Sex and Punishment: Four Thousand Years of Judging Desire

Sex and Punishment: Four Thousand Years of Judging Desire

Eric Berkowitz

The “raging frenzy” of the intercourse force, to take advantage of Plato’s word, has constantly defied keep an eye on. even though, that’s to not say that the Sumerians, Victorians, and each civilization in among and past haven't attempted, wielding their such a lot bold weapon: the legislation. At any given time limit, a few types of intercourse have been condoned whereas others have been punished mercilessly. leap ahead or backward a century or (and usually a ways lower than that), and the innocuous enjoyable of 1 period of time turns into the gravest crime in one other. Sex and Punishment tells the tale of the fight through the millennia to control the main robust engine of human behavior.

Writer and attorney Eric Berkowitz makes use of flesh-and-blood cases—much flesh or even extra blood—to evoke the complete sweep of Western intercourse legislations, from the savage impalement of an old Mesopotamian adulteress to the imprisonment of Oscar Wilde in 1895 for “gross indecency.” the solid of Sex and Punishment is as diverse because the varieties taken by way of human hope itself: royal mistresses, homosexual charioteers, medieval transvestites, lonely goat-lovers, prostitutes of all stripes, London lease boys. each one of them had forbidden intercourse, and every was once judged—and justice, as Berkowitz indicates, hardly had a lot to do with it.

With the sunshine contact of a average storyteller, Berkowitz spins those stories and extra, going at the back of closed doorways to bare the basic historical past of human desire.

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