Wednesday, 1 September 2010


Writer: Peter Fryer
Title: Mrs Grundy
Subtitle: Studies in English Prudery
Language: English
Edition: First Edition in the U.S.A
Place of Publication: New York
Publisher:London House & Maxwell
Year of Publication: 1964
Format: 140x222mm
Pages: 368
Illustrations: 45 single colour plates and pictures
Jacket Design: Richard Brodney
Binding: Half cloth in three-colour process dust jacket
Weight: 691gr.
Entry No.: 2010019
Entry Date: 1st September 2010


The English seem to have become much less prudish in the past ten years. The so-called "four-letter words" are printed in full; skirts are evn shorter than they were in 1926; sexual behavior, so far as can be judged, is less restricted by taboos and prejudices than at any other time in their history. But are they really in the midst of a permanent revolution in manners?

The author of MRS. GRUNDY thinks not. His book is a detailed and absorbing study of English prudery (which he defines as interference, organized or unorganized, in other people's pleasures) as it has found expressions in various fields since the Middle Ages.

First, he discussesverbal taboos and the consequent euphemisms the English language has produced for parts of the body, sexual activity, excretion and certain articles of clothing. This section includes the first generally available acount of the "four-letter words", their derivation, they ways they have been used, and avoided, at various periods, and the hundreds of polite and non-so-polite substitutes that have been coined to take their place.

Various forms of the body taboo are analyzed: opposition to the use of man-midwives; the prudery that has always greeted new and revealing fashions; and the widespread opposition to the nudist movement in its pionering days.

Lastly, there is a section on prudery in relation to various styles of dancing and such erotic displays as the cancan and striptease, whose history is traced from 1677 to its recent, police-persecuted vogue

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