Reading, Writing, and Rewriting the Prostitute Body

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Indiana University Press, 1994 - Philosophy - 229 pages
"Shannon Bell recovers the hetaira (courtesan) of ancient Greece as both sophistic philosopher and erotic teacher. Tracing the 'constructed' prositute body through discourse in ancient Greece, modern Europe, contemporary North American and French feminism, postmodern prostitute feminism, and North American postmodern prostitute performance art, Bell shows how the flesh-and-blood female body engaged in sexual interaction for payment has no inherent meaning and is signified differently in different cultures or discourses. The author contends that modernity has produced 'the prostitute' as the other within the categorical other: woman. Modern discourse dichotomizes the female into 'good' and 'bad,' a split that modernist feminism reproduces; even prostitute discourse, which attempts to resolve these dichotomies, sometimes slips into them. Only in prostitute performance art, argues Bell, are the roles of 'whore' and 'madonna' ultimately dissolved and unified"--Back cover.

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