Coming Out by Jeffrey Weeks. Homosexual Politics – A History

This book is a study of homosexual politics in Britain from the C19th to the 1970s. It was written by the historian, sociologist and gay activist Jeffrey Weeks.

Coming Out By Jeffrey Weeks

From the back cover of the book

“Coming Out records the growth of homosexual law reform from the development of harsh legal and social oppression in the late 19th century to the tremendous impact of the gay liberation movement today”

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The Chapters in the 1983 edition are as follows.

Part One: Definitions and Self Definitions

1. From Sin to Crime

2. The Medical Model

3.  A Way of Life

Part Two: Pioneers

4. Speaking Out: John Addington Symonds

5. Havelock Ellis and Sexual Inversion

6 Edward Carpenter and Friends

Part Three: Invisible Women

7. Lesbianism and the Position Of Women

8. Lesbianism and the Women’s Movement

9. Emerging Identities

Part Four: Approaches to Reform

10. Creating a Consciousness

11. Reform Societies

12. Homosexuality and the Left

13. Norman Haire and Sex Education

14. Prelude to Reform

15. Law Reform

Part Five: The Gay Liberation Movement

16. The Gay Liberation Front

17. A Gay Community

18. Old Ways, New Departures.

From the Introduction

“This book is intended as an exploration of a particular homosexual experience – that of reform groupings – but in pursuing this I hope to be able to offer some more general comments about the nature of the changing homosexual situation in Britain over the past 100 years:

Quotes from the back cover of the book

“This important book has a part to play in the revolutionary struggle by recognizing an oppressed minority and allying that fight against this oppression within the broader struggle against sexism” – Emmanuel Cooper. Morning Star.

“Jeffrey Weeks’s through, entertaining, and generally well written books surveys changing attitudes, and movements attempting to change them, over a century – Keith Walker New Society”





The New Matriarchy. Woman’s Legal Status in History

This book is a critique of the notion that patriarchy is somehow a “natural state of mankind.” It is also a history of woman’s legal place throughout history. It was published in 1965

The New Patriarchy

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From the preface

“…as historians probe back into the twilight period of pre-history, it is becoming accepted that an ancient matriarchy existed when women were both honoured and looked upon as the guiding element in society”.


From the forward

“When I began many years ago to write a short account of the legal position of women from Anglo-Saxon times to the present day, I had no intention of embarking on a wider field. Then someone said to me: “You know, the mere account of the legal position of women affords a very partial view of their actual status at any given period.” This I saw was particularly true in medieval times when the influence of tradition and custom did much to mitigate the position of subjection laid down by Common Law. Gradually I started to collect the material to place a social and economic study guide side by side with the legal one and, in doing so, to endeavour to give a more complete picture of the status of women. Circumstance intervened and the manuscript was forgotten for many years. During this time I had become greatly interested in the Science of Religion, a profound metaphysical  school of thought that bridges the material world of action to the immaterial world of idea. I realised that it is the thoughts of men and their philosophy of life which are the underlying causes of historical development. Thus eventually the present work emerged which views the subjection of women, and their emancipation, a part of the psychological development which cannot be shown without spanning the ages and placing it in the framework of an evolutionary process”.

Children’s Clothes by Clare Rose

Children's Clothes by Clare RoseClick on book to go to Amazon UK

From the swaddling bands of the seventeenth century to the designer’s fashions of today, here is a vivid history of children’s clothes over the last 200 years.

Clare Rose places children’s clothes in the widest context, relating them to adult fashion, theories of education such as those of Rousseau, society’s perception of the child, and manufacturing methods. She also examines what kinds of clothes were worn, when and by whom, what they cost, and what their wearers thought of them. Even ‘cruel’ forms of dress, it seems, such as constricting corsets and swaddling bands, expressed parents’ concern for their children. .

Children’s clothes is an accomplished reference book, widely illustrated in colour and black and white. Students of both fashion and history, teachers, collectors and anyone interested in childhood and its history will enjoy this delightful and useful book.

Clare Rose was for four years Keeper of Costumes at York Castle Museum, and tours extensively as an art lecturer. Her main interest are the history and social history of costume and textiles.

“The history of children’s clothes has sometimes been dismissed as a matter of ‘babygowns and old lace’, of interest only to the specialist. This could hardly be further from the truth. Like the other major branches of costume history, the study of children’s clothes acts as a window through which we can gain insights into the history of culture and ides, and into economic history”



The Biography of George Eliot’s Husband George Henry Lewes



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More than a century after her death George Eliot (the pen name of Mary Ann Evans) vies with Charles Dickens as the most widely read of Victorian novelists. But lurking in the shadows of her reputation is a man, George Henry Lewes, with whom she lived (but never marries) for more than twenty-five years. Now in this first biography of Lewes for more than half a century David Willams suggests that without him George Eliot might never have started writing fiction. It is to George Henry Lewes, therefore that we owe Middlemarch, Silas Marner, The Mill On The Floss, Adam Bede and others.

Who was this literary Svengali? A remarkable man certainly. His biography of Goethe remains the best in English of the great German literary all rounder. He was the first editor of the Fortnightly Review, He was, says Williams, the founding father of all newspaper columnists. He wrote dramatic criticism of such quality that Bernard Shaw remarked that he was the only man worth bothering with between him and Hazlitt. He wrote plays. He wrote novels He wrote lucidly and fluently on philosophy and science. His Biographical History of Philosophy was still being used by students fifty years after his death.

But, for all his worth as a critic and writer, G H Lewes will for ever be linked in people’s minds for his twenty five year relationship with Mary Ann Evans. When they chose to live together she was thirty five, a clever journalist in her own right, unmarried and plain. He was two years older, small and ugly and married with four children, but being cuckholded by an unfaithful wife. He was amusing, he could sparkle. He never lacked self confidence. Although there was a strong physical attraction between the two, the closeness of their relationship, their tender understanding of each other indicates a cerebral attachment that was to last.

To a certain extent their decision to live together openly brought private and later public disapproval. But they survived the rebukes , because George Eliot, the novelist, grew in critical esteem and public success that transcended the gossip. David Williams, however, offers copious evidence of how necessary an encourager, a prop, a reviser, an editor and an inspiration Lewes was to her. He was ((he concludes) a generous man, with wide ranging talents of his own. He was very much an actor too, a stage Fairy Prince, if you like, with a Cinderella he could work wonders with. It’s hard to think of anyone else in English literary history who can lay claim to his special sort of mixed and strange achievement.

David Williams reviews widely in the national press and has contributed much to BBC programmes. Among his earlier book are a biography/literary study of Clough whom he puts among the greatest and most neglected of Victorian poets; a biography of George Meredith who after the death of George Eliot succeeded to the tite of England’s greatest living novelist; a study called Genesis and Exodus of the talented but tragic Benson family though two generations spanning a century between 1840 and 1940; and a study of the eccentric vagabond genius George Borrow in a book published under the title A World of his Own.

(This text is from the dust jacket – I’m not so sure that we owe Middlemarch etc to George Eliot’s husband)