Slumming: Sexual and Social Politics in Victorian London (2020)

Slumming Sexual and Social Politics in Victorian London In the s fashionable Londoners left their elegant homes and clubs in Mayfair and Belgravia and crowded into omnibuses bound for midnight tours of the slums of East London A new word burst into po
  • Title: Slumming: Sexual and Social Politics in Victorian London
  • Author: Seth Koven
  • ISBN: 9780691128009
  • Page: 123
  • Format: Paperback
  • Slumming: Sexual and Social Politics in Victorian London
    In the 1880s, fashionable Londoners left their elegant homes and clubs in Mayfair and Belgravia and crowded into omnibuses bound for midnight tours of the slums of East London A new word burst into popular usage to describe these descents into the precincts of poverty to see how the poor lived slumming In this captivating book, Seth Koven paints a vivid portrait of theIn the 1880s, fashionable Londoners left their elegant homes and clubs in Mayfair and Belgravia and crowded into omnibuses bound for midnight tours of the slums of East London A new word burst into popular usage to describe these descents into the precincts of poverty to see how the poor lived slumming In this captivating book, Seth Koven paints a vivid portrait of the practitioners of slumming and their world who they were, why they went, what they claimed to have found, how it changed them, and how slumming, in turn, powerfully shaped both Victorian and twentieth century understandings of poverty and social welfare, gender relations, and sexuality.The slums of late Victorian London became synonymous with all that was wrong with industrial capitalist society But for philanthropic men and women eager to free themselves from the starched conventions of bourgeois respectability and domesticity, slums were also places of personal liberation and experimentation Slumming allowed them to act on their irresistible attraction of repulsion for the poor and permitted them, with society s approval, to get dirty and express their own dirty desires for intimacy with slum dwellers and, sometimes, with one another.Slumming elucidates the histories of a wide range of preoccupations about poverty and urban life, altruism and sexuality that remain central in Anglo American culture, including the ethics of undercover investigative reporting, the connections between cross class sympathy and same sex desire, and the intermingling of the wish to rescue the poor with the impulse to eroticize and sexually exploit them.By revealing the extent to which politics and erotics, social and sexual categories overflowed their boundaries and transformed one another, Koven recaptures the ethical dilemmas that men and women confronted and continue to confront in trying to love thy neighbor as thyself.
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      Posted by:Seth Koven
      Published :2020-04-11T15:29:41+00:00

    One Reply to “Slumming: Sexual and Social Politics in Victorian London”

    1. The rhetoric is rather overblown yes there were sexual issues, covert and overt yes, people did not always leave their class behind them when they went slumming It just seemed to me that it could have all been said simply.

    2. This book is a very interesting look at class and gender in the late Victorian period If focuses on the way that wealthy and middle class people portrayed and interacted with the poor, particularly in the East End of London The book does this by looking at the portrayal of poor people, their jobs, their homes, their apparance in newspapers, photographs and novels In many ways the Victorian attitudes towards their portrayal of the poor reminded me of reality tv shows today The book starts with Gr [...]

    3. Koven unearths some great stories here, and is adept at tracing their progression and implications, but the unfortunate excess of postmodern academy speak mars the book, as does some disorganization.First, the stories This book revolves around five stories about upper and middle class Londoners who forgo their domestic comforts to go slumming, for philanthropic, pecuniary, or sexual reasons, amid the poverty of London s South or East End Many of these stories are fascinating Apparently the first [...]

    4. This is an odd book, and a somewhat annoying one Koven is an academic and he structures the book like a PhD thesis, with long paragraphs explaining what he s going to tell us and what questions he s going to answer He writes only about slumming in London, so ignoring everything going on in other big cities But then, this book is not really about slumming He selects particular people and, near the end, says, I have focused on moments of particularly acute ethical ambiguity in their careers But wh [...]

    5. Interesting social history with particularly strong readings of individual texts Koven certainly shows how slumming the practice of visiting lower class parts of London or other cities, for a variety of purposes was central to Victorian literature and culture The book also felt judicious towards the motivations of those who did so, acknowledging a genuine desire to help alongside problematic hierarchical and erotic attachments.

    6. I am admitting defeat Call it summer, but I m in no mood for belabored academic writing The ideas are fascinating, the anecdotes are intriguing, but the dense prose is too much for me.

    7. Only managed to read one chapter for class on Elizabeth Banks but Koven s points are very well taken Very interesting topic and approach.

    8. I m not sure that the individual chapters form a fully cohesive whole, but individually, they are interesting meditations on several issues in the Victorian world that I wasn t aware of.

    9. There was a lot of interesting information in this book It offers a different aspect than Victorian England I guess I thought it would have been a little grittier.

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