Public City/Public Sex: Homosexuality, Prostitution,
and Urban Culture in Nineteenth-Century Paris
by Andrew Israel Ross
Temple U. Press. 286 pages, $34.95
THE CENTRAL THESIS of Public City/Public Sex is an interesting and original one. Andrew Israel Ross argues that the attention to and interdiction of men seeking sex with other men in 19th-century Paris (which previous scholars have noted and investigated) were part of a larger effort by French authorities to open up and sanitize the capital. They were also an attempt to deal with some of the unexpected consequences of that modernization.
Richard M. Berrong, professor of French literature at Kent State University, is the author of Pierre Loti(Critical Lives, 2018).