2:263–4). Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Epistemology of the Closet (Berkely: University of California Press, 1990). Other terms gained currency as the century proceeded, including "inverts" and "Uranians"; each term reflected a different conception of same-sex desire. Our summaries and analyses are written by experts, and your questions are answered by real teachers. Lately, evidence has shown that Victorian sex was not polarised between female distaste ('Lie back and think of England', as one mother is famously said to have counselled her anxious, newly married daughter) and extra-marital male indulgence. Oxford Bibliographies Online is available by subscription and perpetual access to institutions. Authors watched their words, favoring methods that allowed them to “represent sexuality as important to thinking about marriage, but not painting or inflecting the central marriage plot with an unseemly sexuality, ” Jarvis said. From the 1880s sexologists such as Richard von Kraft-Ebing and Havelock Ellis pioneered a science in which sexual preferences were analysed and categorised; they created terms including homosexuality, heterosexuality and nymphomaniac. Please subscribe or login. As such work shows, the Victorian period - in which the terms by which we now understand and live sexuality had not yet been invented - offers a critically liberating terrain with other ways of thinking about and understanding desire. The ultimate reason homosexuality was ignored and disliked was because it strayed away from the ideals of masculinity, the family life, and what it meant to be fundamentally British. Rather than being completely absent, however, homosexual desire and activity emerged in literature and in culture through socially acceptable and heavily disguised forms, such as the romantic friendship. Homosexuality in Victorian and Elizabethan Literature. Historians have disagreed about the extent to which such friendships were actually platonic, some arguing that chaste Victorian women would have maintained asexual attachments. Apocryphal images of piano legs modestly covered are being replaced with an appreciation of the surprising varieties of Victorian sexuality. The latter were subject to a barrage of infamously hostile legislation that threatened them with prosecution, imprisonment, and, until 1861, death. In terms of nonliterary, historical sources, some extremely useful archives and special collections have been collated and catalogued in the United Kingdom, while Internet sites increasingly provide free, open access to a number of valuable primary and secondary resources. Explosive urbanization brought together people with nonnormative desires and identities, hastening the development of a recognizable “scene,” mainly for men. Therefore, “indirect allusion” was a necessary device in Victorian literature. These spaces, as I argue in Queer Dickens: Erotics, Families, Masculinities, accommodate a range of same-sex desires, and non-marital and non-reproductive impulses, which were often acceptable and welcomed. Fictions by authors such as Sarah Waters and Wesley Stace, and adaptations like Andrew Davies’s BBC serials Bleak House and Little Dorrit, are helping to shift popular perceptions of erotic experience in the 19th century. The Criminal Law Amendment Act of... (The entire section contains 1206 words.). Holly Williams looks at a new exhibition which challenges and confirms this view. This approach has also been valuable to historians of female homosexuality. ', 'The Bishop of London on "The Social Evil"', i.e. Homosexual content in nineteenth-century literature manages to be at once rare and pervasive: while it makes virtually no explicit appearance in mainstream fiction, it nonetheless maintains a persistent implicit presence. Frederick Hollyer, the great populariser of the Pre-Raphaelites, sold photographs of his work, and collectors included Oscar Wilde, essayist and critic Walter Pater, and the writer John Addington Symonds. Please consider the environment before printing, All text is © British Library and is available under Creative Commons Attribution Licence except where otherwise stated. In my work on the 19th century I have found the most useful definition of queer to be that which differs from the life-script of opposite-sex marriage and reproduction. Its Moral, Social and Physical Conditions (New York: Amo, 1972 [1833]). Victorian novels had to find ways to build erotic tension without using explicit language.”, By “dominant,” Jarvis means “sexually aggressive female characters” – or, as she explained, “women who seemed to be imperious, who challenged the traditional marriage plot and who were in some ways the early version of a femme fatale.”. It is just as important, though, that the surprising tolerances of this period are recognised. The Tate’s exhibition may start with Solomon, but it goes right up to David Hockney and Francis Bacon, taking in cross-dressing music hall stars, Oscar Wilde’s trial, and the Bloomsbury Group’s experiments in art and living along the way. Oxford Bibliographies Online is available by subscription and perpetual access to institutions. Whoever wins the U.S. 2020 election will need to find ways to govern over a persisting political divide and get back to the art of politics, say Stanford scholars Bruce Cain and Hakeem Jefferson. Marcus’s inspiring Between Women: Friendship, Desire, and Marriage in Victorian England examines the comfortable continuities between female bonds (erotic and otherwise) and Victorian marital and familial relations. Queer British Art is a show that, necessarily, often invites us to read (or re-read) work through the frame of the artist’s life, allowing what we know – or guess – about their sexual desires to open up fresh potential meanings. She is also a strange one: not part of the family, yet not quite an ordinary servant.

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