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Victorian sexual moralism was real enough, but what was its nature? The Victorians are often called 'puritanical', with the implication that their sexual moralism was religiously based. It was opposed, we like to think, by freethinkers and progressives, and perhaps also by the working class.
Michael Mason has already pointed to the fallacy of such views in his previous volume, The Making of Victorian Sexuality. Here he develops his revisionist account of Victorian sexual ideology and shows that to be 'Victorian' about sex was actually, in its day, to be progressive, optimistic, and modern-minded. Religious beliefs, even in militant form, were only a support for an essentially secular ideal. The Victorian anti-sensual coalition did break down at the end of the century, but the liberationists were old-fashioned reformers, who were often bitterly resisted by, for example, socialists and feminists.
This novel and provocative analysis is developed in a series of detailed portraits of crucial movements, episodes, and individuals: the Swedenborgians, Henry James Prince, 'Baron' Renton Nicholson, the 'Vice Society', prostitute rescue, Owenism, neo-Malthusianism, and many more. A formidable array of evidence is assembled for views which strike at the root of conventional wisdom about the English nineteenth century.
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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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Book Description Oxford University Press, USA, 1994. Hardcover. Condition: New. Seller Inventory # DADAX0198122926
Book Description Oxford University Press, 1994. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0198122926