All for Love: Seven Centuries of Illicit Liaison

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Bloomsbury Academic, Sep 30, 2006 - History - 256 pages
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For centuries, the vagaries of human passion have moved, amused or scandalised us. This fascinating account explores seven centuries of relationships outside marriage, from all levels of society and the perspectives of both women and men. Drawing on literary sources as well as personal letters, criminal trials and divorce papers from the National Archives, it uncovers people's real attitudes to sexual transgressions, from the rumbustious 14th century to the 'permissive society' of the 1960s - and much swept under the carpet along the way. The topics include adultery, prostitution, divorce, high-society scandals, homosexuality, wartime romances, the effects of class and religion and the complex - often contradictory - standards imposed on love and sex.Famous and infamous cases, popular ballads and individual stories evoke the very real perils of love that broke the rules - pregnancy, social disgrace, loss of marraigeability, employment and a respectable future. Both a celebration of sexuality and a sober analysis of its consequences, this is a thoughtful, deeply moving guide to our ancestors' hidden desires.

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About the author (2006)

Val Horsler has been involved for almost 30 years in history, heritage and archaeology publishing, most recently as Head of Publishing at English Heritage. Now a full-time writer and editor, her recent publications include Living the Past (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2003) and This Spectred Isle: a journey through haunted England (co-authored with Susan Kelleher, English Heritage, 2005). She has also edited Girton: Thirty Years... in the Life of a Cambridge College (Third Millennium, 2005) which explores the effects on her old college of the admission of men in 1977. She has two daughters and lives by the sea in Deal, Kent.

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