Sculpture, Sexuality and History

Encounters in Literature, Culture and the Arts from the Eighteenth Century to the Present

  • Jana Funke
  • Jen Grove

Part of the Genders and Sexualities in History book series (GSX)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xviii
  2. The Desire for the Living Statue and the Desire for the Past

  3. Sculptural Decency: Reception, Censorship and Liberation

  4. Queer Possibilities of Statuary

  5. Back Matter
    Pages 269-280

About this book


This book investigates the wide-ranging connections between sculpture, sexuality, and history in Western culture from the eighteenth century to the present. Sculpture has offered a privileged site for the articulation of sexual experience and the formation of sexual knowledge. As historical objects, sculptures also draw attention to the different ways in which knowledge about sexuality is facilitated through an engagement with the past. Bringing together contributors from across disciplines, including art history, classics, film studies, gender studies, history, literary studies, museum studies, queer theory and reception studies, the volume presents original readings of sculptural art in relation to antiquarianism, aesthetics, collecting cultures, censorship and obscenity, psychoanalysis, sexology, and the experience and regulation of museum spaces. It examines how sculptural encounters were imagined and articulated in literature, painting, film and science. As a whole, the book opens up a new understanding of the ways in which sculptures, as real or imagined objects, have fundamentally shaped approaches to and receptions of the past in relation to sex, gender and sexuality.

Chapters 8 and 10 of this book are available open access under a CC BY 4.0 license at


Sexual knowledge Morality Erotic art Statuary Material culture

Editors and affiliations

  • Jana Funke
    • 1
  • Jen Grove
    • 2
  1. 1.University of ExeterExeterUK
  2. 2.University of ExeterExeterUK

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2019
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, Cham
  • eBook Packages History History (R0)
  • Print ISBN 978-3-319-95839-2
  • Online ISBN 978-3-319-95840-8
  • Buy this book on publisher's site