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Seminar Questions

  • Was there a change in sexual attitudes at the end of the nineteenth century?
  • Why is the late nineteenth century considered to be the moment of the 'making of the modern homosexual'?
  • What is 'queer history'?
  • How prevalent was domestic violence in Victorian Britain? How was it perceived and dealt with?


Key Reading

Modern Records Centre digitised resources on Sexuality and Morality :

  • Doc 1: Some present day facts about birth control, 1929
  • Doc 2: To our men comrades, 1928

Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1885

Helena Michie, Victorian Honeymoons (Cambridge University Press, 2009) chp 3 'carnal knowledges'.

Chiara Beccalossi,Female Sexual Inversion (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011) 'Part 2 Britain: Oblique Discourses Surrounding ‘Lesbic Love’.

Kate Thomas, Postal Pleasures: Sex, Scandal, and Victorian Letters (Oxford Scholarship Online, 2011) chp 1. 'Postal Digressions: Mail and Sexual Scandal'.

Further Reading

Nina Auerbach and David J. Skal, Dracula : authoritative text, contexts, reviews and reactions, dramatic and film variations, criticism (1997)

Lucy Bland, Banishing the Beast: English Feminism and Sexual Morality

Glennis Byron, Dracula : Bram Stoker (1999)

Harry Cocks and Matt Houlbrook, Palgrave Advances in the History of Sexuality

Harry Cocks, Nameless Offences

Harry Cocks, 'Modernity and the self in the history of sexuality', Historical Journal, 49 (2006) [Review article]

Anna Clarke, Women's Silence, Men's Violence: Sexual Assault in England, 1770-1845

D'Cruze, Shani. Crimes of Outrage: Sex, Violence and Victorian Working Women

D'Cruze, Shani. Everyday Violence in Britain, 1850-1950: Gender and Class

M Foucault, The History of Sexuality

Emma Griffin, 'Sex, illegitimacy and social change in industrialisation Britain', Social History, 2013

Lesley A. Hall, Sex, Gender and Social Change in Britain since 1880

S.Hamilton, 'Making History with Frances Power Cobbe: Victorian Feminism, Domestic Violence and the Language of Imperialism', Victorian Studies, 43, 3 (2001)

Jerrold E. Hogle, The Cambridge Companion to the Modern Gothic (2014), sections 1 and 2 especially.

Philippa Levine, 'Sexuality and Empire' in Catherine Hall and Sonja Rose, At home with the Empire

Michael Mason, The Making of Victorian Sexuality

Jon Stobart, 'The local demography of deviance : crime, illegitimacy and prostitution in Britain 1700-2000', Local Population Studies, 80 (2008)

J Tosh, A Man’s Place

See also Susie Steinbach, Women in England, 1760-1914, chapter 4

Journal of British Studies, 51 (2012) Special issue 'Queering British history' Articles by Lewis, Weeks and Hindmarch-Watson

Women's History Review, 25 (2016) Special Issue Love, Desire and Melancholy. Articles by Lloyd and Hall


A Harlots Progress