Sexual Symmetry. Love in the Ancient Novel and Related Genres.
Princeton University Press, Princeton, 1994. XIII,270p. Origninal blue gilt stamped cloth with dust wrps. 'This is really a book with a single idea, developed from the last chapter of Foucault's 'Le souci de soi': the novels uniquely present a new erotics of symmetrical love between equals, marked by the absence of the classical dimorphism of sexual roles, and collapsing the classical antithesis between passionate love and stable marriage. This theme is pursued in both its positive and negative aspects through a series of chapters to a speculative conclusion on the reasons for the emergence of this erotic model in the Hellenistic and Roman periods. (...) The final chapter is a provocative attempt to interpret the evidence. In contrast to Foucault, K. argues that the erotic system of the novels is a purely literary construction, not mimetic of social reality. Rather it is an encoded expression of the possibilities of self-definition against different reference points in the non-communal world that succeeded the collapse of the classical 'polis'. K., that is to say, ends up, with a view of the novel as Hellenistic myth close to that of Perry and Reardon. (...) Historians of sexuality may well feel that K. has added little new to Foucault, or even lost the subtlety of his mercurial thought, but the books primary appeal will be to students of the novels, and they will find it a lucid and stimulating examination of one aspect of these intriguing works.' (J.R. MORGAN in The Classical Review (New Series), pp.270-72).