Legenda 47: stuff worth reading

[Legenda offers a brief, non-inclusive index of stuff I noticed and enjoyed since the last episode. It doesn’t usually include materials presented on the major fansites, which I love dearly, but which are linked in the sidebar. Because I always forget or just miss stuff, please add additional pieces of interest via link in the comments.]

Feature:

The big story this week was all the things. Coffee, t-shirts, coins, stamps! (Get stamps and coins from New Zealand Post here. They take credit cards and deliver internationally, woe is Servetus, who already succumbed bigtime to the merchandising machine for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.) I used to feel worse about this sort of collecting; then I read this article about souvenirs and fake souvenirs and felt better.

Would you pay $11k NZD for three gold coins, one of which has Mr. Armitage’s Thorin Oakenshield on it? I don’t think this picture looks much like him, but even so, I’m strangely tempted to say yes, so it’s good that I don’t have that kind of money available. No criticism of you, by the way, if you buy one of these things. One sort of hopes that profits will be folded into NZ government revenue and pay for things like roads and schools. I collected stamps as a girl and I’m licking my lips over this sheet of Armitages. Even if I never will get to use one myself. AgzyM asks what it’s like to see yourself on a stamp. I myself thought it was cringeworthy until someone pointed out that they’ll appear on airplanes, too. There used to be a rule in the U.S. that you had to be dead to make it onto a stamp. I wonder if that’s still true.

Anyway, all noodling aside — I’ve had three days of serious difficulty concentrating — I do want to make one plea: For everyone who’s going to buy any of this stuff, this is a time when we can really turn our private vices into public virtue. So if you want some Hobbit bling, do check out whether it’s available on amazon, and if so, use the Amazon affiliate links for the UK and U.S. located at RichardArmitageNet.com. They donate all commission generated from these purchases to charities Mr. Armitage profiles on his JustGiving pages. (If you look at the pages, you can see their donations recorded.) I’m always wishing I could give Mr. Armitage something for all the pleasure he’s brought me. This is the only really meaningful thing we can give him, I think, and know with certainty that it’s appreciated not only by him but benefits others. So let’s remind ourselves to use those pages!

Here’s their Hobbit store for the UK.

Here’s their Hobbit store for the U.S.

If you’re going to buy, check them out — there are posters, t-shirts, puzzles, calendars …

You can do the same via Richard Armitage Online — which donates commissions via cheque rather than JustGiving. Details (enter the portal) here.

RArchive:

Fanfic:

  • How Ladywriter spent her birthday, part one.
  • GB’s “One Last Try,” goes to chapter 8. The cliffhanger from last time is replaced with an even better one.
  • A beautiful ficlet set before the beginning of Robin Hood series 1, “Tell Me” by lillianschild. On the contemplative level, a worthy successor to bookishy — I love reading what’s in people’s minds when it’s presented with so much lushness and complexity. (No, not explicit.)
  • h/t someone on FB who may not want to be identified: “Taking her there with me,” explicit fic about Mr. Thornton and Margaret’s wedding night and the days afterward. Throws historical plausibility to the winds, but hot as heck, nonetheless.
  • At RAucous: “Hot August Night,” part 3. [Explicit; RPF.]
  • On the political and rhetorical role of rape in fanfic.

On tumblr:

[Note that tumblr is announcing a service interruption for Saturday, October 6th, 2012.]

OT, collateral attractions, and stuff I think about:

~ by Servetus on October 6, 2012.

39 Responses to “Legenda 47: stuff worth reading”

  1. I adore all of Lillianchild’s short fics on Guy and Marian. She writes their inner thoughts beautifully. Glad you found her work and have spread the word!

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    • yeah, I’m slow ๐Ÿ™‚ and I also have a limited amount of time I can allot to fanfic discovery. But people are always free, and indeed encouraged, to link to fics they like in the comments to the Legenda!

