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Join Professor Bill Naphy as he takes us on a journey through the history of female sexuality during the Enlightenment.
Despite the well-known story that lesbianism was not illegal in Britain because Queen Victoria couldn’t even contemplate it, the truth is that lesbianism was never even considered a crime or criminalised. Indeed, in some ways lesbianism wasn’t just tolerated but was considered, when viewed as ‘romantic friendships’, with tolerance, amusement, and at times, favour. This talk will consider the period of the Enlightenment and the ‘space’ given for female relationships by examining three particular cases: The Ladies of Llangollen, Anne Lister, and the headmistresses of a ‘School for Ladies’ in Edinburgh, to examine the boundaries within which women could maintain close, even intimate relationships with other women and where those boundaries ended.
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- Professor Bill Naphy
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