A Gentleman's Guide to Duelling
Vincentio Saviolo's 'Of Honour and Honourable Quarrels'
Annotated woodcuts of historical duels and methodical swordplay illustrate this classic guide to resolving a gentlemen’s disagreement in Elizabethan England. Honour, pride and shame were at the heart of most duels, and Italian fencing master Vincentio Saviolo’s prose, which has been subtly updated for the modern reader, suggests ways for both challenger and defender to navigate the labyrinth of etiquette without resort to the rapier, his favoured weapon of combat.
Breach of Promise to Marry
A History of How Jilted Brides Settled Scores
Hiding from daylight in her mouldering wedding dress, Dickens’s Miss Havisham is the classic literary image of the jilted bride. But thanks to the 18th-century law of breach of promise, many women had more attractive options. This entertaining social history uncovers more than a thousand cases in which wronged fiancées employed no-win-no-fee lawyers to gain substantial financial redress for their disappointment – and adventuresses extracted money from men ‘they cannot possibly want as husbands’.
Studies in Archaic Forms of Social Movement in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries
Social agitation is as essential a part of public life today as it has ever been. Eric Hobsbawm’s classic study, reissued with a new introduction by Owen Jones, explores the origins of contemporary rebellion in Robin Hood, Nonconformist dissenters, secret societies, Mafiosi, Spanish anarchists and labour movements. This concise guide provides an insightful analysis of the revolutions that shaped Western civilization, while a selection of historical texts presents the radicals’ perspectives in their own words.
Wilde's Last Stand
Scandal, Decadence and Conspiracy During the Great War
In January 1918 the Imperialist newspaper made the startling claim that Britain was losing the war because the German secret service was blackmailing 47,000 ‘sexual deviants’ in the British establishment. This account reveals how the ensuing libel trial drew Oscar Wilde’s friends into a posthumous battle for his reputation, and illuminates a twilight world of MPs and dancing girls, drug clubs in London and transvestites in the trenches.
English Civic Pageantry
David M Bergeron’s revised edition of his 1971 study looks anew at the variety and vitality of English civic pageants. It focuses on royal entries, progress pageants and Lord Mayor’s Shows, and argues that these pageants took part in and contributed to the burgeoning theatre world.
Dinner with a Cannibal
The Complete History of Mankind's Oldest Taboo
In this thorough examination of human cannibalism, a palaeoanthropologist analyses the evidence, from ancient fossils to recent genetic findings, that marks us all as descendants of cannibals. Investigating when and why humans have eaten their own kind, she identifies cannibalism as an ancient, natural strategy used by early humans to survive periods of food scarcity, but also considers the religious and culinary contexts in which it has been practised in historical times.
London and the Making of the Permissive Society
Did sex really begin, as Philip Larkin wrote, in 1963? This groundbreaking cultural history challenges the orthodox view and uncovers the first stirrings of the sexual revolution amid the austerity of fifties London. Conducting the reader on a peephole tour from Whitehall to the fleshpots of Soho, it shows how a series of scandals involving murder, espionage, prostitution, blackmail and homosexuality reshaped public and private behaviour, and captures a key moment in the making of modern Britain.
A Taste of History
The Stock Exchange began in a London coffee house, as did Lloyds; fish and chips was invented in Victorian London; and Fortnum and Mason supplied Florence Nightingale in the Crimea and Parry's expedition to find the North-West Passage as well as innumerable aristocratic picnics. This history of London's food is full of such milestones and outstanding personalities, described in chapters on how London has been provisioned, its markets, shops and restaurants, foreign imports and the eating habits of Londoners.
Science, Society and Power
Environmental Knowledge and Policy in West Africa and the Caribbean
Focusing on environment, forestry and conservation sciences, this study explores the transformation in global science and its contrasting effects in Guinea, one of the world’s poorest countries, and the more prosperous Trinidad.
In Bed With the Ancient Egyptians
Sex featured prominently in ancient Egyptian religion, mythology and art, while Cleopatra's love affairs with Mark Antony and Julius Caesar continue to fire the imagination. Drawing on the evidence of texts and pictures from inscriptions and papyri, Booth's wide-ranging survey explores the Egyptians' customs relating to love, marriage and childbirth; their attitudes to adultery, prostitution and homosexuality; the place of sex in beliefs about the afterlife; and their doctors' ideas about sexual health, fertility and aphrodisiacs.
