Crime, Desire and Law's Unconscious: Law, Literature and Culture by David Gurnham, published by Routledge.
Sex and sexuality, and the dangers associated with them, provoke contradictory and ambivalent reactions including fascination, fear, revulsion and excitement. Such ambivalences are well-known stimulants of both creative and juridical activity, which in different ways respond to the problems of people whose sexual behaviors fail to conform to acceptable norms and limits. It is such breaches of acceptability - regarding reckless disease transmission, sexual exploitation and consensual sadomasochism - and the reactions they provoke, that are the core themes of this book. By way of a novel application of theory that draws from psychoanalysis, post-colonialism and feminism, the book examines ways in which the creation of danger and the infliction of harm through sexual behavior are responded to in the criminal courts, in literature and in the wider culture. Presenting analysis of legal judgments in England, Australia, Canada and the United States, and literary texts by Shakespeare, the Marquis de Sade, J.G. Ballard and Susanna Moore, the book argues that punitive and condemnatory reactions to illegal and dangerous sexual practices repress conflicting and troubling unconscious desires.
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