Stephen is presented as having all the qualities of

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Stephen is presented as having all the qualities of chivalrous masculinity; she is the perfect manAs a woman, according to the rules of gender during this period she is an aberrationAs a result, Stephen is rejected by her mother forced to leave her beloved countryside, and to become part of a seedy urban lifeIn this extract Stephen writes a love-letter to her first serious lover Angela CrossbyAngela shows the letter to her husband who shows it to Stephens mother14
Stephens mother calls her daughter in for an interview and asks her to leave MortonStephen goes to her deceased fathers study and finally discovers what she is by reading Krafft-EbingStephen goes into voluntary exile with her very sympathetic maid PuddleStephens letter to Angela“I’m some awful mistake – Gods mistake- I don’t know if there are any more like me, I pray not for their sakes because its pure hell. But oh my dear whatever I am I just love you and love you.”(199) Anna Stephens mother talks to Stephen “I’ve felt a kind of physical repulsion a desire not to touch or be touched by you a terrible thing for a mother to feel it has often made me deeply unhappy. I’ve often felt that I was being unjust unnatural but now I know that my instinct was right; it is you who are unnatural not I...” From the 1920’s to the 1820’s How were alternative sexualities imagined before the advent of sexology? Without named sexual identities how did people see themselves? Can we use current terms to describe lived experiences from the past? Gender and Sexuality in the Early Nineteenth Century Marriage: dominant relationship between men and women Separate Social Spheres: men and women lived separate social lives Era of Empire building and industrial Revolution Men fully engaged in Public Sphere Women defined by Domesticity Jane Austen and Regency Society 1811-1837: Regency period (same as Georgian period) Regency period best represented by the novels of Jane Austen (1775-1817) 15
Austen novels capture society steeped in rules of social decorum, marriage and heterosexuality Romantic Friendships and Homosociality Bonds between women were known as romantic friendships (even married women had these bonds with other women) Not unusual for a bride to bring her female companion on her honeymoon Representations of female couples were very common in the visual culture of the period either representing intimate friends or sister pairings Male vs. Female Homosexuality Female and male homosexual practices perceived very differently Under British law only male homosexuality was a crime In 1806 there were more executions for sodomy than for murder Lesbian relations were seen as existing only outside of Britian in the colonies in less civilizes places Homosociality vs. Homosexuality Homosociality- same sex relationships that are not of romantic or sexual nature Homosexuality- romantically or sexually attracted to people of their own gender Public vs. Private Male homosexual practices available through public records: court

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