Pornography at the Edge

Christy Mag Uidhir and Henry John Pratt

in Art and Pornography

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780199609581
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191746260 | DOI:
Pornography at the Edge

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If the primary purpose of pornography is sexual arousal through sexually explicit representations, and if ‘prototypical pornography’ is best able to fulfil that purpose through the adoption of a maximally realistic depictive style, then why do not all works of pornography aspire to prototypical status? There are quite a few non-standard pornographic genres, including Tijuana Bibles, hentai manga, and slash fiction, that possess certain depictively or fictively oriented properties that appear at least prima facie incompatible with prototypical pornography. These give rise to two issues that any viable analysis of pornography must address. First, the Depictive Question: How might issues in depictive realism bear, if at all, upon such works being pornographic? Second, the Fiction Question: How might the conditions for being a work of fiction, whether slash fiction or otherwise, fit, if at all, with the conditions for being a work of pornography? By addressing these questions, this chapter offers a clearer picture of the aims of pornography and the reasons for which significant subgenres of pornography might diverge from the prototypical ideal.

Keywords: depiction; fiction; slash fiction; realism; Tijuana; hentai

Chapter.  8073 words. 

Subjects: Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art

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