Strangers: Homosexual Love in the Nineteenth Century by Graham Robb - review by Brenda Maddox

Brenda Maddox

Of Rears And Vices

Strangers: Homosexual Love in the Nineteenth Century


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Nineteenth-century Britain, claims Graham Robb, was more at ease with homosexuality than we like to believe. What better example than a quote from Jane Austen? In Mansfield Park (1814), Mary Crawford says, ‘my home at my uncle’s brought me acquainted with a circle of admirals. Of Rears, and Vices, I saw enough. Now, do not be suspecting me of a pun, I entreat.’

Amid all the bother over whether buggers can be bishops lies a sneaking suspicion that it was ever thus. By nature or nurture, a significant fraction of the human race is attracted to its own rather than the opposite sex. The varied social approaches to homosexuality, ranging from adoration to

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