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Sex Expression and American Women Writers 1860–1940$
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Dale M. Bauer

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780807832301

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807887691_bauer

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(p.1) Introduction
Sex Expression and American Women Writers 1860–1940

Dale M. Bauer

University of North Carolina Press

This book begins with a discussion of Mary Austin's treatise on how women might understand “the great adventure of sex life” in the twentieth century: Love and the Soul Maker. In explaining the modernization of sexuality, including the moral values associated with love and the emergence of women's sex expression, Austin uses such phrases as sex behaviors, sex experience, sex rationalism, and others to devise a new rhetoric of sexuality. She was not alone in using these phrases, of which only “sex appeal” seems to have survived. The term “sex expression” was thus introduced into the cultural lexicon as a means of describing this radical upheaval in sex imagination, a new discourse that corresponded to the visual signs of women's signifying on the body and putting on style, a discourse that belonged to expressive culture rather than to nature or the marketplace.

Keywords:   Mary Austin, sex life, modernization of sexuality, moral values, sex expression

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