Libertine London: Sex in the Eighteenth-Century Metropolis (Hardcover)

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An eye-opening and richly detailed history of women’s sexuality that upends entrenched perceptions of the long eighteenth century.
Libertine London investigates the sex lives of women throughout the period 1680 to 1830, known as the long eighteenth century. The book uncovers the various experiences of women, whether as mistresses, adultresses, or as participants in the sex trade. From renowned courtesans to downtrodden streetwalkers, it examines the multifaceted lives of these women within brothels, on stage, and even behind bars. Based on new research in court transcripts, asylum records, magazines, pamphlets, satires, songs, theater plays, and erotica, Libertine London reveals the gruesome treatment of women who were sexually active outside of marriage. Julie Peakman looks at sex from women’s points of view, undercutting the traditional image of the bawdy eighteenth century to expose a more sordid side, which often left women distressed, ostracized, and vilified for their sexual behavior.

About the Author

Julie Peakman is a historian and author of many books on the history of sexuality, including Amatory Pleasures: Explorations in Eighteenth-Century Sexual Cultures. She lives in London.

Praise For…

"A wide-ranging and richly illustrated guide to the fascinating sexual cultures of eighteenth-century London."
— Fara Dabhoiwala, author of "The Origins of Sex: A History of the First Sexual Revolution"

"The Georgians did not invent sex but they were the first to explore publicly all its permutations. To discover more, read Peakman's frank and enticing study."
— Penelope J. Corfield, emeritus professor, London University, and author of "The Georgians: The Deeds and Misdeeds of 18th-Century Britain"

"Libertine London is the story of sex in the capital from the Restoration to Jane Austen’s time. . . . The material is fascinating, if grotesque."
— Daily Telegraph

"It seems that eighteenth-century brothel owners had their own pre-Viagra cures for erectile dysfunction, aimed at men known as 'flogging cullies.' 'Flagellation was a fixation of the period. . . . The theory was a good flogging would increase the blood rush to the necessary parts,' notes historian Peakman in Libertine London: Sex in the Eighteenth-Century Metropolis. This clear-eyed study of the sex lives of women from 1680 to 1830 also notes that diarist Samuel Pepys, a man whose name is usually spoken in reverent terms as a literary giant, was 'a known groper.' That revelation didn’t seem to make it into his own diaries."
— Independent

Product Details
ISBN: 9781789148473
ISBN-10: 1789148472
Publisher: Reaktion Books
Publication Date: July 29th, 2024
Pages: 352
Language: English