BOYS OR WOMEN? THE RHETORIC OF SEXUAL PREFERENCE IN ACHILLES TATIUS, PLUTARCH, AND PSEUDO-LUCIAN
Achilles Tatius' Greek novel Leucippe and Clitophon (2.35-38), Plutarch's Amatorius (749c-756a) and [Lucian's] Amores (17-52), there occur three conversations where a man's choice of having either young men or women as sex partners is discussed and problematized in relation to its philosophical, traditional, moral and social propriety within the literary world of the Second Sophistic in the Roman Empire. Using as conceptual framework Michel Foucault's construction of Greco-Roman sexuality as put forth in the second and third volumes of his Histoire de la sexualité, this dissertation offers a close reading to examine the issues raised in these three ancient Greek texts, their wider literary and social context, and how they may diverge from Foucault's schema. The erotic paradigm dictating proper sexual and affectational relations with partners of both genders, inherited from classical antiquity and as constructed by Foucault, will, in fact, prove to have undergone several modifications by the time of these three primary texts. On the one hand, a more frankly sexualized interpretation of the pederastic side of this paradigm will take its place alongside, and in some respects supplant, the traditionally and philosophically chaste representation of relationships with a beloved boy. On the other, a new understanding of the erotic worth of women, and wives in particular, will transform procreative relations to conjugal partnerships of the deeply philosophical sort formerly characterizing amorous relations among men.
School:University of Cincinnati
School Location:USA - Ohio
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Keywords:greek roman homosexuality michael foucault ancient sexuality gender studies rhetoric
Date of Publication:01/01/2001