Synopses & Reviews
Placing sexual culture at the center of power relations in Revolutionary-era Philadelphia, Lyons uncovers a world where sexuality became the vehicle for exploring currents of liberty, freedom, and individualism in the politics of everyday life among groups of early Americans typically excluded from formal systems of governance--women, African Americans, and poor classes of whites. Reading popular representations of sex against actual behavior, Lyons reveals the clash of meanings given to sex and illuminates struggles to recast sexuality in order to eliminate its subversive potential.
"Lyons's provocative study illuminates a surprising post-Revolutionary world."
Kathleen M. Brown, University of Pennsylvania
"Required reading for anyone who wants to understand the foundations of modern sexuality."
Suzanne D. Lebsock, Rutgers University
"[A] bold, wide-ranging, and deeply researched book. . . . Refreshingly, it places at the center of analysis the issues of desire and pleasure. . . . The heroes of this book are lusty women shaping their own destinies, satisfying their desires, and pursuing sexual pleasure. . . . Placing provocative interpretations on the table, [it] succeeds admirably."
Journal of Interdisciplinary History
"Social history of the highest quality."
Early American Literature
"Comprehensive. . . .Meticulous archival work and inventive interpretive strategies."
-- Early American Literature
"An impressive scholarly accomplishment. . . . So engaging and intriguing that, after four hundred pages, the reader wants more."
"Masters the unstable terrain of sexualities and power relations, and gives readers a new, compelling, and politically significant way to understand the transformations underway in the age of revolutions."
-- Journal of the Early Republic
"Important and comprehensive . . . likely to become the major point of reference for anyone studying sexual practices and gender politics during the founding of the American republic."
"The book brims over with a brilliant fusion of social, cultural, and intellectual history."
Gary B. Nash, University of California at Los Angeles
About the Author
Clare A. Lyons is associate professor of history at the University of Maryland.