The Show on KJZZ

Listen live weekdays at 9 a.m.

Book Examines Hidden Sexuality In Victorian Literature

Published: Monday, March 20, 2017 - 2:59pm
Audio icon Download mp3 (9.42 MB)
(Photo via
"Exquisite Masochism: Marriage, Sex and the Novel Form" by Claire Jarvis

When you think about Victorian literature, you might think of great love stories like Jane Austen’s "Pride and Prejudice" or Emily Bronte’s "Wuthering Heights." You might think of long dresses, bonnets and unrequited love.

But would you think of passionate affairs and erotic love scenes? Not so much. But, a new book argues there’s more brewing behind all of those English prose.

In her new book "Exquisite Masochism: Marriage, Sex and the Novel Form," Stanford English Professor Claire Jarvis argues that Victorian novelists were, in fact, masters of the art of building sexual tension without ever mentioning the word "sex."

I spoke with her recently more about that book and what led to this hidden sexuality in Victorian literature.

The Show