Our next CRECS event turns to the eternal question of sexuality, gender and domesticity in the eighteenth century. Christian Grey may be the man of the moment (unfortunately), but the Georgians had their own—characteristic, shall we say?—view of romance and sex, which might raise a few eyebrows even today. The literature, drama and art of the eighteenth century offer a range of views of sexual identity that is as complex and contradictory as our own, ranging from prudence to prurience, from respectability to rakishness.
Women, in particular, found themselves at the heart of a paradox. On the one hand, they were expected to comply with ideologies regarding the correct modes of female behaviour, which was always under scrutiny and strictly regulated. On the other hand, women were objects of unflinching male desire and transgressive passion: the controlling gaze of the father could transform into the illicit voyeurism of the lover.
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