The History of Sexuality, Vol. 2: The Use of Pleasure
In this sequel to The History of Sexuality, Volume I: An Introduction, the brilliantly original French thinker who died in 1984 gives an analysis of how the ancient Greeks perceived sexuality.
Throughout The Uses of Pleasure Foucault analyzes an irresistible array of ancient Greek texts on eroticism as he tries to answer basic questions: How in the West did sexual experience become a moral issue? And why were other appetites of the body, such as hunger, and collective concerns, such as civic duty, not subjected to the numberless rules and regulations and judgments that have defined, if not confined, sexual behavior?
Good Use of Leisure
By A Customer - June 6, 2000
Although it is not as theoretically courageous, The Use of Pleasure is tenfold more interesting and approachable than the first volume in this trilogy on the history of sexuality.Foucault delves deep into the recesses of our occidental world by attempting to answer the question, "Why is it that sexuality has become morally problematic?" Why and when did we attribute a negativity to certain sexualities? And what does this imply about sexuality itself?Foucault works with irresistible sources (e.g. Plato's Republic; Hippocrates' Ancient Medicine) in an effort to reconstruct the Hellenic approach to sexuality. The result: a clear and fascinating delineation of the similarities and differences between modern sexual consciousness and "pagan license".
By Steiner - July 21, 2008
Foucault's continuation of his impressive History of Human Sexuality looks into the sexual mores and practices of the Ancient Greeks, and attempts to understand the development of sexuality as a moral problematic. Contrary to the conventional wisdom which posits a complete epistemic reversal from the Hellenic world to the Christian world, Foucault poses a more complex network of interconnections between the two paradigms, which lie in a valuation of asceticism. Although The Use of Pleasure is only a small piece of a very large story, it is an interesting development in the hermeneutics of sexuality.
let's hear it for the boy: a greek fable
By Case Quarter - July 24, 2009
three quotations from the use of pleasure:
1) the work that one performs on oneself, not only in order to bring one's conduct into compliance with a given rule, but to attempt to transform oneself into the ethical subject of one's behavior is ethical work. Pg 27
2) an `aesthetics of existence' is a way of life whose moral value does not depend either on one's being in conformity with a code of behavior, or on an effort of purification, but on certain formal principles in the use of pleasures, in the way one distributed them, in the limits one observed, in the hierarchy one respected. through reason and the relation to truth that governed it, such a life was committed to the maintenance and reproduction of an ontological order; moreover, it took on the brilliance of a beauty that was revealed to those able to behold it or keep its memory present in mind. Pg 89
3) the principle according to which sexual activity was meant to be regulated, the... read more