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  2. See? He did get on a stamp! I knew it’d happen! ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you for introducing me to RAucous’ stories (I’m loving them),to Mezz’ tumblr and to Guy-lty Pleasures’ Ooof of the day! Loved, loved, loved her analysis of that photo!

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    • Servetus thinks about how much of her income this month will be spent on stamps she will never use ๐Ÿ™‚

      I loved that analysis too. I wish tumblr were friendlier to commentators without tumblr accounts themselves.

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      • Oh I was just thinking I should re-read your post where you shared some tips on how to use tumblr, because I’d really like to let her and Mezz know how much I loved those posts! (are they even called posts on tumblr?)

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        • The thing to do if you want to leave a comment is set up an account (it doesn’t take long, and you don’t have to post yourself). Then you can “heart” a post you like, or reblog it if you want to look at it again later. I don’t think you can leave a comment on tumblr without having an account, although I could be wrong.

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  3. Thanks as always for the round-up and the shout-outs. My computer was not cooperating earlier on anything I wanted to do *sigh* but I finally got this to come up. Merchandising–man, my official calendar shipped today, I still have several books to come, now I am looking at stamps? Where does the madness end?! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Seriously, it’s totally cool that he is on a stamp.

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    • Angie, which calendar have you ordered? The one with the group on the front or Bilbo with the contract? According to Amazon both versions are unavailable at the moment.

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      • It’s the one with the group picture on the front, Mezz. I got a notice the other day they weren’t sure when they would ship it–I was originally scheduled to receive it today–and then I go notification today that it had been shipped. I had pre-ordered it on Sept. 7, Should get it Tuesday.

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  4. Thanks for the mention, Serv. Love your legendas – they give me an opportunity to catch up on all I’ve missed lately!! *hugs*

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  5. Thanks for mentioning my Tumblr, Serv. I’m having a lot of fun with it; there’s a lot of great stuff from other tumblrs that I enjoy and reblog, immersing myself in all things Armitage. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Mabelalexa’s photo edits and gifs are what drew me in to begin with. I love her work.
    And yes, I’ll be seeking out those stamps online too. *sigh*

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  6. Dear Servetus, you have just made my day by mentioning my *ooof* series of picture analyses here. I seriously do feel honoured! ๐Ÿ™‚
    As usual you have given me the weekly update that I needed. Caught up on GB’s tale (sweet) and loved the two other fanfics you recommended, plus fedoralady’s birthday story. Can’t wait for part 2. Happy Sunday to you!
    PS: if you have favourite pic of RA, I’d live to pick it apart… eh… analyze it as an *ooof*. suggestions welcome from anyone ๐Ÿ™‚

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  7. Hey, how am I throwing historical plausibility to the wind? ๐Ÿ˜‰

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    • Do you really want me to answer this? I’m a historian by profession, and I studied this subject for my doctoral exams. Wouldn’t you rather just enjoy telling the story you’re telling? I am, very much so.

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      • No, really, I’m very interested! As I said in my story, I try to make it realistic so I need to know if it isn’t ๐Ÿ™‚ Unless you don’t have time, which I’d understand perfectly, no worries.

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        • Lol! Yes, Servetus. You can make your next post analyze Victorian marital relations.
          No wait, I don’t want to know quite yet! Wait until my honeymoon chapter is written. (Nah, go ahead. I won’t change what’s on my mind anyway.)

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          • LOL, I’ve been putting this off forever not least b/c I don’t want to annoy my friends. I’m going to answer this time, though, I think, with some basic things to keep in mind. If there’s interest I suppose I can finally dig the books off the sheld and write the dreaded long post about this.

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            • The historical facts (at least as far as can be discerned by scholarly research into such a private affair) need not interfere with the fun modern fic writers have in making their own interpretations of Margaret and John’s bliss. I like to think that most modern reader will like a blend of historical reality with modern expectations. At least that’s what I attempt. There’s no need to get historically accurate for this part when writing fan fic.

