Sex before Sexuality: A Premodern History (review)

Sex before Sexuality: A Premodern History (review) Reviews 239 In balancing the use of fiction, philosophy, and historical records, Noble's work bears out Marshall Sahlins's notion that `cannibalism is always "symbolic" even when it is "real"' (p. 8). Indeed, it is this notion that helps Noble overcome what was undoubtedly the biggest conceptual hurdle for the work: establishing a convincing analogy between early modern discussions of the usage of mumia and modern medical practices that make use of harvested human materials. Unfortunately, the author seems very hesitant to offer any substantial arguments regarding what, in the end, the early modern analogy might actually offer the modern bioethicist. The reader's disappointment in this regard is heightened, not by the weakness of the case, but by the success with which Noble establishes the potential relationships between these early modern practices and modern concerns.To great effect throughout the work, she regularly compares and contrasts the historical and early modern fictional accounts with reports of modern cases of cannibalism and organ trade, and contemporary fictional depictions such as the infamous `Scott Tenorman Must Die' episode of the adult cartoon series South Park (p. 39). In this way, the author used the analogy of early modern medicinal cannibalism to the http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Parergon Australian & New Zealand Association of Medieval & Early Modern Studies, Inc. (ANAZAMEMS, Inc.)

Sex before Sexuality: A Premodern History (review)

Parergon, Volume 29 (1) – Aug 8, 2012

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Publisher
Australian & New Zealand Association of Medieval & Early Modern Studies, Inc. (ANAZAMEMS, Inc.)
Copyright
Copyright © The author
ISSN
1832-8334
Publisher site
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Abstract

Reviews 239 In balancing the use of fiction, philosophy, and historical records, Noble's work bears out Marshall Sahlins's notion that `cannibalism is always "symbolic" even when it is "real"' (p. 8). Indeed, it is this notion that helps Noble overcome what was undoubtedly the biggest conceptual hurdle for the work: establishing a convincing analogy between early modern discussions of the usage of mumia and modern medical practices that make use of harvested human materials. Unfortunately, the author seems very hesitant to offer any substantial arguments regarding what, in the end, the early modern analogy might actually offer the modern bioethicist. The reader's disappointment in this regard is heightened, not by the weakness of the case, but by the success with which Noble establishes the potential relationships between these early modern practices and modern concerns.To great effect throughout the work, she regularly compares and contrasts the historical and early modern fictional accounts with reports of modern cases of cannibalism and organ trade, and contemporary fictional depictions such as the infamous `Scott Tenorman Must Die' episode of the adult cartoon series South Park (p. 39). In this way, the author used the analogy of early modern medicinal cannibalism to the

Journal

ParergonAustralian & New Zealand Association of Medieval & Early Modern Studies, Inc. (ANAZAMEMS, Inc.)

Published: Aug 8, 2012

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