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Iconoclasts and outcasts: illicit love in 19th century England

The Victorian era is often portrayed as one of sexual repression, lying between the

perceived licentiousness of the eighteenth century and the Regency period on the

one hand, and the greater sexual freedom of the twentieth century on the other.

Yet births outside marriage were higher in the mid-nineteenth century than they were

in the eighteenth or early twentieth, and new challenges to marriage were voiced by

radical socialists and feminists.

This presentation looked at both the iconoclasts who publicly challenged the existing

norms and the outcasts who had flouted them. Drawing on original research, it

provided new insights into marriage, illegitimacy and cohabitation.    

 

 

 

 


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