Synopses & Reviews
There has been a great deal written on the secret longings and sexual hypocrisy of the Victorian era's upper crust, but almost nothing has chronicled the erotic desires and sexuality of London's working class. Now, in this painstakingly researched book, their touching and emotional stories can be told.
Using firsthand documents uncovered in the archives of a London foundling hospital, Barret-Ducrocq offers a marvelously acute census of Victorian sexual and moral attitudes.
Table of Contents
1. LABOURING CLASSES, DEPRAVED CLASSES
A Vast Hothouse of Sexual Immorality
The signs of immorality
Use of the Streets / Places of Amusement / Living Conditions: One-Room Dwellings and Sexual Licence
Characters in the family drama
The Head of the Family / Children / Young People / Women
The Natural History of Transgressions
The Reign of the Impure / Animality
2. THE FOUNDLING HOSPITAL
3. LOVE AND MARRIAGE
'My vile seducer has been the cause of four other young women's ruin
Casual Loves and Impossible Romances
'Female servants are far from being a virtuous class'
'Nice life this, for a girl of three and twenty, my Kerristian friends'
'Home, sweet home'
Temptations and Precautions
'As I was going to Chelsea one day, I met with a pretty girl on the way...'
Parents and Family / Friends and Workmates / Employers / A Very Discreet Courtship / 'There Was No Courtship or Promise of Marriage'
'Where they went to I never heard say...but when she returned, Mrs. Gray said she'd very much rumpl'd her muslin...'
Sex before Marriage / Promises of Marriage: 'He promised me marriage, they all do' / Love Nests, Love Traps / The Question of Consent
Words of love
'Now lost to all, her friends, her virtue fled...'
'He promised to marry her soon, but soon he forgot all about her...'
Posting Banns / Living in Sin: 'Before everything went wrong' / Abortion Attempts / 'I told him at which he seemed frightened' / 'He said he would see me through my trouble'
Seduced and abandoned
Family and friends
'No Sir, Missus don't permit no followers'
Rules of Sexual Morality