Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A Little Conversazione

A magazine called the Englishwoman's Domestic Magazine was very popular in England during the latter half of the nineteenth century. Aimed at middle class women who stayed at home with the children and did all their own housework, it was full of helpful information on cooking, crafts, and pets. Of special interest were the fashions of the day; each issue featured a picture of a young lady wearing the latest Parisian creation, and included a pattern for making the garment at home.

Also popular was a feature called "Cupid's Post Bag" that contained letters from readers concerning affairs of the heart, along with Cupid's helpful replies. As time went on, this column was renamed "Conversazione" and the letters had taken a decidedly kinky turn. Questions regarding weight loss and husband hunting were replaced with ones about whipping young female servants and the pleasures of wearing corsets and spurs. Pornography, to be sure.

If you live in or around London and wish to actually read the naughty letters, you can do so at the British Library. Be forewarned, however. You will be under the scrutiny of a stern librarian while you read. (That might make it even more fun.)
You may also reserve the titillating issues in advance if you are a member of the library. They are catalogued separately.

Has anyone already seen these issues? Abel? Haron?


PK said...

Now if that librarian had a cane the reading would really be interesting!!


ronnie said...

Interesting post Hermione.

It's true, tales of the English aristocracy were rife with spankings and whippings of domestic staff. I've got a couple of particularly fruity accounts, I'll post one, bit out of sync with my normal stuff but fun anyway.

Thanks Hermione.

Hermione said...

PK - Yes, that would encourage speed-reading, I think.

Ronnie - I'm looking forward to reading them.


Anonymous said...

I love old magazines like that. Here in the US some of our older magazines actually contained articles on how to be a submissive wife. When I was a teenager, my cousin & I actually found an old article that gave husbands advice on when and how to spank an unruly wife. We found them in some old boxes in our grandparent's basement. The house has since burned down and the magazines lost.

I don't remember what the magazine was right off hand, but my cousin was appalled, I pretended to be offended also. I really wanted to read it from top to bottom! LOL

Paul said...

Hermione, in the nineteenth century
domestic discipline was considered necessary not at all kinky.
We tend to colour history with our own perceptions.
Warm hugs,

Hermione said...

Janeen - I would love to read those old magazines.

Paul - A lot of things that were considered acceptible then -- like slavery -- would be out of the question today. as you say, we do colour the past based upon our present reality.


dwcmike said...

just wondering, can we suggest that they put these magazines online...Mike