Divorced, Beheaded, Sold
Ending an English Marriage 1500–1847
How could English people end unhappy marriages before divorce was readily available? As the colourful stories in this book reveal, the options ranged from quietly but bigamously remarrying to selling an unwanted wife to the highest bidder at market. The author also examines a 1594 case in which neighbours helped a woman retrieve property from her husband, and occasions when wives successfully sued for legal separation. The appendix focuses on Henry VIII's marital arrangements.
In Bed with the Romans
Writers' lurid tales of their rulers' sex lives are a familiar part of our image of ancient Rome, but how reliable are these accounts and what can such stories tell us about Roman attitudes to sexual behaviour and morality? Drawing on twelve centuries of evidence from literature, inscriptions, graffiti, medical handbooks, legal texts, magic spells and frequently explicit visual arts, this wide-ranging account explores the Roman view of love, marriage, childbirth, homosexuality, prostitution and infidelity.
The End of the Debutantes
Until 1958 the daughters of Britain's aristocracy would curtsey to the Queen, a rite of passage that formed the highlight of a season of society parties in an elaborate, strictly controlled mating game. Part memoir, part social history, this book interviews the surviving debutantes to show how this arcane, archaic ritual was finally swept away, opening up their lives in new and unexpected directions.
The Undiscovered Country
Journeys Among the Dead
From John Baret’s effigy of his own corpse in St Mary’s Church, in 15th-century Bury St Edmunds, to the incident that prompted the idea of bringing an anonymous body – ‘An Unknown Soldier’ – back from the First World War trenches, Watkins’ history of the macabre delves into Britain’s past in search of ancient customs, local characters and compelling tales that illuminate the ways in which people have come to terms with death.
The Sacred to Santa
This cultural study explores the evolution of Christmas. From its historical origins to the folklore of Santa Claus and the fiction of Scrooge, and from traditional trees and carols to Yuletide films and novelty singles, Tara Moore discusses the holiday as a unifying but also divisive event, and probes the tension between the sacred and the secular.
Part of the Introductions to Chinese Culture series, this book covers the great variety of unique festivals that have evolved over the course of China's long history, describing a representative selection of 42 traditional and statutory events. Like all the books in the series, it is written by a noted expert in the field, well illustrated with colour photographs and offers an ideal introductory survey for both students and general readers.
A Royal Christmas
With privileged access to the Royal Archives, Jeremy Archer has uncovered personal accounts of the royal family at Christmastime. His anthology reveals how monarchs have celebrated the festival -from 1066, when William I was crowned on Christmas Day, to the Queen's Christmas broadcast 2011. In themed chapters, Archer quotes at length from his royal sources as he explores Christmases at home and abroad, in times of crisis and conflict, and family rituals of feasts, pastimes and the exchange of gifts.
Sex and Punishment
Four Thousand Years of Judging Desire
Sex is one of the most powerful human drives, and societies have sought to regulate it since the dawn of history. Meticulous, scholarly, yet laced with spicy anecdote, this chronological survey ranges from the brutal impalement of an adulteress in Mesopotamia to the trials of Oscar Wilde. Peopled with transvestites, rent boys, royal mistresses and gay charioteers, it demonstrates how what is 'normal' in one age is forbidden in another, exposing the futility of such attempts to constrain human sexuality.
Factory Production in Nineteenth-Century Britain
This anthology brings together writings that suggest the scope of responses – from wondrous celebration to apocalyptic horror – elicited by the advent and establishment of the factory system in 19th century Britain. Addressing complex questions about the possible effects of mass production on human life and labour, the collection includes important works by Adam Smith, Ruskin, Carlyle and Morris alongside extracts from lesser-known factory tourists' tales and inspectors' reports, a Luddite pamphlet and a cotton mill worker's autobiography.
City of Sin
London and Its Vices
'If you do not want to dwell with evil-doers', wrote Richard of Devizes in 1180, 'do not live in London'. In her third exploration of the city's history, Catharine Arnold focuses on the sex trade, from slave girls brought to service Roman troops in first century Londinium, through medieval stews, 18th century sex clubs and Victorian male brothels to infamous '60s call girls and the internet 'Belle de Jour'.
A History of the Other Woman
What do Nell Gwynn, Marilyn Monroe, Emma Bovary and Camilla Parker-Bowles have in common? Desired and despised in equal measure, the ‘other’ woman enters a shadowy world of secret assignations and fear of discovery. This compelling study examines the role of the mistress throughout history, from Chinese concubines to European royal favourites, in life and literature. It examines the reasons why women become mistresses, the subversive threat they pose to the established order, and the eternal fascination they exert.