Primers for Prudery offers a wide range of nineteenth-century documents relating to sexuality that are available nowhere else. Particularly useful are the book's internal divisions, which identify important categories of analysis for the study of nineteenth-century sexuality.
(Kathryn Kish Sklar, State University of New York at Binghampton)
Walters warns that by today's standards, the advice may appear naive, even ludicrous. Nevertheless, he urges us to put aside our smug presentism. The Victorians were not the wretched victims of sexual repression we may imagine. Rather they were women and men who found in restrictive sexual codes something of value appropriate to their lives. Why else would the repressive codes have endured so long?
About the Author
Ronald G. Walters is a professor of history at the Johns Hopkins University. He is the author of American Reformers: 1815-1860 and The Antislavery Appeal: American Abolitionism after 1830 and editor of Scientific Authority in Twentieth-Century America (available from Johns Hopkins).