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Hard Core: Power, Pleasure, and the "Frenzy of the Visible" (1989) - Linda Williams

Related: Linda Williams - academic study of pornography - hardcore - 1989 - non-fiction - pornographic film

Hard Core: Power, Pleasure, and the "Frenzy of the Visible" (1989) - Linda Williams [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

This text is generally held to be the first academic study of pornography and a blueprint for the porn studies field that was to follow. It was published one year before Camille Paglia's Sexual Personae, another important book in post-feminism. [Aug 2006]


In academic prose, film professor Williams of the University of California offers a graphic analysis of hard-core porno movies such as Deep Throat, as well as early, anonymous stag flicks. She finds that the newer, "softer" X-rated rental videos "show a more genuinely adult quality" than earlier videos. She ponders the "utopian problem-solving intent" of the hard-core genre and makes specious comparisons between blue movies, Hollywood musicals and films like Dirty Dancing . Sadomasochistic porn films, she claims, let viewers experience "a clearer confrontation with the oscillating poles of our gendered identities and the role of power in them." A critic whose professed goal is to understand film pornography, and who opposes those who would censor it, Williams begins this obfuscating study by analyzing the portrayal of women in the 19th-century kinetoscope, prototype of the motion-picture projector. --Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.

TOC of the 1999 edition

For the 1999 edition, Williams has written a new preface and a new epilogue, "On/scenities," illustrated with 26 photographs, and has added a supplementary bibliography.

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