Of all the books I bought in 2007, I’m happiest with Rationale of the Dirty Joke: An Analysis of Sexual Humor (1968) by Gershon Legman. I’ve reported on the book here and here. Yesterday evening I was reading the jokes on marriage and was alerted to Legman’s use of the term sex-hatred so I googled for it and found a very funny imaginary phonecall between Mr. Gershon Legman and “Fredric Wertham” (Ethan Persoff) partly quoted here:
“Now where was I? Oh, yes. It is no accident that the end of Restoration bawdry coincided precisely with the fullest flowering of literary sadism in England. The Elizabethans had wrung blood in plenty out of sex — in Romeo and Juliet, a ‘love’-play, seven of the characters are carted off dead — but there was no dearth of lust. Times change. The elegant eighteenth-century littérateurs, Johnson and Pope, are famous equally for the sexual purity of their writing, the sadistic cruelty of their speech. Sex being forbidden, violence took its place.”
In the early 1970s, Germaine Greer would elaborate on Legman’s sex-hatred by coining the term cunt-hatred used in such essays such as “Lady love your cunt“. I love Greer.