Victorian Britain, at the head of the vast British Empire, was the wealthiest and most powerful country in the world. Yet many of its citizens were denied basic civil rights. At the Margins of Victorian Britain focuses on the political means of policing unwanted 'others' in Victorian society: the Irish, Catholics and Jews, atheists, prostitutes and homosexuals. In this groundbreaking study, Dennis Grube details the laws and conventions which were legally and culturally enforced in order to bar these 'others' from gaining power and influence in Victorian Britain. Utilizing a wide-ranging analysis, the book focuses on key case-studies: the anti-Semitism explicit in Lord Rothschild's barring from the House of Commons; the fine line between accepted male love and companionship and homosexuality, which exploded in the Oscar Wilde trial in the 1890s; and how laws against disease were used to police prostitutes and correct moral vices. Grube argues that while religious outsiders were politically integrated over the course of the century - such as Catholics after the Emancipation Act of 1829 - others were labeled morally deviant and consolidated an outsider status. This will be essential reading for those working in the fields of Victorian Studies and Social and Cultural History.
At the Margins of Victorian Britain
Politics, Immorality and Britishness in the Nineteenth Century