Roman Charity

Queer Lactations in Early Modern Visual Culture

Jutta Gisela Sperling

Transcript-Verlag

Roman Charity

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Pub Date: February 2017

ISBN: 9783837632842

430 Pages

Format: Paperback

List Price: $55.00

Roman Charity

Queer Lactations in Early Modern Visual Culture

Jutta Gisela Sperling

Transcript-Verlag

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The ancient stories of Pero, who breastfed her father, and of the unnamed Roman daughter who breastfed her mother, were of tremendous interest to artists and their audiences from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment. The Roman Charity investigates the iconography of the breastfeeding daughter from the perspective of queer sexuality and erotic maternity. The book explores the popularity of a topic that renders modern viewers uneasy, but appealed to early modern observers for its eroticizing shock value, its ironic take on the venerable concept of charity, and its implied critique of patriarchal power structures. It tries to understand why and how early modern viewers found an incestuous adult breastfeeding scene "good to think with," and aims at expanding and queering our notions of early modern sexuality.

About the Author

Jutta Gisela Sperling teaches early modern history at Hampshire College. Her research interests include convent studies, comparative legal studies in the Mediterranean, and early modern lactation imagery.