Love in the Time of Victoria: Sexuality, Class, and Gender in Nineteenth-Century London

Francoise Barret-Ducrocq, Author, Paul Foot, Author Verso $30 (225p) ISBN 978-0-86091-325-2
In the popular mind, the coarse, licentious working classes of Victorian England wallowed in sins of the flesh. A very different picture emerges, however, from the archives of London's Foundling Hospital, where French historian Barret-Ducrocq combed documents of unwed mothers releasing babies for adoption, love letters and testimonies. Although she found evidence aplenty of adultery, prostitution and concubinage, the bestial, anarchic behavior so often attributed to the laboring class is nowhere perceptible. In most cases, a prolonged ``graduated courtship'' preceded sex. Women and men upheld marriage as an ideal, with extramarital sex viewed as an ``arrangement'' for a certain stage of life. This highly readable narrative pulls back a curtain on Victorian sexuality, subverting the stereotyped images of prudish bourgeoisie and lewd lower class. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 07/01/1991
Release date: 07/01/1991
Paperback - 240 pages - 978-0-14-017326-0
Show other formats
FORMATS
Discover what to read next
TIP SHEET
MORE BOOKS YOU'D LIKE
X
X