Family Secrets Shame and Privacy in Modern Britain
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Description: In an Edinburgh town house, a genteel maiden lady frets with her brother over their neice's downy upper lip. Woud the darkening shadow betray the girl's Eurasian heritage? On a Liverppol railway platform, a heartbroken mother hands over her eight-year old illegitimate son for adoption; she had dressed him carefully that morning in a sailor suit and cap. In a town in the Cotswolds, a queer vicar brings to his bank vault a diary - sewed up in calico, wrapped in parchment - that chronicles his sexual longings and his father's views on the subject.This is a book about what families hid in the past and why. Drawing upon scores of previously sealed records, it offers a sweeping account of hwo shame has changed over the last two centuries. Both a history of secrets and of how they were revealed, it journeys from the frontier of empire, where British adventures made secrets that haunted their descendants for generations, to the wood-panelled chambers of the Divorce Court, where a family's disgrace was dissected for public view. It explores personal, apparently idiosyncratic decisions: hiding an adopted daughter's origins, taking a disabled son to a garden party, talking ceaselessly (or not at all) about a homosexual uncle.In delving into the familial dynamics of shame and guilt,Family Secretsinvestigates the part that families, so often regarded as the agents of repression, have played in the transformation of social mores from teh Victorian era to the present day.
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List price: $38.95
Copyright year: 2013
Publisher: Oxford University Press, Incorporated
Publication date: 4/24/2013
Size: 6.50" wide x 9.50" long x 1.25" tall
|List of Illustrations|
|The Nabob's Secrets|
|Revelation in the Divorce Court|
|Shame and Guilt, Nature and Nurture|
|Children Who Disappeared|
|Other People's Bastards|
|Secret No More?|
|Talking It Out|
|The Repressive Family|
|Epilogue: Genealogy and Confessional Culture|