By R. Howard Bloch, Frances Ferguson

These essays, initially comprising a topic of Representations, discover the relation among gender, eroticism, and violence via shut research of a variety of either excessive and renowned cultural kinds, from R. Howard Bloch on medieval theology to Carol Clover on modern slasher motion pictures. Does misogyny vary from misandry? Can writer purpose be separated from social context? Do stable ladies counterbalance or reenforce the misogyny of destructive examples? Is an obsession with girls itself misogynistic? those questions are approached from a number of angles by way of Joel Fineman, Charles Bernheimer, Jacqueline Lichtenstein, Frances Ferguson, Naomi Schor and Gillian Brown. In sum, the authors element not just the ways that gender is represented, but in addition the adjustments to which illustration matters questions of sexual difference.

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The gaze, as the mechanism of seduction, establishes a pattern of conflict between perception and intellection. "For," as Bloch writes, "if a look engenders desire, desire, in turn, forecloses all future possibility of seeing" (15); sight becomes the instrument of the senses, of self-contamination by means of an external object of desire. And, in a crucial paradoxone of the many incoherences that characterize the discourse of misogyny"there can be no such thing as a male gaze or desire" (15) because perception itself is in the Middle Ages so identified with woman that anyone perceiving a woman's beauty becomes feminized by the very act of gazing.

2. Shakespeare's Perjured Eye: The Invention of Poetic Subjectivity in the Sonnets (Berkeley, 1986). Page 1 Medieval Misogyny R. Howard Bloch Woman As Riot If the above title seems redundant, it is because the topic of misogyny, like the mace or chastity belt, participates in a vestigial horror practically synonymous with the term medieval, and because one of the assumptions governing our perception of the Middle Ages is the viral presence of antifeminism. The ritual denunciation of women constitutes something on the order of a cultural constant, reaching back to the Old Testament as well as to Ancient Greece and extending through the fifteenth century.

If you do not look at them or willingly talk with them, they will find the lie to prove that you are castrated! ] The example with which we began, Jean de Meun's vision of women as overdetermined, is complicated by the fabliau's positing of the problem of overdetermination in terms of vision itself. There is, the anonymous poet asserts, no possibility of an objective regard upon the opposite sex and, therefore, no innocent place of speech. The mere fact of speaking to women makes one a pimp; a refusal to speak or even to look is the sign of a castrato.

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