A classic republished.Sex and Sex Worship. By O.A. Wall. London: Kegan Paul, 2006, 607 pages. Cloth, $255.
In the first two decades of the twentieth century, the publisher Kegan Paul issued a series of pioneering books dealing with sexuality. Among the 12 were ground-breaking titles such as Sexual Life in Ancient Greece The term ancient Greece refers to the periods of Greek history in Classical Antiquity, lasting ca. 750 BC (the archaic period) to 146 BC (the Roman conquest). It is generally considered to be the seminal culture which provided the foundation of Western Civilization. , Sexual Life in Ancient Rome Ancient Rome was a civilization that grew from a small agricultural community founded on the Italian Peninsula circa the 9th century BC to a massive empire straddling the Mediterranean Sea. , and the book reviewed here, Sex and Sex Worship (which was originally published in 1919). Although the books in the series were ground-breaking, the contents were a mixed bag. This is particularly true of Wall's book.
Sex and Sex Worship is a potpourri of stories, myths, and religious beliefs, both ancient and contemporary. Included is a historical development of sexual attitudes, a look at Darwin and evolution by natural selection, a brief history of reproduction, and an explanation of cosmogonies, women, anatomy and physiology, sexual relationships of the Gods, animal worship This article is largely based on the article in the out-of-copyright 11th edition of the Encyclopdia Britannica, which was produced in 1911. It should be brought up to date to reflect subsequent history or scholarship (including the references, if any). , phallic phallic /phal·lic/ (-ik) pertaining to or resembling a phallus.
1. Of, relating to, or resembling a phallus.
2. festivals, prostitution prostitution, act of granting sexual access for payment. Although most commonly conducted by females for males, it may be performed by females or males for either females or males. , and a large variety of other topics. Some of the topics are well-documented and interested readers could trace them further. Coverage of many other topics, however, simply consists of collections of notes from a variety of sources, many of which are not mentioned (although some, such as the Greek legends, can be guessed). Wall is somewhat apologetic about this. In his brief bibliography, Wall explains that it is only a partial list of books, etc., "from which information has been obtained" and illustrations gathered. He then adds that there were other works, "but these titles have escaped my memory." Many of Wall's sources are simply listed, such as the "Bible," or the 48 volumes of Appleton's Science Library, Haeckle's works, Milton's Lost Paradise, or the Universal Dictionary, without page numbers or publication information.
There is a vast amount of miscellaneous information here, which is interesting and even helpful, although the index is only a partial one. The chapter headings provide some guide, but Wall often wanders off on tangents in his discussion. In short, it is a fascinating collection of data about sexuality based upon information from literature, "scientific journals," and religious doctrine, and a vast collection of notes that Wall simply reports along with the excuse that he can no longer recall the sources of his data. From my knowledge, Wall's accounts of various mythologies
There is a tremendous amount of information, and any reader will find some anecdotes which could be used as illustrations of almost any topic in human sexuality This article is about human sexual perceptions. For information about sexual activities and practices, see Human sexual behavior.
Generally speaking, human sexuality is how people experience and express themselves as sexual beings. . Information here, however, it should be investigated further rather than assumed to be accurate. Still, it is an interesting book to sample in your spare time.
Reviewed by Vern L. Bullough, Ph.D., D. Sci, R.N., SUNY SUNY - State University of New York Distinguished Professor Emeritus e·mer·i·tus
Retired but retaining an honorary title corresponding to that held immediately before retirement: a professor emeritus.
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