Continental Inseminations: Sodom and the Origins of English Pornography

Humanities & Arts Research Seminar

Tuesday 24 April @ 5.15pm
St John’s Campus, Conference Centre CC 007 (Malvern Room)

Simon Hardy

What continental influences influenced English erotic writing, such as Sodom (c.1675)? The play, usually ascribed to Rochester, offers an obscene satire on the Restoration Court. Recent historians have argued that it is a critique of licentiousness, the neglect of legitimate propagation and ‘natural’ purposes of sex. Yet it also expresses a view of women as sexually veracious and predatory. The paper (with citations of the poem’s ‘obscene’ language) questions if Sodom represents the still unformed genre of literary pornography or whether its poetic form, satirical purpose, and absence of sustained description of sexual scenes, makes it more firmly ‘pre-pornographic’. All welcome.

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