Sexual progressives

Reimagining intimacy in Scotland, 1880-1914

By Tanya Cheadle

Sexual progressives


  • Hardcover
  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-6046-1
  • Pages: 248
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £25.00
  • Published Date: November 2021
  • BIC Category: Modern History, History, Psychology: sexual behaviour, HISTORY / Europe / Great Britain / Scotland, HISTORY / Europe / Great Britain / Victorian Era (1837-1901), HISTORY / Social History, SOCIAL SCIENCE / Human Sexuality (see also PSYCHOLOGY / Human Sexuality), Scotland, C 1800 To C 1900, Humanities / Social & cultural history, Sexual Behaviour
  • Series: Gender in History


Sexual Progressives is a major new study of the feminists and socialists who campaigned against the moral conservatism of the Victorian period. Drawing on a range of sources, from letters and diaries to radical newspapers and utopian novels, it provides the first group portrait of Scotland's hitherto neglected sexual rebels. They include Bella and Charles Pearce, prominent Glasgow socialists and disciples of an American-based mystic who taught that religion needed 're-sexed'; Jane Hume Clapperton, a feminist freethinker with advanced views on birth-control and women's right to sexual pleasure; and Patrick Geddes, founder of an avant-garde Edinburgh subculture and co-author of an influential scientific book on sex. A consideration of their lives and work forces a reappraisal of our understanding of British sexual progressivism during this period and will therefore be of interest to all historians of modern gender and sexuality.


'Her book is beautifully written, thoroughly researched, and elegantly argued. Cheadle brings to life a cast of Scottish progressives-Bella Pearce, Charles Pearce, Anna Geddes, Patrick Geddes, and Jane Hume Clapperton-and the networks and discourse they created.'
Mary Linehan, Journal of British Studies


1 The reach of the 'unco guid'
2 Matrons, maidens and new men
3 Re-sexing religion in suburban Glasgow
4 Realising a more than earthly paradise of love
5 Deeds of daring rectitude
Select bibliography


Tanya Cheadle is Lecturer in Gender History at the University of Glasgow

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