The Making of Victorian Sexuality

Paperback | April 1, 1995

byMichael Mason

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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 popularmedicine 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 ofa 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 deliberatelyrestricted 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 thecomplacently libertarian 20th century.

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From Our Editors

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 - Michae...

From the Publisher

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 evid...

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.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:348 pages, 7.72 × 5.08 × 0.87 inPublished:April 1, 1995Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0192853120

ISBN - 13:9780192853127

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From Our Editors

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 persuasivel

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'Michael Mason has made a welcome addition to the literature.'Times Literary Supplement