Australasian Journal of Victorian Studies, Vol 17, No 1 (2012)

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My Secret Life and the Sexual Economy of Fin-de-Siècle England

Marcus Keith Harmes, Barbara Harmes

Abstract


This paper proposes that the volumes of My Secret Life reveal an explicit linkage and juxtaposition of the respectable and perverse which was at the heart of fin-de-siècle British culture. In particular this paper reads ‘Walter’s’ text as a parody of materialism that terminates in fin-de-siècle ‘exhaustion’ and decline - ‘free-enterprise’ itself beyond control. Confession opens a site for resistance and subversion, ‘Walter’s’ text legitimating deviance and rejecting ideas of the thrift of sperm which characterized the discursive controls of the late-nineteenth century.

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