But Riotous Flesh is less successful at explaining the rapidity of the shift in women's antimasturbation discourse away from interracial cooperation and the critique of passionlessness
, and toward a more restrictive vision of gender and race that re-embraced the doctrine of women's purity and abandoned the abolitionist cause.
60) Passionlessness, as Evagrius describes it, is not an all-or-nothing state; there are degrees.
Purity is passionlessness of the reasonable soul but seeing God is true knowledge of the one essence of the adorable Trinity, which those will see who have perfected their conduct here and through the commandments purified their souls.
He says that the soldier who by struggle has attained the good is the same as the child who retains the good implanted in our nature by God at the beginning, which represents the state of innocence and passionlessness
that existed in paradise before the Fall.
The licensed rapacity of the individual is premised on the sublimated passionlessness
of the State, its bureaucratized altruism.
In contrast to historians in the twentieth century, who have argued that the passionlessness
ideal gave women a great deal of cultural power or that it was seldom internalized and had little impact on their lives, nineteenth-century Free Lovers insisted that it was an essential prop in a system that estranged women from their true identities.
Such assertions of detachment, however, may seem like empty boasts, and the poem enlists the test case of the crowd in order to exemplify the poet's passionlessness
in the face of centuries of institutionalized rape and sexual coercion," duCille observes, literary passionlessness
"negated a negative; it endowed virtue to the historically virtueless" (31-32).
Cather's portrait is made possible by a new set of sexual mores that emerged within the first two decades of the twentieth century, as the ideology of female passionlessness
was gradually supplanted by the popularization of a psychoanalytic discourse that, in Barbara Hobson's words, gave credence to "the notion that women could enjoy sex and experience sexual ecstasy and sexual intimacy in marriage, separate from procreation" (185).
9) The authors of Victorian marital advice literature extolled the virtues of passionlessness
, juxtaposing women's natural self-control with men's innate carnality.
male emotionality in the period, going beyond the superficial references to the imagery of passionlessness
, mines this vein as well.