Sex and the Eighteenth Century Man
Massachusetts and the History of Sexuality in America
By (author) Thomas Foster
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Sex and the Eighteenth Century Man by Thomas Foster
Book DescriptionWith few exceptions, sex is noticeably absent from popular histories chronicling colonial and Revolutionary America. Moreover, it is rarely associated specifically with early American men. This is in part because sex and family have traditionally been associated with women, while politics and business are the historic province of men. But Thomas Foster turns this conventional view on its head. Through the use of court records, newspapers, sermons, and private papers from Massachusetts, he vividly shows that sex--the behaviors, desires, and identities associated with eroticism --was a critical component of colonial understanding of the qualities considered befitting for a man. "Sex and the Eighteenth-Century Man" begins by examining how men, as heads of households, held ultimate responsibility for sex -not only within their own marriages but also for the sexual behaviors of dependents and members of their households. Foster then examines the ways sex solidified bonds in the community, including commercial ties among men, and how sex operated in courtship and social relations with women. Starkly challenging current views about the development of sexuality in America, the book details early understandings of sexual identity and locates a surprising number of stereotypes until now believed to have originated a century later, among them the black rapist and the unmanly sodomite, figures that serve to reinforce cultural norms of white male heterosexuality. As this engrossing and surprising study shows, we cannot understand manliness today or in our early American past without coming to terms with the oft-hidden relationship between sex and masculinity.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780807050385
(229mm x 152mm x 24mm)
Imprint: Beacon Press
Publisher: Beacon Press
Publish Date: 31-Mar-2007
Country of Publication: United States
Books By Author Thomas Foster
Transformations of Domesticity in Modern Women's Writing, Hardback (November 2002)» View all books by Thomas Foster
This volume makes connections between feminist criticism of domestic ideology in the 19th century, modernist women's experiments with literary form, contemporary feminist debates about the politics of location, and postmodern theories of social space.
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