Oct 202011
 

Schultz, Nancy Lusignan (ed.) Veil of Fear: Nineteenth-century convent tales NotaBell Books, Purdue University Press, 1999 Amazon

While Rebecca Read’s earlier Six Months in a Convent (1835) was a relatively sober and realistic work, Maria Monk’s Awful Disclosures (1836) heads straight into paranoid xenophobic “virtue in distress”. This is what happens if young women heed the siren song of Catholicism, and it was popular enough to sell 300,000 copies by 1860. The fears of a young republic with large, unassimilated immigrant populations that were often Catholic, and an economy shifting to industrialization with consequent shifts in gender roles, found expression in anti-Catholicism. “In times of rapid social change, such as that experienced in antebellum America, intolerance and demonization of marginal groups find fertile soil.” (pg. viii) One of the anti-Catholic agitators, incidentally, was minister Lyman Beecher, father of Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin.

Continue reading »

Bookmark and Share
Feb 102009
 

O’Malley, Patrick R. Catholicism, Sexual Deviance, and Victorian Gothic Culture Cambridge University Press, 2006 Link

He had a special passion, also, for ecclesiastical vestments, as indeed he had for everything connected with the service of the Church. In the long cedar chests that lined the west gallery of his house, he had stored away many rare and beautiful specimens of what is really the raiment of the Bride of Christ, who must wear purple and jewels and fine linen that she may hide the pallid macerated body that is worn by the suffering that she seeks for and wounded by self-inflicted pain.

Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

Continue reading »

Bookmark and Share
Sep 092008
 

Gossett, Thomas F. Uncle Tom’s Cabin and American Culture Southern Methodist University Press, 1985

Roberts, Diane. The Myth of Aunt Jemima: Representations of Race and Region Routledge, 1994

Schick, Irvin C. The Erotic Margin: Sexuality and Spatiality in Alteritist Discourse Verso, 1999

First, I want to reiterate my position that consensual Master-slave roleplaying relationships as practiced by Munby and Cullwick and afterwards have only a tenuous connection to the actual institution of Atlantic slavery. It’s more about the fictionalized version of slavery as seen by people who had no direct experience with it.

Second, getting off on a scenario does not necessarily mean the fantasizer agrees with the politics or ideas behind it. In fact, a masochist might get a stronger charge off a scenario if the suffering is not just.

Continue reading »

Bookmark and Share
May 182007
 

Brissenden, R.F. Virtue in Distress MacMillan, 1974

My readings on slavery and sympathy brought me to the concept of sensibility. This is a key concept in how we think about human nature, and I think will prove to be a key issue in the history of BDSM.

We’re used to thinking of reason and emotion as being opposing forces in the human mind. In the late 18th century, however, thinkers like Rousseau and Locke developed the idea of sensibility, which is part of a related cluster of related words with shifting meanings, including “sense” (both as in “the five senses” and as in “common sense”), “sentient”, “sensation”, “sentiment” and “sentimentality.”
Continue reading »

Bookmark and Share