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date: 08 August 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Victorian sexual attitudes were closely bound up with the impact of Evangelical faith, particularly as it informed two subsequent developments in Victorian Christianity: Tractarianism, which was widely received as a form of Anglo-Catholicism, and ‘muscular Christianity’, which was centrally concerned to rescue the body from the moral rigour of both Evangelicals and Tractarians. In religious controversy, connections between sexuality and faith emerge not only in direct address of central concerns, such as marriage and prostitution, but more obliquely, through the labelling of deviance, particularly the insinuation of ‘unnatural’ desire. Such stigma gave unusual public notice to, or at least glimpses of, proscribed forms of sexuality, which came into increasing visibility in the latter decades of the century, partly through appeals to ancient Greece as the source of a more humane ethos than Christianity.

Keywords: asceticism, celibacy, Evangelicalism, Greece, homosexuality, marriage, muscular Christianity, Roman Catholicism, prostitution, Tractarianism

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