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              • Since you’ve been the person I’ve most been worried about, I’ll take that as a signal to go ahead. And, although I tend to be a stickler about historical novels, I don’t see fanfic as clearly belonging to that genre (or at least not essentially). For me it has an entirely different purpose, and I love to read about Mr. Thornton and Margaret getting it on in the imaginations of all different kinds of authors.

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          • oh, and BTW I am *DYING* for that chapter. Have been for months. Can I scream it any louder? It must be coming in the next piece.

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        • OK. I hope this isn’t too brutal. When you read this, please keep in mind that I said I loved your *story* and found it really (cough) hot. I *adore* sexual awakening fanfic in all its forms. Just love it. However, here are some points about the history of the sexuality of the Victorians, made in very broad strokes:

          1. It’s unlikely, if both had been able, that they would have put off consummating the marriage on purpose or that Mr. Thornton would have seen this step as desirable or likely to improve his relationship with Margaret. Inter alia, the act of coitus was a legal step that made the union valid. While there are some isolated tales of unconsummated Victorian marriages, none of those circumstances obtain here, and most often they relate to the concrete fears or incapacities of the *man* — not usually a desire to be considerate of the new bride’s sensibilities. A Victorian woman might not have been eager for first coitus in terms of what we would call sexual desire, but there were plenty of other reasons for an upper-class woman to want to do it once she was married. Procreation was not the least of these. Someone in Margaret’s position would probably have been much more afraid of parturition than first coitus — it was widely known to be much more dangerous and much more painful. A woman whose legal husband hesitated to consummate the marriage at the first opportunity for doing so would potentially have been concerned / worried about the future of her union.

          (We might add to this that most Victorian upper-class couples also would have desired to reproduce quickly. The Victorian middle classes certain practiced birth control in terms of “stopping” at the very least once they had children, but the typical couple wouldn’t have desired to avoid or prevent the arrival of offspring at the very beginning of their marriage. I’ve often wondered if the popularity of “Mr. and Mrs. Thornton fic” doesn’t have something to do with the fact that Mr. Thornton can easily be written, with zero rhetorical or historical contortion, as someone who not only accepts the idea of, but concretely *wants* children, and if that capacity of characterization doesn’t make him a *more* desirable partner in the minds of some fanfic authors in the Richard Armitage fandom than Lucas North / John Porter, who are worried about STDs and unwanted pregnancies and often seem to considerately have condoms in their pockets.)

          2. It’s unlikely that Margaret would have been quite as uninformed as the story suggests. Remember that her father was a country parson and the series at least suggests that she was heavily involved in visiting people in her father’s parish. Historically, parson’s wives and daughters served as social workers all over country parishes from the end of the Reformation up until the secularization of poor relief, which was starting to happen in isolated places just in the period of this novel (and explains part of why the church / state relationship was preserved in that form for so long in pre-Industrial England — it had important social functions in an age when government wasn’t so highly developed as it is now). Someone in Margaret’s position would thus have been aware of the basic mechanics of sex, if not of all the details beyond a vague notion about penetration, and also of its potential pluses and pitfalls (desire / pain / abandonment / procreation), even if no one ever gave her “the talk.” At the very least, she would have been quite aware that men were expected to enjoy sex (so I just don’t buy the story’s mental note that she wonders whether Mr. Thornton is in pain during / after his climax). Indeed — the fact that men enjoyed sex and would do what they could to get it was one reason women were supposed to guard their virginity until after marriage, even if this was much easier for an upper class woman than for the average woman. Some in Margaret’s position would have known that women had desires they gave in to, to their peril. Female exual desire was dangerous — but not non-existent. Indeed it was dangerous *because* it existed.

