Tuesday, 24 April 2012


ISBN-13: 978-0-7181-3141-8
Writer: Paul Ferris
Title: Sex and the British
Subtitle: A Twentieth-Century History
Language: English
Place of Publication: London
Publisher: Michael Joseph Ltd
Year of Publication: 1993
Format: 155x240mm
Pages: xii+337; Notes, 302; Bibliogtaphy, 316; Index, 323
Jacket Photo: Combined images from four photo agencies
Binding: Red boards in colour dust jacket
Original Price: GBP 18.99 /CAD 35.00
Weight: 669gr.
Entry No.: 2012012
Entry Date: 24th April 2012


This vivid and wide-ranging narrative of the British way of sex since 1900 is the history of us all, told through the lives of the humble and not-sp-humble. No one doubts the power of sex to disturb. Paul Ferris is duly mindful of it, but he doesn’t ignore its power to entertain as well.

His account presents a gallery of figures – prostitutes, feminists, sexual visionaries, pornographers, fetishists, fallen women, fallen clergymen, Home Secretaries, lawyers, detectives, Mrs (and Mr) Grundys, Christian idealists, writers, nudists, adulterers abortionists. Here, too, is at least a look-in for the uncategorized millions, who are most of us, reading romances, eyeing partners, licking their lips, nursing secrets, fearing shame, being preached at, hoping for the best.

Sexual history offers some rich diversions. Early in the century, the powerful puritans of Edwardian Britain; Christabel Pankhurst and the White Slave Traffic; British soldiers and the wicked French brothels. Between the wars, Marie Stopes and the other sexual optimists; the stubborn reactionaries of Whitewall; the summer crowds beside the seaside, educating themselves with Men Only and A Basinful of Fun.

In the second half othe century, there are important accounts of the emergence of the new morality, the ‘abortion wars’, the reappraising of marriage, the new pornography; not to mention the condom, the sex shop, the video recording and the fantasists who do things with custard. As the author says in hios introduction, people might find the sytem unbearable if they ‘couldn’t laugh sometimes as its merchandizers, its moralists, its policemen; and themselves’.

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