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Body History

Roy Porter

31 August 1989
The Body and the French Revolution: Sex, Class and Political Culture 
by Dorinda Outram.
Yale, 197 pp., £22, May 1989, 0 300 04436 4
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Victorian Suicide: Mad Crimes and Sad Histories 
by Barbara Gates.
Princeton, 190 pp., £19.95, September 1988, 0 691 09437 3
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Sexual Visions: Images of Gender in Science and Medicine between the 18th and 20th Centuries 
by Ludmilla Jordanova.
Harvester, 224 pp., £19.95, April 1989, 9780745003320
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Family, Love and Work in the Lives of Victorian Gentlewomen 
by Jeanne Peterson.
Indiana, 241 pp., $39.95, May 1989, 0 253 20509 3
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... which take (male) words at face value, and her counsels of prudence are amply borne out by Jeanne Peterson’s ‘thick description’ of the lives of three generations of Victorian women, the Pagets and their circle. Samuel Paget was a shipper and brewer from Great Yarmouth; his wife, Betsey, bore 17 children, among whom James became a top ...
8 November 1990
Making sex: Body and Gender from the Greeks to Freud 
by Thomas Laqueur.
Harvard, 352 pp., $27.50, October 1990, 0 674 54349 1
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... Acton is unstoppable. The most knowledgeable historian of the Mid-Victorian medical profession, Jeanne Peterson, has called him ‘perhaps the cleverest quack of his generation’. With New Historicists like Professor Laqueur around, she was wasting her breath. The real shame is that Laqueur, again, is not doing justice to his own capacities as a ...

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