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Obscenity has formed part of the tapestry of European culture from its very beginnings. It has been the plaything of some of the greatest literary geniuses - Aristophanes, Boccaccio, Chaucer, Rabelais, Shakespeare, Voltaire and Joyce to name but a few - and of some of the greatest artists as well - Giulio Romano, Romeyn de Hooghe, Hogarth, Rowlandson, Gillray, and others. Our response to obscenity has varied over time: what one age finds obscene, another may not. Obscenity has attracted both admiration and loathing in equal measure down the ages, and even today responses can be divided and contested. John Manning explores why obscenity has held such a timeless fascination, examining obscenity in the visual and verbal arts from antiquity to the present. "Obscenity" illustrates how works of art and literature have been deliberately offensive to notions of 'good taste', but also how they have embraced brilliant inventiveness, wild mirth, childish exuberance, sublimity of thought, the scatological, uncommon erudition, and the wise folly of the humanists. Fanatics have furiously attempted to hunt obscenity to extinction, by prosecution, burning and banning. The form has proved more than a match for such persecution and continues to flourish and thrive. "Obscenity" describes the subterfuges, disguises and artful dodges that publishers and printers have used to secure its and their survival.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9781861892997
ISBN-10: 1861892993
Format: Hardback
(234mm x 140mm x mm)
Pages: 400
Imprint: Reaktion Books
Publisher: Reaktion Books
Publish Date: 29-Aug-2008
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

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Author Biography - John Manning

John Manning is Professor of English at the University of Wales, Lampeter and the author of the critically acclaimed The Emblem (Reaktion, 2002).

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