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The Sexual History of London

From Roman Londinium to the Swinging City---Lust, Vice, and Desire Across the Ages

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Description

If Paris is the city of love, then London is the city of lust. From the bath houses of Roman Londinium to the sexual underground of the twentieth century and beyond, The Sexual History of London is an entertaining, vibrant chronicle of London and sex through the ages.

For more than a thousand years, England's capital has been associated with desire, avarice, and the sins of the flesh. Richard of Devises, a monk writing in 1180, warned that "every quarter abounds in great obscenities." As early as the second century AD, London was notorious for its raucous festivities and disorderly houses, and throughout the centuries the bawdy side of life has taken easy root and flourished.

In The Sexual History of London, award-winning popular historian Catharine Arnold turns her gaze to London's relationship with vice through the ages. London has always traded in the currency of sex. Whether pornographic publishers on Fleet Street, or courtesans parading in Haymarket, its streets have long been witness to colorful sexual behavior. In an accessible, entertaining style, Arnold takes us on a journey through the fleshpots of London from earliest times to present day. Here are buxom strumpets, louche aristocrats, popinjay politicians, and Victorian flagellants—all vying for their place in London's league of licentiousness.

From sexual exuberance to moral panic, the city has seen the pendulum swing from Puritanism to hedonism and back again. With latter chapters looking at Victorian London and the sexual underground of the twentieth century and beyond, this is a fascinating and vibrant chronicle of London at its most raw and ribald.

From Publishers Weekly

Oct 10, 2011 – A London social historian (Necropolis) certainly knows her city and displays her knowledge with verve and savvy in this substantial and engaging work. Arnold reaches over an enormous swath of time, essentially from the founding of the Roman city in A.D. 43, bringing the surge of soldiers who needed servicing in the lupanaria, or brothels, to the unsuccessful 2009 police attempt to clear out prostitution houses in the Shepherd Market area. The Christian clergy had made their peace with prostitution, in the form of nunneries, and Chaucer s Canterbury Tales, for example, nicely illustrate the prevailing ecclesiastical mischief. The Bankside brothels (a map of London might have been helpful for American readers) became known as the stews, and in 1161 King Henry II actually managed to regulate them, while soldiers returning from the Crusades brought back all sorts of novel Eastern notions, such as the Turkish bath. Thanks to the whimsical tastes of centuries of monarchs, Arnold furnishes a cornucopia of prurient material, though readers will be surprised to hear that randy Henry VIII himself passed the Buggery Act a blanket term for sex crimes and later ordered the closure of London s brothels to stem the epidemic of syphilis. Famous concubines jostle next to equally notorious madams, rakes, mollies (effeminate men), sodomites, and lesbians, from Haymarket to the slums of the East End. Arnold offers a titillating, soundly researched omnibus for the anglophile.
The Sexual History of London
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  • $7.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Europe
  • Published: Dec 06, 2011
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Seller: Macmillan
  • Print Length: 384 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: This book can only be viewed on an iOS device with Apple Books on iOS 12 or later, iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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