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The Other Victorians: A Study of Sexuality and Pornography in Mid-Nineteenth-Century England

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The Other Victorians: A Study of Sexuality and Pornography in Mid-Nineteenth-Century England Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Taking as his point of departure the authors, the audience, and the texts of Victorian writings on sex in general and of Victorian pornography in particular, Steven Marcus offers a startling and revolutionary perspective on the underside of Victorian culture. The subjects dealt with in The Other Victorians are not only those to have been shocking in the Victorian period. The way these subjects were regarded - and the way our notions of the Victorians continue to change, as the efforts of contemporary scholarship restore them to their full historical dimensions - are matters today of some surprise and wonder. Making use, for the first time, of the extensive collection of Victoriana at the Kinsey Institute for Sex Research, Marcus first examines the writings of Dr. William Acton, who may be said to represent the official views of sexuality held by Victorian society, and of Henry Spencer Ashbee, the first and most important bibliographer-scholar of pornography. He then turns to the most significant work of its kind from the period, the eleven-volume anonymous autobiography My Secret Life. There follows an analysis of four pornographic Victorian novels - an analysis that throws an oblique but fascinating light on the classics of Victorian literature - and a review of the odd flood of Victorian publications devoted to flagellation. The book concludes with a chapter propounding a general theory of pornography as a sociological phenomenon. With the publication of The Other Victorians, understanding of this period took a giant stride forward. Most of the writers and writings discussed by Marcus belong to Victorian sub-literature rather than to literature proper; in this way the work remains connected to a consideration of the exotic sub-literature. A brilliantly written book in its own right, this work transformed the study of the Victorian period as did no other. Steven Marcus is George Delacorte Professor Emeritus in the Humanities at Columbia University and was Dean of Columbia University from 1993-1995. He is also the author of Dickens: From Pickwick to Dombey and Freud and the Culture of Psychoanalysis and has edited, together with Lionel Trilling, the one-volume edition of Ernest Joness The Life and Works of Sigmund Freud. His essays and reviews have appeared in many periodicals, including Commentary, The New York Review of Books, Partisan Review, and The New Statesman.

Book News Annotation:

Marcus (emeritus, humanities, Columbia U.) contributes a new preface outlining how the status of women and their sexuality has changed in Western society since his study was first published by Basic Books in 1966; he does not acknowledge how much this classic work altered the modern conception of the Victorians. He samples and analyzes some of the naughty books--no pictures--of people once thought to be straight-laced and proper to a fault. Annotation ©2009 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Product Details

ISBN:
9781412808194
Author:
Marcus, Steven
Publisher:
Transaction Publishers
Subject:
English literature
Subject:
History
Subject:
Pornography
Subject:
Europe - Great Britain - General
Subject:
Modern - 19th Century
Subject:
Sex in literature
Subject:
English literature -- 19th century.
Subject:
Gender Studies-Pornography
Publication Date:
20080931
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Pages:
292
Dimensions:
9.06x6.01x.95 in. 1.03 lbs.

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Europe » Great Britain » General History
History and Social Science » Gender Studies » Pornography
History and Social Science » World History » 1650 to Present
History and Social Science » World History » England » General
History and Social Science » World History » General

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