My Secret Life: An Erotic Diary of Victorian London

My Secret Life: An Erotic Diary of Victorian London

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From his precocious childhood to the end of what he calls his “amatory career,” an adventurous Victorian known only as “Walter” records a breathtaking carnal epic through hundreds of sexual encounters with one or more nursemaids, prostitutes, cousins, actresses, workingmen, and other men’s wives. In ruling everything sexual within the

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Overview

From his precocious childhood to the end of what he calls his “amatory career,” an adventurous Victorian known only as “Walter” records a breathtaking carnal epic through hundreds of sexual encounters with one or more nursemaids, prostitutes, cousins, actresses, workingmen, and other men’s wives. In ruling everything sexual within the realm of possibility, Walter reveals “varied delights…whims and fancies normal and abnormal,” sexual violence, fetishes—and sometimes, surprisingly, love. From his many escapades, he learns an invaluable lesson: “One can never know too much concerning human nature.” Portraying an era of notorious repression, in which the appearance of propriety had to be strictly maintained, My Secret Life provides a rare look at the hidden side of Victorian life: the upstairs and downstairs encounters where nothing is “proper”—or forbidden. First published in London around 1900, this landmark work freshly illuminates the complex sexual dynamics of a society strictly divided between rich and poor, male and female, sexual and chaste. In James Kincaid’s abridgment, Walter and his world come to vivid life in new and often surprising ways.
 
Edited and with an Introduction by James Kincaid and with an Afterword by Paul Sawyer

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780451530721
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
11/06/2007
Series:
Signet Classics Series
Edition description:
Reissue
Pages:
624
Sales rank:
598,818
Product dimensions:
4.25(w) x 6.88(h) x 1.25(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

My Secret Life is by far the most famous and the longest sexual autobiography written in the nineteenth century. It has in it invaluable material for social and cultural historians, literary scholars, students of manners and morals—and it has more of what we might call ‘encounters’ than any narrative ever penned in English.”
—From the Introduction by James Kincaid
 
The anonymous author of My Secret Life has never been identified. Rumors have suggested he was a prominent scholar, the eccentric son of an earl, even a titled woman. All we do know is evident in the text: He was raised by servants and educated at a good boarding school. His young adulthood was spent not in learning a trade, but in exploring the world of sex and recording every encounter.
 
James Kincaid is Aerol Arnold Professor of English at the University of Southern California and the author of Child-Loving: The Erotic Child and Victorian Culture, as well as books on Dickens, Trollope, and Tennyson.
 
Paul Sawyer is George Reed Professor of Writing and Rhetoric and Director of the John S. Knight Institute for Writing in the Disciplines at Cornell University. The author of Ruskin’s Poetic Argument: The Design of the Major Works, he is a noted scholar of the Victorian age.

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