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Acknowledgments Introduction: Narratives and Identity 1 Reading Matters 2 Reading Married Love 3 Fashioning Fetishism from the Pages of London Life 4 Mr. Hyde and the Cross-Dressing Kink 5 Whipping Stories in the Pages of the PRO Conclusion: Narratives and History Notes Bibliography Index
How people used popular culture between the world wars to articulate sexual identities and practices
Lisa Z. Sigel is an Associate Professor in the Department of History at DePaul University. She is author of Governing Pleasures: Pornography and Social Change in England, 1815-1914 and the editor of International Exposure: Perspectives on Modern European Pornography.
"When Stopes asked her readers to write to her with evidence to support her theory that women had a 'cycle' of desire - feeling more amorous at certain times of the month than others - she was inundated with thousands of letters from men and women women desperate for information desperate for information about sex... Other men and women were writing letters sharing their sexual experiences, fantasies and bizarre proclivities to magazines such as London Life. These were published alongside racy pictures of chorus girls disrobing. An American academic has unearthed these letters to Stopes and the risque magazines, drawing on them for an intriguing new book about British sex lives between the wars and how people communicated their sexual problems and desires." - Daily MailM, Dec 2012 "Through an impressive and stimulating array of sources ranging from letters to Marie Stopes, readers' correspondence in the glamour and 'queer magazine' London Life, and court cases, historian Sigel charts the making of sexual identities in interwar Britain. Emphasizing the agency of individuals, Sigel convincingly makes the argument that sexology was less important than popular ephemera in the evolution and construction of personal sexual narratives and identities. In placing agency at the core of her argument, Sigel helpfully explores the processes of reading as individuals interpreted and folded popular sources into their own sexual stories... Clear, accessible, and dispassionate, this book makes important interventions in queer scholarship and the study of sexual identities. Summing Up: Highly recommended."--Choice, July 2013