Links and Snippets: repression as a virtue

March 14th, 2012 § 0 comments

From a 1970 edition of the New York Review of Books, a review article on Victorian sexuality. Among other things, makes the case that yes, repression really was the cornerstone of Victorian civilization:

If anyone had asked an intelligent broad-minded member of the mid-Victorian clerisy what was the greatest achievement for which future generations would revere his own age, it is doubtful whether he would have cited humanitarianism, or thrift, or the triumphs of industrialism. He would not probably have staked out a claim for godliness since the church parties were so bitterly sectarian. More likely he would have replied that nothing had changed society more than the reform of sexual morals and the serious condemnation of what Matthew Arnold called Lubricity.

Testing the limits of a pacifist:

the Bloomsbury Group writer, Lytton Strachey… was – how shall I put it – a confirmed bachelor and also a conscientious objector and a pacifist. And he appeared before the conscientious objection board and they were obviously going to quiz him on whether or not he truly was it or was just a coward trying to get out of serving. They said, “Mister Strachey, are you married?” “No.” he said. “Well,” they said, “Do you have a sister?” “Yes I do have a sister.” And they said, “Well, suppose a German soldier came and tried to rape her, what would you do?” He said, “Well in that case, I would endeavour to place myself between them.”

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