The Physician and Sexuality in Victorian America

The Physician and Sexuality in Victorian America

by John S. Haller, Robin M. Haller
     
 

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“A highly readable, thoughtful, and detailed study …. No one has yet set the story of Victorian sexuality so firmly in the context of medical history.” —Journal of American History
“Men and women in late nineteenth-century America,” write John S. Haller and Robin M. Haller, “faced a bewildering and conflicting array of

Overview

“A highly readable, thoughtful, and detailed study …. No one has yet set the story of Victorian sexuality so firmly in the context of medical history.” —Journal of American History
“Men and women in late nineteenth-century America,” write John S. Haller and Robin M. Haller, “faced a bewildering and conflicting array of roles forced on them by a newly industrialized society.” Nowhere were these roles more sharply drawn than in the area of sexuality. Growing numbers of Victorians found themselves unable to confide in husbands, wives, or relatives on personal matters. Increasingly, they turned to advice columns in newspapers, etiquette books, philanthropic organizations, marriage manuals, private counselors—and to the physician. The peculiar relationship that existed between the physician and his patient enabled the medical profession to exert a powerful influence: the doctor found himself with the responsibility of acting as the arbiter of fashion, the watchman of morals, and the judge of personal needs. And because the medical profession held itself responsible for the moral and spiritual health of the nation, doctors felt it necessary to bring their professional authority to bear against those elements—such as the women’s rights movement—which threatened the stability of society.

Editorial Reviews

Booknews
The authors detail the social history of the medical profession-- including doctors, homeopaths, and eclectics--and its moral influence on 19th-century sexuality. They examine the ways in which professionals dealt with physical and psychological complaints and such issues as marriage, hygiene, prostitution, drug addiction, corsets, and contraception. The bibliography lists primary sources including pamphlets and articles from the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Includes b&w illustrations. First published in 1974. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
From the Publisher

"One of the best new monographs to have been inspired, or at least illuminated, by the insights and sensitivities of the women’s movement."—Choice

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780393008456
Publisher:
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
03/17/1977
Series:
Norton Library Series
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
352
Sales rank:
969,616
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.79(d)

Meet the Author

John S. Haller, Jr., holds a dual appointment as a professor of history at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale and a professor of medical humanities at the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, Springfield.

Robin M. Haller is a professional freelance indexer.

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