          3. Someone in Margaret’s position also would not have been socialized to believe that women should simply not enjoy their marital responsibilities. Everything we know from historical research on diaries and literature of the Victorian literature suggests that women as well as men were socialized to consider sexual desire as an important aspect of potential marital relationships and regular sex as enjoyable aspect of them once they were sealed. Here’s a link to some evidence provided by an expert, should it be helpful to you: http://littleprofessor.typepad.com/the_little_professor/2007/08/no-sex-please-w.html “Lie back and think of England” was a statement that had a particular context — not of dislike of sex, but dislike of sex that occurred without love — and as far as I know the historical phrase is falsely attributed to the Victorian era. Based on the original source, the problem isn’t with a male marital partner who insists on having sex — but on one who insists on having sex without the surrounding emotional structure. See next point. Since everything about both versions of the story tells us that Margaret loved Mr. Thornton by the end of the narrative, this seems implausible in her case.

          4. As a corollary to that last claim, the story seems to distinguish between friendship and desire between marital partners in a way that would have been conceptually foreign to the Victorians. It seems to imply that Margaret likes Mr. Thornton and appreciates his consideration and maybe loves him “platonically,” but doesn’t desire him physically, has to be instructed by him in even feeling this desire, and doesn’t want to admit that it’s happening even when she begins to feel arousal, which she either refuses to admit or doesn’t recognize (the latter trope, incidentally, is a kind of canard circulating in European literature beginning in the Enlightenment and seems to relate to some kind of male fantasy about breaching the desires of those who’ve put themselves outside of desire — one example of this is seen in Denis Diderot’s “The Nun”). But for upper class Victorians of these stripes, physical desire and spiritual love were closely entwined. Mutual heterosexual pleasure during coitus was desired not as evidence of skill at lovemaking or generosity toward the other (it’s not “look what a great guy Mr. Thornton is because he wants Margaret to enjoy their marital encounters” or “isn’t orgasm a wonderful feeling, everyone should have it” that’s being sought after for the Victorians), but because it is a reflection of an ineffable spiritual bond between marital and sexual partners. (Comparisons are odious — but this is why Trudy Brasure’s deflowering scene in _A Heart for Milton_ absolutely hits the vibe of first coitus between presumably loving marital partners exactly right *from a historical perspective.*) As a clue to this mood we can read the end of Gaskell’s novel — in which Mr. Thornton and Margaret embrace so vehemently. This action was more than sufficient for its original audience as an expression of their desire for each other — in the spiritual is not separated from the sexual — and it explains why the language around embraces in much Victorian literature is so unabashedly rapturous. (There’s a reason we love reading that stuff — I would say, not because of the repression of sex, but because sex and desire are represented in such unabashedly spiritual terms.) Thornton and Margaret don’t choose not to embrace because they are repressed (oh, they couldn’t kiss! Those poor Victorians, always having to hide their desires!) but rather, out of the sentiment of a true spiritual relationship that would be consummated on all levels, but only finally in the marriage bed. (Note how Thornton warns Margaret in that chapter to send him away or he will do something unpredictable — that embrace!; note his concession in this scene that his statement of love for her during the rejected proposal scene halfway through the book was presumptuous. He’s not being facetious; in the context of Victorian romance and sexuality both of those statements are entirely clear in their meaning. Similarly, note Margaret’s insistence in the book version of the rejected proposal scene that his love is presumptuous — this is a class base issue for her, but the thought of his spiritual or notional desire for her is equally or even more disturbing to her than the possibility that he might want her physically. We have a hard time seeing this because our concept of love between romantic partners is so heavily sexualized, and because we have been taught that mutual orgasms make a loving relationship even better — so if that stuff is not there, people feel cheated or like their relationship is insufficient.) Because our age doesn’t “get” this language for talking about desire, in order to make the same point, the series had to rewrite the ending of the book and make Thornton kiss Margaret in the train station — but in line with this physical/spiritual connection, it’s a kiss that hints only very slightly or not at all at sexual desire, not because they didn’t feel it, but because kissing between lovers in this social segment was also supposed to be a sign of a spiritual connection. Thornton kisses her hand first not because he’s worried about scaring her with his passion or thinks she won’t get it if he kisses her lips or even because he’s trying to whet her appetite for more, but because their romantic partnership is meant to be equally mutual on a spiritual basis.

