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tutor: Laura Schwartz

In this week’s session we will explore the relationship between class, gender and sexuality using Victorian Britain as a case study. We will focus on two specific events: the Contagious Diseases Acts of 1864, 1866 and 1869 and the Trials of Oscar Wilde in 1895, to see how discourses of class and sex were interwoven. We will then think more broadly about what these moments tells us about contemporary attitudes and experiences.

Seminar questions:

What do the trials of Oscar Wilde tell us about Victorian attitudes towards class and homosexuality?

Why was prostitution seen as ‘The Great Social Evil in Victorian Britain?’

Was ‘Victorian morality’ common to all social classes?

Core readings:

Anne Summers, ‘"The Constitution Violated": The Female Body and the Female Subject in the Campaigns of Josephine Butler’, History Workshop Journal, 48 (1999), 1-15.

Dominic Janes, ‘Oscar Wilde, Sodomy, and Mental Illness in Late Victorian England’, Journal of the History of Sexuality, 23 (2014), 79-95.

Simon Szreter (1996) Victorian Britain, 1831–1963: towards a social history of sexuality, Journal of Victorian Culture, 1 (1996), 136-149.

Judith Walkowitz, "The Maiden Tribute of Modern Babylon" from City of Dreadful Delight.

Further Readings:

Nina Altwood, The Prostitute's Body: Rewriting Prostitution in Victorian Britain, London: Pickering and Chatto, 2011.

Françoise Barret-Ducrocq, Love in the Time of Victoria: Sexuality, Class and Gender in Nineteenth Century London, London: Verso, 1991.

Alison Bashford, Purity and Pollution. Gender, Embodiment and Victorian Medicine Basingstoke/New York: Palgrave/Macmillan, 1998.

Paula Bartley, Prostitution: Prevention and Reform in Britain, 1860-1914, London: Routledge, 1999.

Lucy Bland, Banishing the Beast: English Feminism and Sexual Morality, 1885-1914, London: Penguin, 1995.

Sean Brady, Masculinity and Male Homosexuality in Britain, 1861-1913, New York/Basingstoke: Palgrave/Macmillan, 2005.

Harry Cocks, Nameless Offences: Homosexual Desire in the 19th Century, London: I B Tauris, 2003.

Harry G. Cocks and Matt Houlbrook, Palgrave Advances in the Modern History of Sexuality, Basingstoke: Palgrave/Macmillan, 2006.

Hera Cook, The Long Sexual Revolution: English Women, Sex, and Contraception 1800-1975, Oxford University Press, 2004.

Matt Cook, London and the Culture of Homosexuality, 1885-1914, Cambridge University Press, 2003.

Shani D'Cruze, Crimes of Outrage: Sex, violence and Victorian working women, London: UCL Press, 1998.

Michael S. Foldy, The Trials of Oscar Wilde. Deviance, Morality and Late Victorian Society, New Haven/London: Yale University Press, 1997.

Ginger Frost, ‘'The Black Lamb of the Black Sheep': Illegitimacy in the English Working Class, 1850-1939’, Journal of Social History. 37 (2003), 293-322.

Louise A. Jackson, Child Sexual Abuse in Victorian England, London: Routledge, 2000

Morris Kaplan, Sodom on the Thames: Sex, Love, and Scandal in Wilde Times, Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2005.

Seth Koven, Slumming: Sexual and Social Politics in Victorian London, Princeton University Press, 2004.

Catherine Lee, Policing Prostitution, 1856-1886: Deviance, Surveillance and Morality, London: Pickering and Chatto, 2012.

Angus McLaren, The Trials of Masculinity: Policing Sexual Boundaries, 1870-1930, University of Chicago Press, 1997.

George Robb and Nancy Erber (eds), Disorder in the Court: Trials and Sexual Conflict at the Turn of the Century, New York University Press, 1999.

Simon Szreter, Fertility, Class and Gender in Britain, 1860-1940, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996.

Charles Upchurch, Before Wilde: Sex between Men in Britain's Age of Reform (Berkeley CA: University of California Press, 2009).

Judith R. Walkowitz, City of Dreadful Delight: Narratives of Sexual Danger in Late-Victorian London, University of Chicago Press, 1992.