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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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What did the Victorians know about desire between men? Was it really 'the love that dare not speak its name'? "Nameless Offences" argues that even before Oscar Wilde and the rise of sexual science there was an open, public and concerted discussion of same-sex desire that went to the heart of Victorian notions of masculinity, civil society, class and identity. How did homosexuality come to be known as a 'secret vice', consigned to a secret place - the closet - when contemporaries regularly described its existence as widespread, threatening and even notorious? "Nameless Offences" asks where the closet came from and how the English learned to describe that which was 'nameless' and indescribable in this way. This groundbreaking book offers the definitive portrait of male homosexuality in the nineteenth century and includes many perceptive insights into what it reveals about the interaction between public and private morality which lay at the heart of Victorian England.

Author Info

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


'Nameless Offences is a cogently argued and well-written book which contributes importantly to our understanding of the history of the legal regulation of sexual behaviour between men in the 19th century...I cannot do the richness of his historical narrative...[he] has found gems of narrative detail
and woven them into a persuasive analysis.'
Morris B. Kaplan, Associate Professor of Philosophy, State University of New York; 'a breath of fresh air...a powerful contribution to the history of male homosexuality...and the cultural history of nineteenth-century Britain.'
Matt Houlbrook, Gender and History; 'impeccably researched...unquestionably a major work.'
Ross G. Forman, Victorian Studies; 'brilliantly explores particular forms of queer interiority'
Chris Waters, GLQ

Bibliographic Info

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

ISBN: 9781848850903
Publication Date: 30 Nov 2009
Number of Pages: 272
Height: 216
Width: 134
Illustrations: Illustrations

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