Chapter

Introduction

Diane Mason

in The Secret Vice

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print August 2008 | ISBN: 9780719077142
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781701089 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7228/manchester/9780719077142.003.0001
Introduction

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This book considers the construction and presentation of the masturbator in nineteenth-century fiction and medical writing, and the implication of him or her in a paradoxically ‘secret’ vice, made visible to the Victorians through a range of bodily signifiers yet invisible when perceiving the bodies of the late twentieth and twenty-first centuries. It demonstrates how the symptoms of solitary self-abuse may be seen to disclose other textual vices and pathologies. The ongoing debate on Victorian sexuality encloses the related issue of autoerotic behaviour, a field which is both problematic in terms of extent and implication, and dogged by a certain humorous mode of discourse.

Keywords: Victorian sexuality; masturbator; medical writing; solitary self-abuse; autoerotic behaviour; sexual advice

Chapter.  5241 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (19th Century)

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