The Origins of Sex
A History of the First Sexual Revolution
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|Format:||Hardback, 483 pages|
|Other Information: ||illustrations|
|Published In: ||United States, 26 July 2012|
A man admits that, when drunk, he tried to have sex with an eighteen-year-old girl; she is arrested and denies they had intercourse, but finally begs God's forgiveness. Then she is publicly hanged alongside her attacker. These events took place in 1644, in Boston, where today they would be viewed with horror. How--and when--did such a complete transformation of our culture's attitudes toward sex occur?
In The Origins of Sex, Faramerz Dabhoiwala provides a landmark history, one that will revolutionize our understanding of the origins of sexuality in modern Western culture. For millennia, sex had been strictly regulated by the Church, the state, and society, who vigorously and brutally attempted to punish any sex outside of marriage. But by 1800, everything had changed. Drawing on vast research--from canon law to court cases, from novels to pornography, not to mention the diaries and letters of people great and ordinary--Dabhoiwala shows how this dramatic change came about, tracing the interplay of intellectual trends, religious and cultural shifts, and politics and demographics. The Enlightenment led to the presumption that sex was a private matter; that morality could not be imposed; that men, not women, were the more lustful gender. Moreover, the rise of cities eroded community-based moral policing, and religious divisions undermined both church authority and fear of divine punishment. Sex became a central topic in poetry, drama, and fiction; diarists such as Samuel Pepys obsessed over it. In the 1700s, it became possible for a Church of Scotland leader to commend complete sexual liberty for both men and women. Arguing that the sexual revolution that really counted occurred long before the cultural movement of the 1960s, Dabhoiwala offers readers an engaging and wholly original look at the Western world's relationship to sex.
Deeply researched and powerfully argued, The Origins of Sex is a major work of history.
About the Author
Faramerz Dabhoiwala is lecturer, tutor, and Senior Fellow in Modern History at Exeter College, University of Oxford, and is a member of the Royal Historical Society.
"In this lively and massively researched book, historian Dabhoiwala makes a convincing case that modern attitudes to sex in Britain derive from the changes in thought and sensibility that constituted the European Enlightenment...What distinguishes this book is its grand sweep...Recommended." --CHOICE
"Dabhoiwala works meticulously through the historical records of the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries to show how English culture evolved intellectually, politically, and socially to arrive at modern ideas of sexual liberty, gender equality, and the privatization of sex-ideas that continued to evolve and transform culture during the 20th century this book is highly recommended to readers interested in English history and the history of sexuality." -- Library Journal
"In this brilliantly argued, lucid and enthralling book, Faramerz Dabhoiwala describes the first sexual revolution -- a sea change in attitudes towards sexual morality, the public and the private. The Origins of Sex shows how far men enjoyed, and women endured, the new sexual world. It is a majestic and provocative history of ideas and attitudes." --Amanda Vickery, author of The Gentleman's Daughter
"A splendidly informative and entertaining book ... persuasively argue[d] ... rich in anecdotes, funny, touching." -- The Economist
"Wonderful ... [written] with great care and and unselfconscious aplomb ... an informative, wide-ranging book that is also compellingly readable." -John Barrell, The Guardian
"Ambitious ... brave ... a fascinating subject and also an important one ... it reveals as transient and relative so many of the values that seem non-negotiable today." -- Lucy Worsley, The Financial Times
"The Origins of Sex overturns the conventional wisdom that the sexual revolution began in the Sixties ... baby boomers ... will be shocked and, I suspect, a little upset." -Cosmo Landesman, The Sunday Times
"Splendid ... audacious ... impressive ... [a] masterly
|Publisher: ||Oxford University Press Inc|
|Dimensions: ||23.0 x 15.0 x 4.0 centimeters (0.86 kg)|