’s idea about all Greek teens being late bloomers, see Chaplin, 235-247 with a far better account of human puberty on 235-238 than the one in The Greeks and Greek Love. I find it quite remarkable that Chaplin, 237-238, provisionally equates the growth-rate of Theran boys with the one which holds sway for the midth-twentieth century AD so as to give approximate ages to the figures in the frescoes. To sum up : even if Davidson had not misrepresented Aristotle on puberty, the data from archaic Thera conspire with the utter lack of evidence from Greece proper as to the existence of a ‘puberty shift’ to make the very idea unpalatable. It has to be discarded as a figment of his imagination.
Once he has dealt — in his view — the final blow to what he calls the ‘sodomania’ of Dover cum suis, Davidson then surveys (207-579) the whole evidence for Greek pederasty and homosexuality in a style more suited to headlines in tabloids than to dispassionate anthropology, always finding confirmation that rear penetration was never its alpha and omega. For example, the way the Doric ritual of initiation was performed in Sparta much downplays the importance of coitus, to the extent that one may think of a ceremony rather than a consummation (410-415), what troubles me most here being the degree of assumption and imagination in the reconstruction : “ contrary to Athenian practice, Spartan men over Twenty are allowed to go where the Boys are, perhaps from as young as Twelve and upward. During this time they form fan bands, like the Cretan philoi or the potters of the Athenian Ceramicus, clubs that establish ties between themselves along the horizontal axis as well as ties to the boy himself. When the Boy is the age of a Stripling, meirakion, a homosexual wedding to an individual who will thenceforth be personally responsible for the boy’s actions in the cards. The erastês, who must come from the right class or the right part of the army, goes into the training ground. There is a threat of violence or indeed there is violence, a clash with the erastês on one side, the Cadets on the other, and the Stripling in between. The boy as always is wrapped up in a cloak. There is an embrace and the two lie down together, doing everything but the deed itself, but with no touching of bodies, and preservative cloaks always between ”, 411. The notion of something along the lines of a same-sex, symbolic wedding, which reminds one of the late John Boswell, is as perverse and unsubstantiated as it is confidently put forward. Far from covering his tracks, Davidson tops this off with what he would like to pass as a candid avowal of guesswork, but which actually is a shameless piece of gloating : “ well, that is the best I can do. But I really feel as if I am answering one of those photo questions on a quiz show, where the screen shows a tiny part of a big object, or a shot taken from an angle that no ordinary eye could look from. Only this is not so easy. This close-up from an odd angle is of an object no one living has ever seen ; there is no perspective to zoom back to. And yet here I am extrapolating upon what is left to see. It goes without saying, in other words, that there was a teeming world back then in ancient Sparta, lots of colorful and complicated things, of which mostly we haven’t the slightest idea, that I am looking at a detail on a horse from a carousel and trying from that to reconstruct a fairground ”. The ‘boldness’ Davidson claims in his title obviously reaches extravagance here, if not romance, while lacking sorely in the area of scholarly justification : endnotes in the relevant pages are sporadic and more than a little desultory, ignoring such fundamental items as D. M. Robinson &E. J. Fluck, A Study of the Greek Love-Names. Including a Discussion of Paederasty and a Prosopographia (Baltimore, 1937), 15-45, for Thera as a sort of ‘laboratory’ of Spartan pederasty, and D. M. MacDowell, Spartan Law (Edinburgh, 1986), 61-65, for the suggestion that the same-sex acts performed during the upbringing of Spartan MEIRAKIA may have been to a large extent free and even voluntary (compare the cautious endorsement by Fisher, in Anton Powell (ed.), Classical Sparta. Techniques Behind Her Success [Norman, OK, 1989], 46 note 37 : he “ may be correct that there was not a law or strict allocation system assigning a lover to each youth, but this is not necessary for it to be the norm, or a crucial part of the educational structure ”), on top of Davidson not knowing of, e.g., Massimo Nafissi, La nascita del kosmos. Studi sulla storia e la società di Sparta (Milan, 1991), 211-213, for vascular evidence linking the rise of pederasty in Sparta with symposia (sixth-century black-figure pottery), which hardly