£14.99
FREE Delivery in the UK.
Only 2 left in stock (more on the way).
Dispatched from and sold by Amazon.
Gift-wrap available.
Quantity:1
Mighty Lewd Books: The De... has been added to your Basket
Trade in your item
Get a £5.25
Gift Card.
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Mighty Lewd Books: The Development of Pornography in Eighteenth-Century England Paperback – 15 Oct 2012


See all 2 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Paperback
"Please retry"
£14.99
£9.89 £11.82
£14.99 FREE Delivery in the UK. Only 2 left in stock (more on the way). Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.


Trade In this Item for up to £5.25
Trade in Mighty Lewd Books: The Development of Pornography in Eighteenth-Century England for an Amazon Gift Card of up to £5.25, which you can then spend on millions of items across the site. Trade-in values may vary (terms apply). Learn more

Product details


More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, and more.

Product Description

Review

'Long overdue, an assessment of English pornography needs to pay attention to context as well as content. Peakman's book is rich with detail and she presents texts that have long been hidden from view. A must read.' - Margaret C. Jacob, UCLA, USA

'When [Julie Peakman] started out, the topic of erotic writings was a largely uncharted and under-theorized field. To a considerable degree she has had to carve out the boundaries of the topic for herself and work out her own intellectual framework... well-researched, well-documented, well-argued and coherent... makes a substantial contribution to scholarship' - Roy Porter

'It is now generally agreed that the creation of new sexual stereotypes and forms of self-identity in the eighteenth century is central to the creation of 'modernity'. Part of this process was the emergence of new, and newly domesticated, forms of pornography and erotic writing. Mighty Lewd Books gives us a readable, engaging and conprehensive account of the history of eighteenth-century pornography and erotica. By exploring the history of this artefact of sexual behaviour at the moment when modern sexualities were created, Peakman provides a new and important understanding of both the meaning of dirty books, and the origins of modernity.' - Tim Hitchcock

'This...fascinating and intelligent survey shows how an explosion of obscene literature immediately followed the wild success of pioneering (but largely non-pornographic) fictions by Defoe, Swift, Richardson and their imitators...Porn's strongest selling point were that it was sexy, unrespectable and forbidden, of course, but Julie Peakman shows that it had other attributes, not always connected directly with sex. It popularised new scientific ideas in botany, anatomy and electricity. It stoked the fires of anti-Catholicism with its lecherous monks and nuns, and it encompassed radical ideas in politics.' - Financial Times

'Drawing heavily on the contents of what the British Library quaintly terms its Cupboard, better known as the Private Case, plus a vast bibliography of secondary sources, she [Peakman] displays the whole world of Eighteenth-century erotica/porn and offers explications of both practice and theory.' - Erotic Review

'...fascinating book...well-written and researched...this book offers intriguing new insights into a hidden area of gender history, challenging many preconceptions about the c18th century.' - BBC History Magazine
 
'This is a serious work for those with serious interest in the theme, but given the rollicking nature of that theme, there is reason to smile frequently.' - Rob Hardy, The Dispatch



Book Description

Looking at over 500 pieces of British erotica, Mighty Lewd Books examines sex as seen in culture, religion and medicine throughout the long eighteenth-century


Inside This Book (Learn More)
Browse and search another edition of this book.
First Sentence
One person's smut is another person's sensuality. Read the first page
Explore More
Concordance
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
Search inside this book:

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Customer Reviews

There are no customer reviews yet on Amazon.co.uk.
5 star
4 star
3 star
2 star
1 star

Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 3 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
An Academic Book On Lewd Books 18 Oct. 2004
By Rob Hardy - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Two hundred years from now, some academic will publish an analysis of pornography on the inchoate internet; how it reflected our medical and social views, how it changed our views of the sexes, how it favored some activities over others, and so on. Everyone knows that humans have enjoyed porn for about as long as they have enjoyed sex, but probably the age of the internet is going to make things different. In eighteenth century Britain, people had to put up with the print media, but the eighteenth century was a time of rapid change, with advances in medicine, science, and exploration. Many of these were reflected in the erotic works of the time, and such works have now been analyzed in _Mighty Lewd Books: The Development of Pornography in Eighteenth Century England_ (Palgrave Macmillan) by Julie Peakman. Peakman, who is a historian of sex, has gone through scads of original material from the time; her extensive bibliography, for instance, has four pages of works attributed to that prolific author, Anonymous. Her title comes from a diary entry of Pepys, in which he confesses to reading a little of "... a mighty lewd book, but yet not amiss for a sober man once to read over to inform himself in the villainy of the world." Peakman's own book is far from lewd; it is a serious academic treatise, and as for villainy, most people who take an interest in this subject are probably not going to be as self-servingly judgmental as Pepys was. There is necessarily some low humor in some of the works covered, the publishers were often a furtive lot whom society wished to castigate, and there are prejudices we now think are unfashionable; but this is far from a catalogue of villainies. Peakman has written in an unjudgmental and detached tone throughout, giving a valuable view of some of the foundations of modern pornography.

