Norma Clarke

Labour of Love

Amatory Pleasures: Explorations in Eighteenth-Century Sexual Culture

By Julie Peakman

Bloomsbury Academic 240pp £21.99 order from our bookshop

In 1677 a married woman in London was sentenced to death for copulating ‘wickedly, devilishly, and against nature’ and ‘to the disgrace of all womankind’ with her dog. The dog was brought into court, wagging its tail and seeking kisses. As Julie Peakman comments, nobody was hurt and the dog seemed quite happy. But the neighbours, who had spied through holes in the wall, and the legal system that punished ‘perversion’ deemed bestiality a crime.

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