Jun 182013

The first draft of Chapter 5, “The Peculiar Institution”, is now complete and backed up, all 11,000 words of it. It’s about Atlantic slavery and its erotics, and spends a lot of time talking about the master-slave relationship of Hannah Cullwick and Arthur Munby.

Next is Chapter 6, “Class and Classification,” covering the late Victorian flagellant subculture, plus Krafft-Ebing. This is actually in a first draft state already, from years ago, but it is 17,000 words, and I’m trying to keep chapters under 10,000 words or so. I could cut it in two, renaming the first half “The Extraordinary Gentlemen”. However, there’s some redundant material in the chapter as well, and I intend to cut that out, though probably not 7,000 words of it. I will probably cut out the fat and then subdivide into two shorter chapters.

After that comes the early 20th century. This is kind of a lacuna in my research, because I’m not really sure what was going on in the 1900-1950 period. I’d probably mostly talk about film, particularly pre-Hays Code, particularly how American racial anxieties figured in films like Freaks, The Sheik, Frankenstein, the 1931 version of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, etc. If there was any kind of formal BDSM subculture at this time, I have yet to find any evidence of it.

  2 Responses to “Progress report: chapter 5 first draft completed”

  1. Hi,

    I couldn’t find your email address here on the site and have been wanting to ask – will this book have a chapter on Ernst Schertel?



    • Thank you for your tip about Schertel. He bears further investigation.

      Regretably, I’m only fluent in English (I can muddle through simple French), so I can’t read untranslated sources in other languages. This means I have to take an Anglo-centric view of BDSM history, without much research in other languages. I would love to be able to read sources in Japanese or German or other languages.

      Also, I’m broke and doing all of this work out of my own pocket, so I’m in no position to buy expensive rare books. Most of this is done with Internet sources and books borrowed through the library system.

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