suits the explanation of those same-sex acts qua rituals of military pedagogy, especially if one takes these to be early. Davidson suppresses embarrasing cavils in a way which does a disservice to his readership by not pausing to wonder whether the well-known rise of Lacedemonian paederasty in the sixth century did not go hand in hand, around 600 B.C., with the generalisation of these, by and large sexually reclusive, manifestations of sociality which the symposia and the athletic training in the GUMNASION are, so as to present Sparta with a tool for her state control (see Fisher, Aeschines. Against Timarchos, 31-32 : “ Homer, and perhaps Hesiod, like the earliest rock grafitti, may reflect the beginnings of a a social shift from a concentration on secrete initiatory bondings to more openly acknowledged relationships. But its is equally important to emphasize that the much greater openness of expression in poetry and art from the early sixth century must indeed reflect the development of strikingly new patterns. In some places, especially Crete and Sparta, what looks like quasi-initiatory, age-determined, and standard, homosexual relations, can best be seen as part of a ‘re-institutionalization’ of ancient customs to fit new structures and new political needs of these communities. (...). In many other cities, the development of overt, formalized expressions of love for boys among élite men at leisure arguably reflects the breakup into voluntary groupings of the most structured rituals, which had been, by common consent, rarely spoken about in public, though probably widely known ”), and by sticking to the model of military-like, ritual initiation of Indo-European character, if not pedigree.
Generally speaking, the non-penetrative model of homosexuality this second half of the book attemps to build seldom convinces ; this stems not so much from the agressive, overconfident tone, the numerous factual errors of every kind conceivable (the most egregious of them pilloried by T. K. Hubbard Error: Reference source not found) or the use of an extravagantly idiosyncratic terminology (my favourite coinage being ‘homobesottedness’, which contributes nothing in terms of scholarly precision), as from the author’s lack of interest in the minutiae : devil lies in the details, philological or historical, but even as he challenges such a connaisseur of the Greek civilisation as Dover, Davidson is seldom bothered to assess, let alone address, the relevant secondary litterature, whereas he ignores all of the objections one may raise based on the available evidence. To take but one case in point, I would refrain from ruling out the likeliness that the flask of oil in a number of vase paintings depicting snapshots of what scholars in the field are used to term ‘male courtship’, but which actually showcase the very last stages of making out before the action proper (M. F. Kilmer, Greek Erotica on Attic Red-Figure Vases [London, 1993], 11-21), are not so much there for some athletic purpose (or else so as to suggest the atmosphere of the palaistra ; compare Kilmer, 17 note 12) than meant for sex (idem, 16-17). Anyway, Davidson’s attack on the Dover-Foucault model has at least one merit ; it explodes the apparent strong taboo against the depiction of male-male penetration in the visual arts, to which they prefer intercrural rubbing (thus Dover, Greek Popular Morality in the Time of Plato and Aristotle [Berkeley, 1974], 214, remarks that “ although homosexual courting and importuning is a very common subject in vase paintings, portrayal of the consummation of homosexual desire — by contrast with numerous scenes of heterosexual coitus — is very rare indeed ”, and similarly Félix Buffière, Éros adolescent. La pédérastie dans la Grèce antique [Paris, 1982], 146 “ pour les couples pédérastiques les peintres ne font qu’amorcer les idylles, le plus souvent. Pour les couples hétérosexuels, par contre, ils n’hésitent pas à les montrer en plein feu de l’action, et dans les attitudes les plus incommodes ” ; further discussion of the same persuasion in Dover, Greek Homosexuality, 114-122 ; Eva Cantarella, Bisexuality in the Ancient World [New Haven &London, 1992], pp. 22-25, who allows the possibility that anal intercourse was a normal way of having pleasure in male twosomes but envisions its visual suppression as similar to the taboo on drawing respectable women, as opposed with courtesans, having sex with men on vase paintaings ; Kilmer, 16-21, 22-25 ; W. A. Percy III, Pederasty and Pedagogy in Archaic Greece [Urbana, 1996], 118-119 ; and see now, as to the contrary, the iconographic catalogue of Andrew Lear and Eva Cantarella, Images of Pederasty. Boys Were their Gods, London &New York, 2008).