Italy had taken the lead in producing erotic books during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and then France took over as a center of pornography and developed a graphic style. The biggest debt English pornography owed to the French was anti-Catholicism. The French version had frequent attacks on the cloistering of nuns or the secrecy of the confessional; such attacks would have been in accord with the British hostility to Catholics due to political distrust, popular fear, and theological disagreement. Corruption in the Catholic church was a popular topic, and so tales of vice within nunneries, or of priests seducing nuns or parishioners, were popular not just as sexual entertainment, but as propaganda. The English detested the Catholic advocacy of flagellation as a penance. With the antagonism to the Catholic Church, English society took to the stories from France having to do with priests, monks, and nuns flagellating each other for sexual rather than sacred reasons. Flagellation, and later other sadomasochistic play, became particularly associated with the English; forty years ago when coyness used to be needed in the personals ads, "English Art" was taken to mean S & M. Peakman shows how pornography incorporated ideas of the time that we should usually not at all regard as erotic, like botany, garden planning, and electrical research.

Peakman makes the useful finding that with literacy increasing, it was not just the upper classes that enjoyed pornography, as might be concluded from the beloved leather-bound limited copies that have come to us from the libraries of the rich. Chapbooks and broadsheets could be bought and enjoyed by the working class. Women had access to such works; prostitutes would keep them in stock. London was, of course, a center for printing and for porn, but there were thousands of itinerant hawkers who would carry pornographic productions to the provinces. Peakman also shows how pornography reflected (and thereby influenced) sexual attitudes; porn before the eighteenth century tended to have men and women equally active and eager for satisfaction, but especially with the anti-Catholic porn, women were put in submissive or victim roles. This is a serious work for those with serious interest in the theme, but given the rollicking nature of that theme, there is reason to smile frequently. After all, in what other bibliography will you find such works as _A Flaming Whip for Lechery or the Whoremonger's Speculum_, _The Birchen Banquet, Or Curious and original Anecdotes of Ladies fond of Administering the Birch Discipline_, or _A Full and True Account of a Dreaded Fire that Lately Broke out in the Pope's Breeches_?
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Serious academic qualitative monograph on trends in 18th Century English erotica 22 Jan. 2014
By Phred - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Professor Julie Peakman has a substantial bibliography of major studies on the subject of erotica, pornography and one interesting looking biography of Lady Hamliton, famous mistress to Admiral, Lord Horatio Nelson.

This is a relatively short work giving her analysis of the trends in British erotica. The focus of her studies is not just books with the singular purpose of arousing the reader. She will include materials that were incidentally sexual in content and other that were clearly satiric utilizing sex as topic to underline the extremes of the satire. She will also propose that the "under the counter" publications had both political significance and occasionally educational value. Her chapters will identify the relationship between the advent of new venues and imagery within major pornographic books as these same topics presented themselves to the larger public.

The 18th century was notable for new systems of botanical analysis and the beginnings of the understanding of electricity. Following these new trends in public discussion, there would be new variations in the imagery in her books. The chapters mostly focus on the relationship between changes in awareness and knowledge in the public library and how they mirror in the private library. Her last chapters are exception to this model by their focus on Anti-Catholicism and how that was fed into the place and subject matter of erotica and the near unique creation of a british market for books and stories about flagellation.

In general, Professor Peakman succeeds in laying out her separate topics, placing them in their historic contacts and relating them to how each topic were being handled in the larger society. She then describes how these same topics were most likely to be presented in the topically inspired pornography.

Noteworthy is her analysis of topics where women were the target audience and others where women were the sexual aggressor. Such would not have been the common expectations of this century's non erotic reading public.

