The Facts of Life

The Facts of Life The Creation of Sexual Knowledge in Britain, 1650-1950

Hardback (10 Jan 1995) | English

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Synopsis

This remarkable book traces the development of sexual knowledge and guidance in Britain over three centuries. An absorbing, shocking, and often moving narrative, it investigates how views on sexual activities, sexual disorders, sexual pleasures, and sexual proprieties evolved through the years.

Roy Porter and Lesley Hall explore the moral, religious, scientific, medical, domestic, social, and cultural backgrounds of various periods in which sexual information was received. They assess, for example, the impact of literature on sex on the legal regulation of prostitution, the control of contagious diseases, gender relations in and out of marriage, social purity movements, and social hygiene concerns. They describe the emergence of evolutionist and laboratory discourses on sexuality, the origins of sexual surveys, debates about marriage and free love, and associated revelations of personal sexual experiences.

Examining texts that range from Nicolas Venette's Mysteries of Conjugal Love Reveal'd, written near the close of the seventeenth century, to Marie Stopes's Married Love, a famous tract of the twentieth century, Porter and Hall show how these texts established and authorized sexual knowledge and sexual practices. They describe the authors of these texts, their careers, and the motives for involvement in medico-moral campaigns that were often thought unsavory and commonly led to criticism and censure.

Challenging and overturning common assumptions and historiographical traditions-from hoary myths of the Victorians to the work of Michel Foucault-the book adds a great deal to our understanding of the origins of sexual mores and knowledge.

About the Publisher

Yale University Press

Yale University Press

By publishing serious works that contribute to a global understanding of human affairs, Yale University Press aids in the discovery and dissemination of light and truth, lux et veritas, which is a central purpose of Yale University. The publications of the Press are books and other materials that further scholarly investigation, advance interdisciplinary inquiry, stimulate public debate, educate both within and outside the classroom, and enhance cultural life. In its commitment to increasing the range and vigor of intellectual pursuits within the university and elsewhere, Yale University Press continually extends its horizons to embody university publishing at its best.

Book information

ISBN: 9780300062212
Publisher: Yale University Press
Imprint: Yale University Press
Pub date:
DEWEY: 306.70941
DEWEY edition: 20
Language: English
Number of pages: 415
Weight: 994g
Height: 244mm
Width: 169mm
Spine width: 40mm