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Primers for Prudery

Sexual Advice to Victorian America

edited by Ronald G. Walters

updated edition
Publication Date
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In Primers for Prudery Ronald G. Walters examines the historical and social context as well as the substance of sexual advice manuals in nineteenth-century America. Allowing the authors of these manuals to speak for themselves—with generous excerpts by contemporary authorities on subjects ranging from the virtues of celibacy to the vices of masturbation—Walters offers his readers a complex reading of the Victorian "prudery" referred to in the book's title. Supplementing each of the excerpts with extensive commentary, he places the advice manuals in the larger setting of gender and class issues...

In Primers for Prudery Ronald G. Walters examines the historical and social context as well as the substance of sexual advice manuals in nineteenth-century America. Allowing the authors of these manuals to speak for themselves—with generous excerpts by contemporary authorities on subjects ranging from the virtues of celibacy to the vices of masturbation—Walters offers his readers a complex reading of the Victorian "prudery" referred to in the book's title. Supplementing each of the excerpts with extensive commentary, he places the advice manuals in the larger setting of gender and class issues.

First published in 1974, Primers for Prudery now returns to print in a paperback edition with new selections from women's advice to women and a new preface in which Walters discusses changes that have occurred in the scholarship on sexuality since the book's first publication. He also provides an updated bibliographical note.

Reviews

Reviews

Walters warns that by today's standards, the advice may appear naive, even ludicrous. Nevertheless, he urges us to put aside our smug presentism. The Victorians were not the wretched victims of sexual repression we may imagine. Rather they were women and men who found in restrictive sexual codes something of value appropriate to their lives. Why else would the repressive codes have endured so long?

Primers for Prudery offers a wide range of nineteenth-century documents relating to sexuality that are available nowhere else. Particularly useful are the book's internal divisions, which identify important categories of analysis for the study of nineteenth-century sexuality.

About

Book Details

Publication Date
Status
Available
Trim Size
5.5
x
8.5
Pages
208
ISBN
9780801863486
Table of Contents

Preface, 2000
Introduction
Chapter 1. Approaching This Delicate Subject
Chapter 2. A Destructive Impulse
Chapter 3. The Path Downward
Chapter 4. Woman, Sensuous and Otherwise
Chapter 5. Marriage
Chapter 6

Preface, 2000
Introduction
Chapter 1. Approaching This Delicate Subject
Chapter 2. A Destructive Impulse
Chapter 3. The Path Downward
Chapter 4. Woman, Sensuous and Otherwise
Chapter 5. Marriage
Chapter 6. and Other Forms of Exploitation
Chapter 7. Controls and Cures
Chapter 8. The Welcome Child
Chapter 9. Perfecting the Race
Afterword: Some Nineteenth-Century Lives
Epilogue: Cross Currents
Bibliographical Note
Index

Author Bio
Featured Contributor

Ronald G. Walters

Ronald G. Walters is a professor of history at the Johns Hopkins University. He is the author of American Reformers: 1815-1860 and The Antislavery Appeal: American Abolitionism after 1830 and editor of Primers for Prudery: Sexual Advice to Victorian America and A Black Woman's Odyssey: The Narrative of Nancy Prince.