Decorum, Textuality, and National Stereotype in the Eighteenth-Century Reception of Homosexuality
This chapter discusses how the eighteenth century responded to Roman homosexuality. Its argument centres upon the idea of decency, proposing that the canonical status of some of the Latin authors who deal with homosexual material (including Lucretius, Ovid, and Martial) grants them a special status, so that they could, within certain constraints, escape the repressive reception of ancient homosexuality which operated more powerfully for Greek authors. Concurrently, it explores the ways in which these authors were engaged in a trans-cultural dialogue with Greek models. The appeal of the classical to Winckelmann was aesthetic, thus the chapter relates eighteenth-century ideas of decency in the reception of classical texts to the notions of aesthetics prevalent at the time in order to provide a context for the moralizing aesthetic which is so characteristic of Winckelmann’s idealization of Greek culture.
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