Slumming: Sexual and Social Politics in Victorian London

Slumming: Sexual and Social Politics in Victorian London

Seth Koven

In the Eighteen Eighties, stylish Londoners left their dependent houses and golf equipment in Mayfair and Belgravia and crowded into omnibuses certain for nighttime excursions of the slums of East London. a brand new be aware burst into well known utilization to explain those descents into the precincts of poverty to determine how the bad lived: slumming. during this alluring publication, Seth Koven paints a brilliant portrait of the practitioners of slumming and their international: who they have been, why they went, what they claimed to have discovered, the way it replaced them, and the way slumming, in flip, powerfully formed either Victorian and twentieth-century understandings of poverty and social welfare, gender kinfolk, and sexuality.

The slums of late-Victorian London grew to become synonymous with all that used to be incorrect with business capitalist society. yet for philanthropic women and men wanting to unfastened themselves from the starched conventions of bourgeois respectability and domesticity, slums have been additionally areas of non-public liberation and experimentation. Slumming allowed them to behave on their impossible to resist "attraction of repulsion" for the bad and approved them, with society's approval, to get soiled and exhibit their very own "dirty" wishes for intimacy with slum dwellers and, occasionally, with one another.

Slumming elucidates the histories of quite a lot of preoccupations approximately poverty and concrete lifestyles, altruism and sexuality that stay primary in Anglo-American tradition, together with the ethics of undercover investigative reporting, the connections among cross-class sympathy and same-sex wish, and the intermingling of the desire to rescue the terrible with the impulse to eroticize and sexually make the most them.

By revealing the level to which politics and erotics, social and sexual different types overflowed their obstacles and remodeled each other, Koven recaptures the moral dilemmas that women and men confronted--and proceed to confront--in attempting to "love thy neighbor as thyself."

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