Luxurious Sexualities

Quinn, Vincent and Peace, Mary (1997) Luxurious Sexualities. Textual Practice, 11 (3). 405 - 417. ISSN 0950236X

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This article traces the evolution of modern histories of eighteenth-centurytheories of luxury and of sexuality; it argues that although these fields arecrucially related, few commentators have linked them in an effectivemanner. It gives brief accounts of work by John Sekora and ChristopherBerry, both of whom explore luxury in terms of socio-economic theoriesderived partly from J. G. A. Pocock. The article argues that theseeconomic theories pay insufficient attention to the sexualized nature ofeighteenth-century writings on luxury - in particular, they shy away fromanalysis of effeminacy even though this term is frequently encountered inenlightenment attacks on excessive economic consumption. Then there isan outline of recent work about gender and sexuality in the eighteenthcentury; this mentions Alan Bray, G. S. Rousseau, Randolph Trumbach,and others. This section traces the contributions that these writers havemade to histories of effeminacy and homosexuality, but notes that they areless interested than they might be in luxury and the body politic. Thearticle also argues that historians of luxury and sexuality tend to ignorevisual aspects of eighteenth-century culture, although recent texts by TerryCastle and Kristina Straub use theories of the gaze to explore enlightenmentconstructions of gender. The article then describes a series of papersfrom Luxurious Sexualities: Effeminacy, Consumption and the Body Politicin Eighteenth-Century Representation, a multi-disciplinary conferencefeaturing scholars working on luxury, masculinity, the body, sexuality,and economic discourse in the eighteenth-century. The writers discussedare: Cath Sharrock (writing on masturbation and sodomy), Philip Carter(on effeminacy and economic theories of luxury), Miles Ogborn (onvisual aspects of Macaroni culture in Vauxhall Gardens), Robert Jones (oneffeminacy and military encampments), Sue Wiseman (on representationsof the breast as both luxurious and virtuous), Marcia Pointon (on jewelleryin representations of Queen Charlotte), and Brian Young (on Gibbon andsex).

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of English > English
Depositing User: Vincent Quinn
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 19:55
Last Modified: 13 Mar 2012 15:16
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