          5. Of course, there are gradations in Victorian society; Victoria was queen of England for quite a long time. Later Victorian society was certainly more sexually restrained / suspicious of desire than the earlier variety — but keep in mind in the late 1840s, we’re still very early in this development. And the things that are said of the ridiculous extent of Victorian prudery (women who won’t refer to the leg of a table as a leg but insist that it be called a limb, something I hear a lot of references to) are first of all more true of American Victorianism than the English variety, and even there seem to be relatively rare. Again, for a quick reference you could consult The Little Professor, who’s a specialist on this theme as it appeared in Victorian letters: http://littleprofessor.typepad.com/the_little_professor/2009/05/ah-those-american-victorian-prudes.html . One example of the tendency to write later Victorianism onto the earlier variety is the whole discourse about separate beds. Early Victorian upper class women outside the nobility didn’t sleep in separate beds at anything like the rate that fanfic seems to suggest. Insofar as they did, this is not an issue about wanting to avoid molestation by their eager husbands. Rather, it’s about status, consumption, and comfort and the differentiation of the middle classes from their poorer fellows. For much of previous history, most Europeans had been sleeping in pretty close quarters to each other — beds were the most expensive piece of furniture in a house, and the poorer a family, the nearer they slept to each other. Noble women didn’t sleep alone in rooms, either, before that — they just weren’t sleeping with their husbands. Eventually, as a medicalized discourse about sex emerges, in the later Victorian years (after the 1870s), experts started to make arguments that separate beds were more salubrious — that it was *dangerous* for anyone but sexual partners to sleep together, and even sexual partners should be careful because they could be exposed to disease or the sapping of their vital energies (for example, if the man were constantly under temptation to initiate intercourse). Eventually psychologists would make arguments about the dangers of children being exposed to their parents’ sexuality — but this is much, much later than the time frame of _North & South_. But a frequent solution or compromise answer to these difficulties among middle-class Victorians was the twin/double bed — a single bed with two separate mattresses — or even separate twin beds.

          6. It’s fair to say that Victorians were largely unaware of the mechanisms of female arousal — in the sense that from our perspective it seems that they didn’t have sufficient physiological knowledge to generate one. Desire happened (or didn’t), but the presence or absence of it was assumed to be natural. So it wasn’t that people thought women couldn’t have orgasms (or even shouldn’t) — the sexuality of the previous centuries (which assumed that women experienced sexual desire, sometimes saw it as funny, sometimes as dangerous, and which even involved speculation about whether female orgasm was necessary for procreation — see Thomas Laqueuer, _Making Sex_, which ends before this period but gives us a lot of valuable information on how previous centuries saw the relationship between desire, procreation, and reproductive physiology) hadn’t receded quite *that* far into forgetfulness by the late 1840s. But because of the spiritual burden with which upper class Victorians loaded the sexual act, the female orgasm wasn’t the Holy Grail of mutual sexual pleasure between heterosexual partners that it became after about 1960, when — at least in the eyes of the media –sex became more about pleasure than about anything else for a large segment of modern industrialized society. A loving Victorian husband would certainly not have wanted to his wife to cringe at the thought of intercourse or been casually dismissive of her pain; he would have been pleased that she enjoyed the act — because it would have been a testament to mutual love; and certainly, he would have done things in bed to please her (within certain boundaries — we’re not talking prolonged cunnilingus here in the middle classes but probably something like more extensive kissing and caressing, which he ideally also would have enjoyed because he *also* would have seen the spiritual connection as co-equal to the sexual one). But it’s just not really credible that someone in Mr. Thornton’s position would have spent all this time worrying about achieving Margaret’s pleasure, or providing it for her, or adjusting the angle of her hips to provide better penetration, or whatever. Not because he was cruel, or oblivious, but because the hunt for the elusive female orgasm wasn’t the point. When the female orgasm happens, it’s a sort of embellishment on top of the spiritual / sexual connection that culminates in procreation — female pleasure is not an end in itself.