Given that her method is largely qualitative, I would have preferred that she would have included a larger number of titles to demonstrate her succeeding discussions. In chapter after chapter we see the same titles with most getting few if any direct quotations. She will make frequent usage of terms like "most", "many" and other expression of relative frequency, yet there are no numbers or tables that might serve to validate her assertions. The point is not to convert her work into a quantitative analysis but rather to document at least some of her assertions.

Professor Peakman is a scholar with a wide knowledge of the various works of this period. Most chapters refer to the same books and materials giving the work a number of unnecessary repetitious and leaving the impression that the library of English 18th erotica is small.

This book is not for the general public. The readership for this book is the courious, but academically trained and the professional academic seeking more than an introduction to the seemier side of 18th Century British literature.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Naughty Books, A Couple of Centuries Ago 13 Nov. 2012
By Rob Hardy - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Two hundred years from now, some academic will publish an analysis of pornography on the inchoate internet; how it reflected our medical and social views, how it changed our views of the sexes, how it favored some activities over others, and so on. Everyone knows that humans have enjoyed porn for about as long as they have enjoyed sex, but probably the age of the internet is going to make things different. In eighteenth century Britain, people had to put up with the print media, but the eighteenth century was a time of rapid change, with advances in medicine, science, and exploration. Many of these were reflected in the erotic works of the time, and such works have now been analyzed in _Mighty Lewd Books: The Development of Pornography in Eighteenth Century England_ (Palgrave Macmillan) by Julie Peakman. Peakman, who is a historian of sex, has gone through scads of original material from the time; her extensive bibliography, for instance, has four pages of works attributed to that prolific author, Anonymous. Her title comes from a diary entry of Pepys, in which he confesses to reading a little of "... a mighty lewd book, but yet not amiss for a sober man once to read over to inform himself in the villainy of the world." Peakman's own book is far from lewd; it is a serious academic treatise, and as for villainy, most people who take an interest in this subject are probably not going to be as self-servingly judgmental as Pepys was. There is necessarily some low humor in some of the works covered, the publishers were often a furtive lot whom society wished to castigate, and there are prejudices we now think are unfashionable; but this is far from a catalogue of villainies. Peakman has written in an unjudgmental and detached tone throughout, giving a valuable view of some of the foundations of modern pornography.

Italy had taken the lead in producing erotic books during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and then France took over as a center of pornography and developed a graphic style. The biggest debt English pornography owed to the French was anti-Catholicism. The French version had frequent attacks on the cloistering of nuns or the secrecy of the confessional; such attacks would have been in accord with the British hostility to Catholics due to political distrust, popular fear, and theological disagreement. Corruption in the Catholic church was a popular topic, and so tales of vice within nunneries, or of priests seducing nuns or parishioners, were popular not just as sexual entertainment, but as propaganda. The English detested the Catholic advocacy of flagellation as a penance. With the antagonism to the Catholic Church, English society took to the stories from France having to do with priests, monks, and nuns flagellating each other for sexual rather than sacred reasons. Flagellation, and later other sadomasochistic play, became particularly associated with the English; forty years ago when coyness used to be needed in the personals ads, "English Art" was taken to mean S & M. Peakman shows how pornography incorporated ideas of the time that we should usually not at all regard as erotic, like botany, garden planning, and electrical research.

Peakman makes the useful finding that with literacy increasing, it was not just the upper classes that enjoyed pornography, as might be concluded from the beloved leather-bound limited copies that have come to us from the libraries of the rich. Chapbooks and broadsheets could be bought and enjoyed by the working class. Women had access to such works; prostitutes would keep them in stock. London was, of course, a center for printing and for porn, but there were thousands of itinerant hawkers who would carry pornographic productions to the provinces. Peakman also shows how pornography reflected (and thereby influenced) sexual attitudes; porn before the eighteenth century tended to have men and women equally active and eager for satisfaction, but especially with the anti-Catholic porn, women were put in submissive or victim roles. This is a serious work for those with serious interest in the theme, but given the rollicking nature of that theme, there is reason to smile frequently. After all, in what other bibliography will you find such works as _A Flaming Whip for Lechery or the Whoremonger's Speculum_, _The Birchen Banquet, Or Curious and original Anecdotes of Ladies fond of Administering the Birch Discipline_, or _A Full and True Account of a Dreaded Fire that Lately Broke out in the Pope's Breeches_?
Were these reviews helpful? Let us know


Feedback