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date: 26 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explores how certain forms of desire are silenced by culture and convention, and how these desires, whilst they may be expressed through glance or action, can be difficult to express in verbal form. Chief among these desires are ones predicated on same-sex attraction, and both male homosexual and lesbian desires—and attitudes and legislation relating to them—are placed in the context of changing attitudes towards sexuality in Victorian society. The chapter also examines forms of desire that are manifested through such activities as flogging or the consumption of pornography. But the main emphasis falls on queer sexualities and relationships and on their expression in fiction and poetry. The idea that style itself may be understood as a form of queer expression is investigated, and the warning issued that we must be careful not to project our own twenty-first-century desires and forms of identification onto Victorian practices.

Keywords: desire, Victorian, homosexual, lesbian, queer, same-sex, sexuality, relationships, culture, pornography

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