The Making of Victorian Sexuality

The Making of Victorian Sexuality

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Description

What did the Victorians think about sex? What was the reality of their sexual behaviour? What wider concepts - biological, political, religious - influenced their sexual moralism? The Making of Victorian Sexuality directly confronts one of the most persistent cliches of modern times. Drawing on an exceptionally wide range of evidence about 19th-century behaviour and opinion - from modern demographic analysis to the travel writing of foreign visitors, and from popular medicine to Malthusian polemic - Michael Mason shows how much of our perception of 19th-century sexual culture is simply wrong. Far from being a licence for prudery and hypocrisy, Victorian sexual moralism is shown to be in reality a code intelligently embraced by wealthy and poor alike as part of a human and progressive vision of society's future. The "Average" Victorian man, for example, was not necessarily the church-going, tyrannical, secretly lecherous, bourgeois pater familias of modern-day legend, but often an agnostic, radical-minded, sexually continent citizen, with a deliberately restricted number of children. A lively and fascinating synthesis of a wealth of new research. The Making of Victorian Sexuality is a timely disruption of our present comfortable consensus on nineteenth-century society. Moreover, it persuasively argues that in Victorian sexual moralism there may be much to teach the complacently libertarian 20th century.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 348 pages
  • 130.6 x 196.3 x 25.1mm | 258.94g
  • Oxford University Press
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Revised ed.
  • 0192853120
  • 9780192853127
  • 1,657,032

Review quote

According to our modern stereotype,the Victorians were much less good at sex than we were. They were hagridden by guilt and inhibition. Wives were denied sexual satisfaction on principle. Husbands flocked to prostitutes for pleasures unavailable in their cold marriage beds...Michael Mason consigns most of these ideas to the dustbin...no prospective pontificators about Victorianism will safely neglect this rich and challenging book. * John Carey, Sunday Times *show more

About Michael Mason

Michael Mason has edited the Oxford Authors edition of William Blake (OPB, 1988), and is Wordsworth and Coleridge: Lyrical Ballads (Longman, 1992), and Trollope: Miscellaneous Essays and Reviews (Arno 1981). He lives in Oxford.show more

Back cover copy

The Making of Victorian Sexuality directly confronts one of the most persistent cliches of modern times. Drawing on an exceptionally wide range of evidence about nineteenth-century behaviour and opinion - from modern demographic analysis to the travel writing of foreign visitors, and from popular medicine to Malthusian polemic - Michael Mason shows how much of our perception of nineteenth-century sexual culture is simply wrong. Far from being a licence for prudery and hypocrisy, Victorian sexual moralism is shown to be in reality a code intelligently embraced by wealthy and poor alike as part of a humane and progressive vision of society's future. The average Victorian man, for example, was not necessarily the church-going, tyrannical, secretly lecherous, bourgeois pater familias of modern-day legend, but often an agnostic, radical-minded, sexually continent citizen, with a deliberately restricted number of children. The Making of Victorian Sexuality is a timely disruption of our present comfortable consensus on nineteenth-century society. Moreover, it persuasively argues that in Victorian sexual moralism, there may be much to teach the complacently libertarian twentieth century.show more

Rating details

24 ratings
3.7 out of 5 stars
5 25% (6)
4 33% (8)
3 29% (7)
2 12% (3)
1 0% (0)
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