Strange Antics

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What to expect

When is seduction about more than just sex? In this brilliantly original history, Clement Knox explores these questions as well as the philosophy, legality, politics, art and literature of a force that underwrites our world.

In the first history of its kind, Clement Knox reassesses our idea of seduction in a narrative that moves from Casanova’s pursuit of pleasure, to America’s racialised seduction laws, to the Nazi propaganda designed to stoke sexual panic, and up to #MeToo.

Modern, big-thinking and enormously entertaining, Knox offers an extraordinary range of stories to chart the many guises of seduction, showing that our ideas about desire, courtship, and power have always developed in step with a changing world.

Critics Review

  • ‘Clement Knox has mastered the art of reader seduction with his intriguing and expertly woven web of gripping stories and insights. Strange Antics will hold the reader in its thrall’
    Hallie Rubenhold, author of The Five

    ‘Erudite yet engaging … Though ambitious in its scope it is endlessly surprising in the individual stories it unearths. I found this Pandora’s box of sexual mores through the ages both thought-provoking and hugely entertaining’
    Cathy Newman

    ‘Big and bold … His history of seduction examines a variety of narratives from scandalous memoirs to legal procedure … Impressive … There is much to praise here’
    Sunday Times

    ‘A work of narrative nonfiction à la mode. Each chapter focuses on a single individual … Their lives and work are then used to elucidate the grander historical narrative … A blistering finale, drawing together themes of sexual politics, economics, law and the ordinary human desire for love and companionship into a vision of our present condition’

    ‘Seduction is the subject of films and fiction, legal cases and human resources headaches – and yet its history has never been written. Knox rectifies this omission with this absorbing account … Erudite and above all entertaining’

    ‘There is much to enjoy in Clement Knox’s ambitious first work … He writes with passion and insight.’
    i Newspaper

    ‘A capacious new history of seduction … Produces a clutch of vivid biographical portraits and offers a pacey introduction to some canonical texts.’

    ‘Rich history … Full of punchy political insight … Satisfying and interesting … And full of share-worthy anecdotes.’
    Daily Telegraph

    ‘Fascinating …Knox is a natural biographer with a flair for unveiling startling anecdotes with evident relish … Exhilarating’
    New Statesman

    ‘Extensive and entertaining’
    Literary Review

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