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Nameless Offences: Homosexual Desire in the 19th Century

Nameless Offences: Homosexual Desire in the 19th Century
H. G. Cocks

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Homosexuality became increasingly visible in 19th-century English society and problems related to the "secret vice" and the "love that dare not speak its name" go to the root of Victorian social and cultural history. This book shows how the homosexual "closet" was created. It was not just by the operation of the law and increasing police enforcement but also by the efforts of successive governments, politicians and journalists, and others involved in public debate, to marginalize homosexuality in civil society. The problem of disclosure and the risk of inflaming class divisions in an age of growing homosexual awareness accompanied an appetite for sexual scandal and the danger of blackmail. Prevention of slander and the vilification involved in scandals among the ruling classes were potent reasons to marginalize homosexuality and create the "closet". The Victorian masculine "character" was at issue, as the homosexual scandals of the 1880s exposed the gulf between notions of private and public morality.

Author Info

Dr Harry Cocks is Research Fellow at the Department of History, University of Manchester.

Bibliographic Info

Imprint: I.B.Tauris
Publisher: I.B.Tauris & Co. Ltd.

ISBN: 9781860648908
Publication Date: 22 May 2003
Number of Pages: 288
Height: 234
Width: 156
Illustrations: Illustrations, maps

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