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Sex in the Western World: The Development of Attitudes and Behaviour.

Jean-Louis Flandrin, Sex in the Western World: the Development of Attitudes and

Behaviour, trans. by Sue Collins. (Chur; Reading: Harwood Academic Publishers,

1991). 368 pp. ISBN 3-7186 5201-3. 20.00 [pounds]. This book, a translation of the 1981

Sexe et l'Occident, divides its subject into love, sexual morality and marital relations,

the child and procreation, and the sex-lives of single people. The survey

concentrates on the period from the sixteenth century onwards, but provides

background from Antiquity and the Middle Ages. It notes, among other things,

that the Flood was once ascribed to God's wrath over the woman assuming the

superior position; and it bravely attempts a history of petting. It explores the

various physiological, theological and penitential views of sexuality current in the

Middle Ages, and highlights the many inconsistencies; with so many disagreements

between the highest authorities, one wonders whether even the most pious

of layfolk really worried about such matters.
COPYRIGHT 1992 Society for the Study of Mediaeval Languages and Literature
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Medium Aevum
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Sep 22, 1992
Words:153
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