Charles Upchurch

in Before Wilde

Published by University of California Press

Published in print April 2009 | ISBN: 9780520258532
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520943582 | DOI:

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This chapter suggests that most scholars still credit Michel Foucault with profoundly important insights that have shaped the study of the history of sexuality, but there is also a desire to move beyond his impressionistic and generalized narrative to understand better how ideas and discourses influenced individuals' understandings of their own sexuality. One scholar who has successfully taken up this challenge is Harry Oosterhuis in Stepchildren of Nature. Oosterhuis was the first scholar to gain access to the personal papers of Richard von Krafft-Ebing, the Viennese psychiatrist who wrote the most influential nineteenth-century study of the nature of sexual desire between men. The work of Oosterhuis has provided a significant advance in the area of “who knew what when” in relation to sexology and shows the value of approaches that link well-known cultural texts to individual experience.

Keywords: Michel Foucault; history; sexuality; Harry Oosterhuis; Richard von Krafft-Ebing; sexual desire; men; sexology

Chapter.  8363 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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