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Sexuality in Europe
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Book description

This original book brings a fascinating and accessible account of the tumultuous history of sexuality in Europe from the waning of Victorianism to the collapse of Communism and the rise of European Islam. Although the twentieth century is often called 'the century of sex' and seen as an era of increasing liberalization, Dagmar Herzog instead emphasizes the complexities and contradictions in sexual desires and behaviours, the ambivalences surrounding sexual freedom, and the difficulties encountered in securing sexual rights. Incorporating the most recent scholarship on a broad range of conceptual problems and national contexts, the book investigates the shifting fortunes of marriage and prostitution, contraception and abortion, queer and straight existence. It analyzes sexual violence in war and peace, the promotion of sexual satisfaction in fascist and democratic societies, the role of eugenics and disability, the politicization and commercialization of sex, and processes of secularization and religious renewal.


'Everything you always wanted to know about the 'century of sex' - here it is, beautifully written, admirably strong in its analysis, compelling in its plea for different narratives that add ambivalences, conflicts and shadow lines to what at first sight appears as a clear-cut story of liberalisation.'

Ute Fervet - Director of the Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Berlin

'A masterly synthesis of sexuality's most extreme century. This virtuoso account always links sex to politics, but its real merit is to give emotions, bodies, and pleasures a history.'

Philipp Sarasin - Professor of Modern History, University of Zurich

'There is not [a] better comparativist than Herzog to illuminate the unexpected twists and turns of this composite history - a landmark in European synthesis and a must-read for all historians of sexuality.'

Nancy F. Cott - Jonathan Trumbull Professor of American History, Harvard University

'Herzog develops a sweeping analysis of the central role of sexual practices, cultures, politics, and violence in a century of war, mass mobilization, and wrenching social conflict and change.'

George Chauncey - Professor of History, Yale University

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