Libertine London

Julie Peakman


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Reaktion Books
13 May 2024
ISBN: 9781789148473
352 pages

From the publisher

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.