Joan DeJean  

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"Malesherbes’s usage of the term “obscenity” attests to the currency the concept had gained in France by the mid eighteenth century. As Joan DeJean has demonstrated [in The Reinvention of Obscenity], obscenity emerged as a category during the second half of the seventeenth century, following the 1655 publication of L’École des filles, ou la philosophie des dames, the first obscene prose work to appear in French and the inaugural text of the new genre of erotic “philosophy.” The sexually explicit work was deemed unacceptable." --A Monster for Our Times: Reading Sade across the Centuries[1] (2011) is a tex by Matthew Bridge.

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Professor Joan DeJean is Professor of French in the Department of Romance Languages best-known for her book The Reinvention of Obscenity : Sex, Lies, and Tabloids in Early Modern France. Her areas of research include 17th- and 18th-century French literature, the history of women's writing in France, the history of sexuality, the development of the novel, and the cultural history of late 17th- and early 18th-century France. She is the author of more than five books, including Ancients Against Moderns: Culture Wars and the Making of a Fin de Siècle, which was a finalist for the prestigious James Russell Lowell Prize of the Modern Language Association in 1998.


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