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In Georgian England, 'manly independence' was the most important qualification for political virtue and thus for electoral citizenship. Connoting a particularly English libertarianism, this 'independence' infused a man's political, social and gendered being, and manifested itself in sincere and straightforward forms of bodily presentation and behaviour.
That the history of sexuality has come of age is clear. The most recent Journal of the History of Sexuality is a self-reflexive special issue on 'Theory, Methods, Praxis'.
Eighteenth-century motherhood is a subject often neglected by historians. Literary scholars have contributed fascinating commentaries on the development of ideals of motherhood and their deployment in empire and state-building narratives and class formation.
Anyone who has been researching or simply been interested in female monasticism in medieval England must have noticed a frustrating scarcity of primary sources which has resulted result in relatively meagre secondary literature. Paradoxically, we know more about the spiritual life of medieval nuns than we know about more mundane areas of their life.
Since the 1960s, popular leisure has been studied by successive generations of British social historians. Questions of class, of culture and of identity have been central to the development of this literature. Celebrations of distinctively plebeian customs have contended with pessimistic analyses of mass culture as a form of social control.
Working Women in English Society offers a fascinating insight into the numerous ways in which women engaged with the market economy in England between 1300 and 1620.
As a reviewer who regards himself as a pioneer in the study of medieval sexuality, I judge this book as the best short introduction to medieval sexuality that I have read. The first chapter is an outstanding examination of the problems of writing about sex in medieval Europe.
Birthing the Nation represents history of medicine at its most inclusive. Born itself from the author's doctoral work on the history of midwifery, this book is an insightful and hard-hitting examination of how men-midwives and questions of reproduction more generally intersected with national identities and scientific knowledge.
The Recycling of the English Middle Class
Karen Harvey's Reading Sex in the Eighteenth Century: Bodies and Gender in English Erotic Culture is a cogently argued, well researched, and accessible account of the ways erotic discourse shaped eighteenth-century understandings of gendered bodies.