Some Years Before 1963

Norma Clarke

A woman born in 1600 grew up being told she was the most lustful of God’s creatures. Come 1800 and the message was reversed: she was ‘naturally’ delicate and pure. No longer having lusts of her own to manage, her role was to control the ‘natural’ lust of men and thus preserve civilisation. Dogmas about sexuality had undergone remarkable change. What remained the same was female subordination.

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The Origins of Sex: A History of the First Sexual Revolution
By Faramerz Dabhoiwala (Allen Lane/The Penguin Press 484pp £25)

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