A Cultural History of Sexuality in the Enlightenment

A Cultural History of Sexuality in the Enlightenment, Volume 4

by Julie Peakman

Julie Peakman teaches at Birkbeck College, University of London, UK. Her recent books include Lascivious Bodies: A Sexual History of the Eighteenth Century and Mighty Lewd Books: The Development of Pornography in Eighteenth–Century England. She has also edited Sexual Perversions, 1670–1890, eight volumes of Whore's Bibliographies 1680–1815, and is currently writing a sexual history of the world. Author affiliation details are correct at time of print publication.

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Bloomsbury Academic, 2011
  • DOI:
  • ISBN:
    978-1-3500-4969-7 (online)

    978-1-4725-5476-5 (paperback)

    978-1-84788-803-7 (hardback)
  • Edition:
    First edition
  • Place of Publication:
  • Published Online:
A Cultural History of Sexuality in the Enlightenment
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In the period between 1650 and 1820 new worlds of sex opened up. This was a pivotal time when old religious beliefs and medical theories about sexuality and the body clashed with innovatory ideas emerging from natural science and philosophy. In addition, a burgeoning print industry fed a rapidly expanding reading public with erotica. With the breakdown of old community networks and increased urbanization, authorities reacted to increased sexual license with a raft of new regulations designed to curtail variations in sexual behaviour.

A Cultural History of Sexuality in the Enlightenment presents an overview of the period with essays on heterosexuality, homosexuality, sexual variations, religious and legal issues, health concerns, popular beliefs about sexuality, prostitution and erotica.