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Phallos (Paperback)

Historical Fiction

Imprint: Wesleyan University Press
Pages: 224
ISBN: 9780819573551
Published: 1st April 2013
Casemate UK Academic

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Phallos is a 2004 novel by the acclaimed novelist and critic Samuel R. Delany. Taking the form of a gay pornographic novella, with the explicit sex omitted, Phallos is set during the reign of the second-century Roman emperor Hadrian, and circles around the historical account of the murder of the emperor's favorite, Antinous. The story moves from Syracuse to Egypt, from the Pillars of Hercules to Rome, from Athens to Byzantium, and back. Young Neoptolomus searches after the stolen phallus of the nameless god of Hermopolis, crafted of gold and encrusted with jewels, within which are reputedly the ancient secrets of science and society that will lead to power, knowledge, and wealth. Vivid and clever, the original novella has been expanded by nearly a third. Appended to the text are an afterword by Robert F. Reid-Pharr and three astute speculative essays by Steven Shaviro, Kenneth R. James, and Darieck Scott.

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