In Bed with the Georgians provides a fascinating insight into life under the bed-clothes in Georgian England, where the Madams and pimps were able to thrive in the eighteenth century like never before. It looks at high-class seraglios as well as the brothels, jelly-houses and bagnios which flourished openly, especially in the area around Covent Garden.
It looks at courtesans from the highest echelons of society, the kept women, the sex-workers in 'houses of pleasure', down through to the street walkers and common whores. It shows the way that the sex scene was portrayed in contemporary letters and press reports, and focuses on royal scandals, aristocratic shenanigans and immoral behavior.
The book looks at the role of Grub Street, the growth of celebrity status, and the way courtesans occupied a demi-monde of great popularity, with their enormous wealth and conspicuous spending. In particular it looks at the way that caricaturists, such as Gillray, Rowlandson, Newton, and Cruikshank, pilloried the rich and famous for their peccadilloes, satirizing their wild excesses, and by so doing helped inform the general public of what their 'social superiors' were getting up to.
This book is lavishly illustrated in color and contains a useful glossary of many aspects of the world of the sex trade in London two and a half centuries ago.
In Bed with the Georgians is about what you would expect from those who have studied this era of sexual history in high school or college.
Readers who haven't discovered will find that sex in that time period isn't always so pretty or romantic in an age where literature, television and media do everything possible to make it beautiful and romantic.
As a society not much has changed except for laws. People are as open and loose about sex as they are today if not more so. Its just moved from brothel houses and back alley ways to computers and televisions - they've just cut the corset strings and moved on to cut offs and bikini's.
Although poorly edited for digital format (on Netgalley) I'm sure the print version is formatted better (hopefully).
I liked the illustrations and glossary however I felt the book could have used a more laid back approach and a less dictated course book kind of feel. All in all was still a good read.
Krissy's Bookshelf Reviews received a digital copy. All thoughts, comments and ratings are my own.
Krissy's Bookshelf Reviews received a digital copy in exchange for an honest review via Netgalley.
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