MIGHTY LEWD BOOKS. THE DEVELOPMENT OF PORNOGRAPHY IN EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY ENGLAND (London, Palgrave, 2003)
Mighty Lewd Books provides a radical new approach to the study of sexuality in an in-depth investigation of the development of pornography. Through an examination of more than 500 pieces of British erotica, it looks at sex as seen in culture, religion and medicine throughout the long eighteenth-century when erotic poems, salacious prints and obscene satires were sold in London coffee-house, in taverns, on street corners and in various book shops along the Strand and in Covent Garden.
The book explores images in erotic; female flagellants whipping their submissive charges; depraved monks corrupting innocent nuns; libertine rascals seducing young virgins; and rakes carousing with their whores. It also analyses the underworld of booksellers and distributors through trial records and witness depositions. Using the evidence of erotica, and taking a feminist approach, this book challenges the traditional view that women were generally seen as sexually passive.
'When [Julie Peakman] started out, the topic of erotic writing was a largely unchartered and under-theorized field. To a considerable degree she has had to carve out the boundaries of the topic for herself and work out her own intellectual framework...well researched, well-documented, well-argued and coherent....Makes a substantial contribution to scholarship'. Professor Roy Porter
Mighty Lewd Books gives is a readable, engaging and comprehensive account of the history of eighteenth-century pornography and erotica. Professor Tim Hitchcock
'Long overdue...Peakman's book is rich with detail and she presents texts that have been hidden from view, A must read.' Margaret C. Jacob, UCLA
'fascinating book...well-written and researched...this book offers intriguing new insights into a hidden area of gender history, challenging many preconceptions about the c18th century, BBC History Magazine
'fascinating and intelligent survey', Financial Times
'she displays the whole world of eighteenth-century erotica/porn....Peakman charts the changes in attitudes to male and female sexuality', Erotic Review