          7. I’m leaving a discussion of paraphilias and/or extramarital sex out of these comments — but obviously, that is the ideal picture (above). That it didn’t always work that way has never been at question (see Steven Marcus, _The Other Victorians_, but only if you have a fair amount of adventurousness as a reader, or Barbara McClintock, _Imperial Leather_, equally), nor that it was highly conditioned by issues of class and patriarchy. I’m talking above mostly about ideology, and the sources for the study of this topic have to be read extremely carefully, not least because the Victorians have a very sophisticated language of implication as opposed to our post-sexual revolution directness. (Richard Armitage himself has suggested more than once that that appearance of repression, in which people weren’t constantly articulating desire *as* desire, is a major reason why people love this story so much.) But in most fanfics, the Mr. Thornton / Margaret pairing seems intended to reflect an ideal picture, so if historical *accuracy* is the goal (which I would argue, it’s not for most fanfic authors, beyond a certain level), then it would make sense to take the matters above into account.

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          • My. God. And here I was all prepared to brag about that **one** book that I read on the subject (“Secrets d’alcรดve” by Laure Adler). Now I feel ridiculous, albeit enlightened ๐Ÿ˜€ Thank you SO much for taking the time to explain at length what is amiss in my fic. Your explanations are fascinating. I’ll have to read them again to take it all in! But then you’re right, I cannot modify my fic in that sense, or I’d have to start all over again. I’m going to have to live with the knowledge that I write complete rubbish (just kidding of course, don’t feel bad!). And now you have me wishing you would write a John/Margaret fic on the subject…
            I did read “A heart for Milton” and enjoyed it very much, by the way!

            I’ll just finish my post by explaining why I thought it might have been plausible for John to delay the consummation of the marriage (by one night, let’s not go over the top!): there is a famous quotation from the French writer Balzac (not trying to show off, I’m French myself and he’s a writer we study at school), who said that one should never begin a marriage with a rape. He actually enjoined young men to be patient with their wives and to let them accustom themselves to their presence before getting it on with ๐Ÿ˜‰ And he was contemporary of E. Gaskell, so in my head, this piece of advice has crossed the Channel and made its way right into Thonrton’s pretty ears ๐Ÿ™‚ Completely unrealistic, I know ๐Ÿ˜‰
            Thank you so much, again!

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            • Well — and this is important — it could have been different in France, as it certainly was in Vienna. That’s kind of the point of historical research — it’s always about context. Also, the novel really leaves ambiguous just how middle class Mr. Thornton is (which makes it easy for fanfic authors to assume that his mother is actually more of a prude than he might have been). I haven’t read tons of Balzac but he was on our list of suggested readings for doctoral exams — “social history of Europe since 1750.” To give you an idea — for that exam (one of four) we were required read and critique over 400 scholarly books in addition to primary sources and novels. No fiction author can be expected to do that kind of research — that is not what fiction is about (even historical fiction, a genre about which I have a lot of ambivalence, as regular readers of this blog know). History is about being prepared to do history research (what historians do) and in order to know that you have to know what has been argued about history in the past.

              I would never have guessed you weren’t a native speaker of English from your writing, btw. It is *extremely* well written.

              And as far as your fic goes: I love the story. I love the sexual awakening part. I love the sex itself. I love imagining that Mr. Thornton and Margaret could have had this kind of conversation with each other and this kind of sex with each other (even as I factor out what I’ve learned about the period from study). I like thinking about Richard Armitage playing this role and imagining I’m Margaret. I feel positively about it because when I write fic in my head or my computer screen, I am always including anachronistic elements because they happen to please or gratify me. (I am a big fan of h/c and I will commit all kinds of anachronism just to fit that in, in my own fantasies and stories.)

