- STAFF PICKS
- GIFTS + GIFT CARDS
- SELL BOOKS
- FIND A STORE
New Trade Paper
Ships in 1 to 3 days
available for shipping or prepaid pickup only
Available for In-store Pickup
in 7 to 12 days
More copies of this ISBN
Other titles in the Women in Culture & Society series:
City of Dreadful Delight: Narratives of Sexual Danger in Late-Victorian London (Women in Culture & Society)by Judith R. Walkowitz
Synopses & Reviews
From tabloid exposes of child prostitution to the grisly tales of Jack the Ripper, narratives of sexual danger pulsated through Victorian London. Expertly blending social history and cultural criticism, Judith Walkowitz shows how these narratives reveal the complex dramas of power, politics, and sexuality that were being played out in late nineteenth-century Britain, and how they influenced the language of politics, journalism, and fiction.
Victorian London was a world where long-standing traditions of class and gender were challenged by a range of public spectacles, mass media scandals, new commercial spaces, and a proliferation of new sexual categories and identities. In the midst of this changing culture, women of many classes challenged the traditional privileges of elite males and
asserted their presence in the public domain.
An important catalyst in this conflict, argues Walkowitz, was W. T. Stead's widely read 1885 article about child prostitution. Capitalizing on the uproar caused by the piece and the volatile political climate of the time, women spoke of sexual danger, articulating their own grievances against men, inserting themselves into the public discussion of sex to an unprecedented extent, and gaining new entree to public spaces and journalistic practices. The ultimate manifestation of class anxiety and gender antagonism came in 1888 with the tabloid tales of Jack the Ripper. In between, there were quotidien stories of sexual possibility and urban adventure, and Walkowitz examines them all, showing how women were not simply figures in the imaginary landscape of male spectators, but also central actors in the stories of metropolotin life that reverberated in courtrooms, learned journals, drawing rooms, street corners, and in the letters columns of the daily press.
A model of cultural history, this ambitious book will stimulate and enlighten readers across a broad range of interests.
The year 1900, fin de siand#232;cle, in Europe evokes polar thoughts: on the one hand, sensational slashers and femmes fatales, destitute and dangerous new urban districts, criminal violence and sexual excess; on the other, science and reason triumphant, a near arrogant confidence in progress, the emergence of new expert knowledge. The tensions between these poles take on the character of a single myth, a story of origins, essences, and destinies that Scott Spector tells through a focus on Vienna and Berlin. Together, these two cities stand for the and#147;New Metropolis,and#8221; crucial sites in the development of modern conceptions of gender and sexuality, also of political emancipation movements these conceptions inspired. Vienna and Berlin witnessed the birth of the science of sexology, the earliest articulations of homosexuality as an identity, the concomitant movement to abolish persecution of sexual minorities, and the and#147;first-waveand#8221; feminisms of the turn of the century. These cities also, and simultaneously became host to fantasies of violence associated with liminal figures: the pervasive image of the dangerous and erotic femme fatale, reports and fictions of sexual murder, along with the violent underworld of prostitution, and the surprising and forceful reemergence of the blood libel, representations of homosexual rings or secret associations. Spector shows how these prurient fantasies were given life in high culture (literature and philosophy), science (especially sexology, urban sociology, and criminology), and popular culture (including pulp novels as well as sensational court cases reported in the popular press). Among the characters populating Spectorand#8217;s account are Karl Heinrich Ulrichs (homosexual emancipation leader), Karl Kraus (playwright, poet, satirist), Otto Weininger (misogynist, anti-Semitic medical philosopher), Robert Musil (master novelist of violent fantasy), Rosa Mayreder, and other feminists, and Georg Simmel (sociologist of the city). As a contribution to modernist studies and European cultural history, Spectorand#8217;s book will win awards, and as a contribution to the history of sexuality, criminology, psychology, and ideas, it will find classroom use eventually. Itand#8217;s pathbreaking, and itand#8217;s great reading.
Around the turn of the twentieth century, Vienna and Berlin were centers of scientific knowledge, accompanied by a sense of triumphalism and confidence in progress. Yet they were also sites of fascination with urban decay, often focused on sexual and criminal deviants and the tales of violence surrounding them. Sensational media reports fed the prurient publicandrsquo;s hunger for stories from the criminal underworld: sadism, sexual murder, serial killings, accusations of Jewish ritual child murderandmdash;as well as male and female homosexuality.
In Violent Sensations, Scott Spector explores how the protagonists of these storiesandmdash;people at societyandrsquo;s marginsandmdash;were given new identities defined by the groundbreaking sciences of psychiatry, sexology, and criminology, and how this expert knowledge was then transmitted to an eager public by journalists covering court cases and police investigations. The book analyzes these sexual and criminal subjects on three levels: first, the expertise of scientists, doctors, lawyers, and scholars; second, the sensationalism of newspaper scandal and pulp fiction; and, third, the subjective ways that the figures themselves came to understand who they were. Throughout, Spector answers important questions about how fantasies of extreme depravity and bestiality figure into the central European self-image of cities as centers of progressive civilization, as well as the ways in which the sciences of social control emerged alongside the burgeoning emancipation of women and homosexuals.
Series Editor's ForewordAcknowledgmentsIntroductions1. Urban Spectatorship2. Contested Terrain: New Social Actors3. "The Maiden Tribute of Modern Babylon"4. "The Maiden Tribute": Cultural Consequences5. The Men and Women's Clu (6. Science and the Seance: Transgressions of Gender and Genre7. Jack the RipperEpilogue: The Yorkshire RipperNotesSelected BibliographyIndex
Includes bibliographical references (p. 315-338) and index.
About the Author
Scott Spector is professor of history and German studies at the University of Michigan. He is the author of Prague Territories: National Conflict and Cultural Innovation in Franz Kafkaandrsquo;s Fin de Siandegrave;cle and coeditor of After the History of Sexuality.
Table of Contents
Series Editor's Foreword
1. Urban Spectatorship
2. Contested Terrain: New Social Actors
3. "The Maiden Tribute of Modern Babylon"
4. "The Maiden Tribute": Cultural Consequences
5. The Men and Women's Club
6. Science and the Sand#233;ance: Transgressions of Gender and Genre
7. Jack the Ripper
Epilogue: The Yorkshire Ripper
What Our Readers Are Saying
Other books you might like
History and Social Science » Crime » True Crime