Guide Postal Pleasures: Sex, Scandal, and Victorian Letters

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It tells this story by analysing literature that expresses the cultural consequences of this peculiar kind of "going postal. The postal network, its uniformed employees and its material trappings - envelopes, postmarks, stamps - were used to signal and circulate sexual intrigue.

For Anthony Trollope, Thomas Hardy, Eliza Lynn Lynton, Henry James, Oscar Wilde, Edward Carpenter, Arthur Conan Doyle, Bram Stoker and others, the idea of an envelope promiscuously jostling its neighbours in a post boy's bag, or the notion that secrets passed through the eyes and fingers of telegraph girls, was more stimulating that the actual contents of correspondence.


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By the period's end, the postal system had become both an instrument and a metaphor for sexual relations that crossed and double-crossed lines of class, marriage and heterosexuality. Mail and Sexual Scandal. Trollopes Postal Infidelities. Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem.

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Return to Book Page. Preview — Postal Pleasures by Kate Thomas. In uniformed post-boys were discovered moonlighting in a West End brothel frequented by men of the upper classes. However, the unlikely alliance between sex and the In uniformed post-boys were discovered moonlighting in a West End brothel frequented by men of the upper classes.

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However, the unlikely alliance between sex and the postal service was not exactly the news the sensational press made it out to be. Postal Pleasures explores the relationship between illicit sex and the Royal Mail from reforms initiated in up to the imperial end of the nineteenth century. With a combination of historical details and literary analyses, Kate Thomas illustrates how the postal network, its uniformed employees, and its material trappings-envelopes, postmarks, stamps-were used to signal and circulate sexual intrigue.

For many, the idea of an envelope promiscuously jostling its neighbors in a post boy's bag, or the notion that secrets passed through the eyes and fingers of telegraph girls, was more stimulating than the actual contents of correspondence. Writers like Anthony Trollope, Eliza Lynn Lynton, Henry James, Oscar Wilde, Arthur Conan Doyle, and others, invoked the postal system as both an instrument and a metaphor for sexual relations that crossed and double-crossed lines of class, marriage, and heterosexuality.

Postal Pleasures adds a new dimension to studies of the era as it uncovers the unlikely linkage between the Victorian Post Office and the queer networks it inspired. Get A Copy. Paperback , pages.

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Showing Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Aug 17, Tim rated it really liked it Shelves: queer , non-fiction.

Kate Thomas POSTAL PLEASURES Sex, [] – TheTLS

Fun and Fascinating! Kate Thomas takes us on a historical journey of the postal system in Victorian England via an examination of the novels and newspapers of the time and later academic examinations of the works of authors of the period. Along the way, she reveals how the democracy of the penny post opened written communication to all classes of society. Not only were the boundaries between classes blurred, but the division of public and private entered murky territory as well.

Thomas focuses o Fun and Fascinating! While I wasn't always convinced of the connections, that didn't detract from my delight in the historical anecdotes. Covering Oscar Wilde's trial for indecency to the personal letters of Henry James, it's impossible for me to view Victorians with the same quaint and staid lens through which they were seen prior to reading Postal Pleasures.

Aug 11, Richard Lodge rated it it was amazing. This is brilliant. A dense, smart, clever, witty, queer little slice of cultural history and literary criticism. It's sort of a work of an art in itself, in that its thesis is actually a little tenuous, but the verve of its telling rolls you along and makes you want to believe in it. Lots of learning worn lightly; lots of sharp analysis; lots of transgressive speculation.

Just enjoyable to read in the end, full of insights and provocations and odd little details. Loved it, loved it, loved it. Roger Whitson rated it really liked it Apr 16, Aya rated it liked it Dec 26, Bee Ridgway rated it it was amazing Dec 31, Miranda rated it really liked it Sep 11, Sarah rated it it was amazing Mar 27,