About the book, from the publisher:
In 1857, a group of young people who had participated in an orgy in a private mansion were sentenced for contempt of public decency (outrage public à la pudeur) because a voyeur was able to watch them through a keyhole. For Marcela Iacub, the crux of such cases hinges on where the public ends and the private begins, and what one can reveal, and what one ought to hide.Marcela Iacub is a Jurist and Researcher at Centre de Recherches Historiques.
Today, the pudeur has disappeared from the French penal code to be replaced by Sex. But, far from being an epic story of hard-won freedom, Iacub demonstrates that the transformation techniques used by the State in the last two centuries have rendered sexuality into a spectacle and have conditioned our spaces, our clothes, our comportment and even some of our mental illnesses. In so doing, Iacub offers us a politico-legal history of the gaze.
Vinay Swamy is Associate Professor of French and Francophone Studies at Vassar College.