Our Dark Side: A History of Perversion

Author(s) : Elisabeth Roudinesco

Our Dark Side: A History of Perversion

Book Details

  • Publisher : Polity Press
  • Published : 2009
  • Cover : Paperback
  • Pages : 194
  • Category :
  • Catalogue No : 28364
  • ISBN 13 : 9780745645933
  • ISBN 10 : 0745645933
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Where does perversion begin? Who is perverse? Ever since the word first appeared in the Middle Ages, anyone who delights in evil and in the destruction of the self or others has been described as 'perverse'. But while the experience of perversion is universal, every era has seen it and dealt with it in its own way. The history of perversion in the West is told here through a study of great emblematic figures from the Middle Ages (Gilles de Rais, the mystics and the flagellants), the eighteenth century (Sade), the nineteenth century (the masturbating child, the male homosexual and the hysterical woman) to modern times (Nazism in the twentieth century, and the complementary figures of the paedophile and the terrorist in the twenty-first). Our era has less and less faith in emancipation through the exercise of human freedom and does not really believe that we all have our dark side, but pretends to believe that science will enable us to do away with perversion. But if we claim to eradicate perversion, is there not a danger that we will destroy the idea that there might be a distinction between good and evil, which is the very basis of civilization?

About the Author(s)

Elisabeth Roudinesco teaches at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris and is the author of many books.

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