Pages

20 November, 2012

Pornographic Archaeology: Medicine, Medievalism, and the Invention of the French Nation



Zrinka Stahuljak just published Pornographic Archaeology: Medicine, Medievalism, and the Invention of the French Nation (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012); 368 pp.
http://www.upenn.edu/pennpress/book/15046.html

The publisher's description: In Pornographic Archaeology: Medicine, Medievalism, and the Invention of the French Nation, Zrinka Stahuljak explores the connections and fissures between the history of sexuality, nineteenth-century views of the Middle Ages, and the conceptualization of modern France. This cultural history uncovers the determinant role that the sexuality of the Middle Ages played in nineteenth-century French identity.
Stahuljak's provocative study of sex, blood, race, and love in nineteenth- and early twentieth-century medical and historical literature demonstrates how French medicine's obsession with the medieval past helped to define European sexuality, race, public health policy, marriage, family, and the conceptualization of the Middle Ages. Stahuljak reveals the connections between the medieval military order of the Templars and the 1830 colonization of Algeria, between a fifteenth-century French marshal and the development of Richard von Krafft-Ebing's theory of sadism, between courtly love and the 1884 law on divorce. Although the developing discipline of medieval studies eventually rejected the influence of these medical philologists, the convergence of medievalism and medicine shaped modern capitalist French society and established a vision of the Middle Ages that survives today.