About the Book
This book examines changing perceptions of sex between men in early Victorian Britain, a significant yet surprisingly little explored period in the history of Western sexuality. Looking at the dramatic transformations of the era—changes in the family and in the law, the emergence of the world's first police force, the growth of a national media, and more—Charles Upchurch asks how perceptions of same-sex desire changed between men, in families, and in the larger society. To illuminate these questions, he mines a rich trove of previously unexamined sources, including hundreds of articles pertaining to sex between men that appeared in mainstream newspapers. The first book to relate this topic to broader economic, social, and political changes in the early nineteenth century, Before Wilde sheds new light on the central question of how and when sex acts became identities.