Virginity Revisited: Configurations of the Unpossessed Body by Judith FletcherVirginity Revisited: Configurations of the Unpossessed Body by Judith Fletcher

Virginity Revisited: Configurations of the Unpossessed Body

EditorJudith Fletcher, Bonnie MacLachlan

Hardcover | September 1, 2007

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From Classical Antiquity to the present, virginity has been closely allied with power: as someone who chooses a life of celibacy retains mastery over his or her body. Sexual potency withheld becomes an energy-reservoir that can ensure independence and enhance self-esteem, but it can also be harnessed by public institutions and redirected for the common good. This was the founding principle of the Vestal Virgins of Rome and later in the monastic orders of the middle ages. Mythical accounts of goddesses and heroines who possessed the ability to recover their virginity after sexual experience demonstrate a belief that virginity is paradoxically connected both with social autonomy and the ability to serve the human community.

Virginity Revisited is a collection of essays that examines virginity not as a physical reality but as a cultural artefact. By situating the topic of virginity within a range of historical 'moments' and using a variety of methodologies, Virginity Revisited illuminates how chastity provided a certain agency, autonomy, and power to women. This is a study of the positive and negative features of sexual renunciation, from ancient Greek divinities and mythical women, in Rome's Vestal Virgins, in the Christian martyrs and Mariology in the Medieval and early Modern period, and in Grace Marks, the heroine of Margaret Atwood's novel Alias Grace.

Judith Fletcher is an associate professor in the Department of Classics at Wilfrid Laurier University. Bonnie MacLachlan is an associate professor emerita in the Department of Classical Studies at Western University.
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Title:Virginity Revisited: Configurations of the Unpossessed BodyFormat:HardcoverDimensions:220 pages, 9.29 × 6.27 × 0.74 inPublished:September 1, 2007Publisher:University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing DivisionLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0802090133

ISBN - 13:9780802090133

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Table of Contents

Contributors

Introduction
BONNIEMACLACHLAN

  1. The Invention of Virginity on Olympus
    ELEANOR IRWIN
  2. The Virgin Choruses of Aeschylus
    JUDITH FLETCHER
  3. The Hippocratic Parthenos in Sickness and Health
    ANN ELLIS HANSON
  4. Why Were the Vestals Virgins? Or the Chastity of Women and the Safety of the Roman State
    HOLT N. PARKER
  5. ‘Only Virgins Can Give Birth to Christ’: The Virgin Mary and the Problem of Female Authority in Late Antiquity
    KATE COOPER
  6. Virgo Fortis: Images of the Crucified Virgin Saint in Medieval Art
    ILSE FRIESEN
  7. Amplification of the Virgin: Play and Empowerment in Walter of Wimborne’s Marie Carmina
    JENIFER SUTHERLAND
  8. Christ from the Head of Jupiter: An Epistemological Note on Huet’s Treatment of the Virgin Birth
    THOMAS LENNON
  9. ‘Sew and snip, and patch together a genius’: Quilting a Virginal Identity in Margaret Atwood’s Alias Grace
    ANNE GEDDES BAILEY

Works Cited

Index