Ladies of the Night: Prostitution in the Victorian World (HIH1585)

15 credits

Debates about prostitution dominated Victorian discourse. Newspapers reported crimes and prosecutions associated with prostitution and stirred up debates; government commissioned reports and debated the ‘problem’; religious organisation produced pamphlets; feminist groups ran campaigns; sociologists conducted surveys; medical experts produced scientific enquiries, novelists and artists placed the fallen women at the centre of their works. All this has left the historian with a mass of evidence about the nature and extent of prostitution in the Victorian world for us to study in this course. This module explores this mass of material. We go beyond the question of the accuracy of these sources to ask what their existence tells us about the nature of Victorian society and culture.