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Richard Godbeer: Sexual Revolution in Early America

Richard Godbeer: Sexual Revolution in Early America

USA 2004, 430 pp., brochure,  29.30
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This absorbing history overturns conventional wisdom about the sexual values and customs of colonial Americans. Drawing on exhaustive research into diaries, letters, legal records, and official documents, the author uncovers a persistent struggle between moral authority and the widespread expression of popular customs and individual urges. He concludes by detailing the fundamental shift in sexual culture during the 18th century toward the acceptance of a more individualistic concept of sexual desire and fulfillment. Godbeer's holistic approach to early American sexual attitudes makes this study fresh. His knowledge of Puritan sexual mores informs his lovely reading of sensuality of Puritan spirituality and illuminates Puritan sexual subjectivity. This book is also filled with poignant vignettes of saucy servants, jilted lovers, prostitutes with bodies wracked by venereal disease, and dead infants.
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