repressive hypothesis

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Michel Foucault's term for the perception, which he demonstrates is historically false, that the Victorian era was silent on the issue of sex and sexuality. The era that was famously so morbidly fearful of the merest hint of sex that it covered the legs of pianos lest they call to mind naked human legs was as this very example illustrates obsessively concerned with sex. As Foucault argues in La Volonté de savoir (1976), translated as The History of Sexuality: An Introduction (1978), under the guise of repression sex became an object, or even more strongly, an incitement to knowledge in the Victorian era.

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies.

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