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Sex, Knowledge, and Receptions of the Past$
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Kate Fisher and Rebecca Langlands

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199660513

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199660513.001.0001

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Queer Desires and Classicizing Strategies of Resistance

Queer Desires and Classicizing Strategies of Resistance

(p.25) 1 Queer Desires and Classicizing Strategies of Resistance
Sex, Knowledge, and Receptions of the Past

Alastair J. L. Blanshard

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the political deployment in the late nineteenth century of two radically different ways of relating to ancient homosexuality. The first saw ancient Greek sexuality as providing a model for emulation and a pattern for living a rich and fulfilling life. In contrast, the other saw ancient texts not as providing a philosophy of modern living, but merely the repository of data for the scientific study of homosexual behaviour. Advocates for both positions sought to elevate the position of contemporary homosexuals. However, in doing so, they operated with divergent ideas about the status of sexuality, the aims of homosexual emancipation, and the role of classical scholarship in the modern world. This chapter examines the tensions, conflicts, and the moments of resistance facilitated by these two alternative positions.

Keywords:   sexology, queer, aestheticism, Victorian, homosexuality, Oscar Wilde, John Addington Symonds, Richard Burton

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