The conclusion that Greek males were no rabid bunnies obsessed with penetrative gratification on their mates, unlike what they considered to be true for women, whom they envisioned as creatures unable to restrain their lust, looks very credible in itself. I shall compare the short but perceptive account of Greek male-male love by Oswyn Murray, Early Greece (‘Second Edition’, London, 1993), 213-218. But it should have been cast in a much less lurid light and equipped with a tighter complex of proof. Furthermore, Davidson’s mammoth of a book does not consider the consequence of the explosion of penetration as the key to male homosexuality for the Hellenic views of genders ; here the comparative method furnishes the serious scholar — an epithet which has been denied to this offering of the Warwick professor by several of its most expert reviewers — with an invaluable clue, for virtually everywhere in the Ancient Near East, from early Egypt to Assyria, sexual intercourse was conceived in a vertical way, with issues of authority and social prominence as the touchstone for understanding the consensual penetration of both women and submissive males and the criminalisation of non-consensual sodomy between men of equal status (Susan Ackerman, When Heroes Love. The Ambiguity of Eros in the Stories of Gilgamesh and David [New York, 2005], 76-79, Nardelli, Homosexuality and Liminality..., 12-13, 35-37, 79-80 ; that the one male who played the passive part in the intercourse with another male either belonged to a lower class than the active partner or was regarded as suffering social depreciation through the coupling, thereby enforcing the community, patriarchal and kinship-structured norms, is indeed standard knowledge, see Jean Bottéro &Herbert Petschow, ‘Homosexuality’, Reallexicon der Assyriologie 4 [Berlin, 1972-1975], 460-463, D. F. Greenberg, The Construction of Homosexuality [Chicago &London, 1988], 117-127, Martti Nissinen, Homoeroticism in the Biblical World. A Historical Perspective [Minneapolis, 1998], 24 sqq., especially 27-28, Ann Kessler Guinan, ‘The Sex Omens of Mesopotamia’, in Maria Wyke (ed.), Gender and the Body in the Ancient Mediterrane-an [Oxford, 1998], 38-55, on 45-47 [text], 52-53 [notes], and R. M. Davidson, Flame of Yahweh. Sexuality in the Old Testament [Peabody, 2007], 134-142 ; now to put it bluntly, “ males are constructed largely as penetrators, insertive, initiators, active sexual agents ; women are constructed largely as penetrated, receptors, passive sexual objects ” — Athalya Brenner, The Intercourse of Knowledge. On Gendering Desire and ‘Sexuality’ in the Hebrew Bible [Leiden &New York, 1997], 178). There is no way around this datum, unless we dog the problem by calling ‘sodomania’ this Oriental continuum more Davidsoniano, which obviously will not work, or we fabricate a radical difference between Greece and its neighbours, the mental output of which, in matters sexual, we confine to silence. This is what Davidson did, and why the whole of his book is vulnerable to the charge of arguing within a circle. One cannot refrain the feeling that the author of Courtesans and Fishcakes has re-imbued the male-male dealings of Greece with exactly the kind of present-day, romantic, gay sensibility — ‘rubbish’ would not be too strong a term for this — from the clutches of which generations of scholars since Meier’s 1837 ‘Paederastia’ have been doing battle to rescue the discipline.
To put it briefly : in terms of credibility, scholarly achievement and PEITHÔ, not only does The Greeks and Greek Love cast no shadow on Dover’s ageing but still gaunt Greek Homosexuality ; I am not sure whether the book per se, even if he proves influential in provoking people into looking at the credentials of Dover and Foucault, as well as those of Winkler and Halperin, is worth much more than a strongly negative condemnation in a footnote, e.g. the one in Ormand, Controlling Desires, 271 note 10. Its aberrations (as sampled deadly in Goldhill’s review http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/story.asp?storycode=400074 ; contrast the bland, and incompetent, endorsement by an undergraduate who was not deterred or chose not to be shocked by them : http://www.oxonianreview.org/wp/the-riot-and-its-aftermath/) anyway make it hard to acquiesce in the scholarly value of this MEGA BIBLION.


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