Speaking the Unspeakable: A Poetics of Obscenity

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SUNY Press, 1993 - Literary Criticism - 312 pages
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This book studies the literary and cinematic functions of the pornographic as a development from a poetics of obscenity. It focuses on the developments of French, British, and American artistic pornography since the eighteenth century. Discussing female literary figures including Hall, Wharton, Nin, Reage, Jong, and Shulman; such men as Cleland, Sade, Beardsley, Lawrence, Joyce, and Miller; and film makers such as Brakhage, Jack Smith, Bruce Conner, Bertolucci, Oshima, and Wertmuller; Michelson analyzes both the use of aesthetic pornography and the philosophical, cultural, and legal implications of its use. He proposes that realizing the obscene in the sense of speaking the unspeakable is the principle aesthetic function of pornography."
 

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Contents

The History of Sexuality and Poetics
1
Pornographic Ways and Means
37
Decadence and the Poetics of Obscenity
69
Unspeakable Moral Rhetorics
91
An Unspeakably Tragic Ethos
105
Comic Catharsis
163
Women and Pornorotica
185
Unspeakable Spectacle the Movies
233
Obscenity and the Unbearable Law of Liberalism
275
Bibliography
301
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Lesbian Erotics
Karla Jay
No preview available - 1995
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About the author (1993)

Peter Michelson teaches in the English Department at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

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