              Fanfic is the literature of wish fulfillment and I totally celebrate that. (I wrote a piece about that about a year ago: https://meandrichard.wordpress.com/2011/11/03/what-fanfic-means-to-me-an-attempt/ ). I love knowing or learning about what is on other people’s minds and the wishes they want to have fulfilled, and so I loved reading your fic. Your story is, in that sense, hardly rubbish. It’s very eloquent and it obviously speaks to a lot of people (I ran across it in a private group that exists to share explicit Armitage fanfic for purposes of discussion only — and ti was *enthusiastically* recommended). You don’t need to defend it on any grounds — it speaks for itself. The stuff about historical accuracy is solely my issue, becuase it’s my profession.

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          • Sorry. Forgot to thank you for this! It was fantastic. The freedom of both parties to enjoy conjugal bliss which you describe seems to run contrary to the ‘Angel of the House’ standard or the theories by some men of those days that suggested that women experienced no (or shouldn’t!) great pleasure in the marital act – a particularly presumptious declaration when the exact functions of the female organs weren’t even known then!
            My old-fashioned values have not let me lose sight of the special bond that sex should be between a married couple. I’m completely aware of today’s emphasis on the pleasure principle. It’s so much more than an exercise in physical gratifjcation. At least that’s my view. ๐Ÿ™‚
            Thanks for mentioning AHFM as an example.

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            • I think I’m going to decline to reread Patmore (uch, bad memories from 1995), but iirc it is a poem that pushes notions of reciprocity, with the man being urged to attain certain ends for the sake of his wife just as particular burdens are placed on the woman. It doesn’t anywhere tell the woman *not* to enjoy the physical pleasures of marriage. (At least I don’t remember those bits, if it does.) It does strongly admonish her to derive her most important pleasures from pleasing her spouse, even when that’s difficult or she finds him tiresome. It even closes with that bit about leaving on the wedding journey and staying in a hotel and enjoying the wine together. IIRC it’s strongly consonant with the “passion = ineffability” argument on both sides. It’s also slightly post-N&S, and its most important reception history again comes from the late Victorians. Anyway, the line I always remember is about how if you want to keep the love in your marriage, “the death of nuptial joy is sloth,” i.e., don’t stop working at it.

              I’m not a medical historian, but my understanding from those who are is that most medical literature is now read as strongly prescriptive as opposed to descriptive. I’d have to see dates on treatises and discussion of their reception to be convinced (and I’m willing to be, I’m always eager to learn stuff), but again, this sounds more like post-1860s than late 1840s to me. I do recall that there’s an important discourse about the dangers of being sexually incontinent and thus infecting your wife with an STD, that draws line between the virtuous wife and the prostitute or the loose woman whose pleasure in the sexual act is connected with her status as disease carrier — but again, my feeling is that that’s stronger later. Again, I’m happy to be told otherwise.

              My own position on the central question is that sex can be lots of things. For me it’s most often just physically relaxing; I find it a happier experience when I don’t load it with emotional expectations of any kind. I grew up with “no sex before marriage,” but once it was clear to me how reluctant I would ever be to marry, I decided I wanted to have that experience. But that’s just me; I am a definite proponent of adults having the kind of sex they want to have with other consenting adults, and that includes the marital variety.

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  8. Thanks for mentioning my Little Guy group on Facebook. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Just for information : I have recalled it “Little Guy and Thorin Friends Network”. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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  9. […] offers a brief, non-inclusive index of stuff I noticed and enjoyed since the last episode. It doesn't usually include materials presented on the major fansites, which I love dearly, but […]

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  10. […] I said once, in an obscure place, the little sex Trudy writes is strongly historically accurate. Trudy gets what I’d call the “ineffability and sublimity” orientation of the […]

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