Unauthorized Pleasures: Accounts of Victorian Erotic Experience (Paperback)

Unauthorized Pleasures: Accounts of Victorian Erotic Experience By Ellen Bayuk Rosenman Cover Image

Unauthorized Pleasures: Accounts of Victorian Erotic Experience (Paperback)


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Recent books and exhibitions have shown that Victorians were not so straitlaced about sexual matters as has been popularly assumed. Ellen Bayuk Rosenman's engrossing and enlightening book proves that the Victorians were extraordinarily articulate and resourceful when it came to expressing their sexual desires. Narratives of erotic experience were written, justified to the conservative culture, and circulated for the pleasure of readers. Rosenman's exploration of masculinity and femininity in Victorian sexual storytelling includes an account of the "spermatorrhea panic" that terrified the men of Britain, tells of Theresa Longworth's erotic revisions of the romance plot, and takes up the exhaustive, even exhausting, pornographic epic My Secret Life. Drawing on social history, court cases, medical literature, popular novels, and the diaries and letters of everyday life, Rosenman looks beyond the usual sexual suspects--homosexuals and prostitutes, for example--to address a range of pleasures that emerged from the ideological structures meant to contain them. She asserts that, however powerful ideology is, it does not script erotic repertoires in definitive or predictable ways, and that individuals can find ways of evading or easing its constraints.

Ellen Bayuk Rosenman is Professor and Chair, Department of English, University of Kentucky. She is the author of The Invisible Presence: Virginia Woolf and the Mother-Daughter Relationship and A Room of One's Own: Women Writers and the Politics of Creativity.
Product Details ISBN: 9780801488566
ISBN-10: 0801488567
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Publication Date: April 14th, 2003
Pages: 248
Language: English