By Mike Huggins, J. A. Mangan

Many historians have claimed that respectability was once the sharpest line of social department in Victorian society, even that the road among the 'respectable' and 'unrespectable' was once extra major than among wealthy and negative. This irreverent and revisionist assortment argues that they've over-polarised Victorian attitudes and demanding situations the normal view that middle-class Victorian rest had a decent and severe goal and method. Disreputable Pleasures explores the extra sinful and unrespectable Victorian male carrying pleasures, demonstrating the advanced interrelationships among such price as manliness, muscularity and machismo, or sensuality, virility and hedonism. It sheds gentle at the ways that the general public rhetoric of Victorian respectability should be rendered challenging by means of the sensible pursuit of personal pleasures. It indicates that Victorian relaxation was once even more contested cultural house than has been known, a battleground whose contestants ranged from the rational recreationalist to the avowedly hedonistic, and from the sacred to the profane. Disreputable Pleasures poses a strong problem to the authorised public photo of Victorian society and may enormously upload to our current realizing of Victorian Britain.

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Extra info for Disreputable Pleasures: Less Virtuous Victorians at Play

Sample text

In the fifth-form room between two of the biggest fellows in the School, seems to stand out prominently. 3. A fight in the 1840s at Fleuss’s arch. C. C. W. Baines, A History of Marlborough College (London: John Murray), 1923. 102 Fighting, however, as noted above, was not restricted to the Arch. 103 However, ‘for the more formally arranged encounters Fleuss’[s] Arch was recognised as the appropriate spot, unless the principals were leading fellows in the school. 105 The History of 1923 recorded of the legendary contest described earlier: Almost lovingly have Marlburians of this period dwelt on the famous fights .

119 Perhaps it should have come as no surprise. It was ‘the climax of the insubordination that for a long 28 Disreputable Pleasures period had been growing and ripening. ’120 Among other things, the boys grew increasingly more sullen in the face of mass punishments. There was a cycle of repression, resentment and retaliation. T. Peviar,121 ‘a little bumptious man, with a prying nose, small sharp black eyes, and eyebrows habitually elevated’, who was expected to keep a record of bad language and bad behaviour.

One bane of the life of the Junior Dean in the mid-nineteenth century was a student by the name of Acourt, who was admonished on one occasion for a disorderly fencing match in his room after midnight, ‘which made a visit by the Dean necessary’. He was admonished, but to little effect. 12 This time he was ‘gated’ for a fortnight and reported to his tutor. On another occasion, with a student friend by the name of Snow, Acourt was caught pistol-shooting in Snow’s room. Later he was requested not to keep several guns in his room.

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