Cover image for The whore's story : women, pornography, and the British novel, 1684-1830
The whore's story : women, pornography, and the British novel, 1684-1830
Mudge, Bradford Keyes.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, [2000]

Physical Description:
xiv, 276 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm.
Format :


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PR830.P73 M83 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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This fresh and persuasively argued book examines the origins of pornography in Britain and presents a comprehensive overview of women's role in the evolution of obscene fiction. Carefully monitoring the complex interconnections between three related debates--that over the masquerade, that overthe novel, and that over prostitution--Mudge contextualizes the growing literary need to separate good fiction from bad and argues that that process was of crucial importance to the emergence of a new, middle-class state. Looking closely at sermons, medical manuals, periodical essays, and politicaltracts as well as poetry, novels, and literary criticism, The Whore's Story tracks the shifting politics of pleasure in eighteenth-century Britain and charts the rise of modern, pornographic sensibilities.

Author Notes

Bradford K. Mudge is Associate Professor of English at the University of Colorado. His Sara Coleridge: A Victoria Daughter won the 1990 Choice Outstanding Book Award.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Mudge (Univ. of Colorado, Denver) makes an important contribution to the understanding of the genesis and historical development of pornography in 18th- and 19th-century England. The author makes the bold, yet fully persuasive, claim that women, as both literary producers and consumers, played a crucial role not only in the rise of the novel, with its increasingly middle-class readership, but also in the ascendancy of pornography. Mudge shows that the debates raging over what constitutes good and bad literature overlapped other arenas of cultural contestation, e.g, expectations about feminine conduct, the legitimacy of prostitution, and the social effects of the masquerade. Wonderfully researched and beautifully written, this book will appeal to both students doing upper-division undergraduate work and scholars who desire a more complete picture of the development of the British novel and its early cultural context. M. Uebel University of Kentucky