Sunday, 31 January 2016

Book Review: Mother Clap's Molly House - The Gay Subculture in England 1700-1830 by Rictor Norton

Title: Mother Clap's Molly House - The Gay Subculture in England 1700-1830
Author: Rictor Norton
Publisher: GMP Publishers
Publication Date: 1992 

Pages: 288
Format: Paperback
Genre: Non-Fiction 
Source: Bought Copy




This pioneering study breaks new ground in presenting the gay community's history by sporting one of its more distinctive branches—molly houses. In this updated edition, with two new chapters, Rictor Norton digs deeper into both past and present to rediscover the original foundations of the molly subculture and challenges traditional notions by suggesting that it was primarily composed of the working class—blacksmiths, milkmen, publicans, and shoemakers. More extravagant personalities are investigated as well, such as dramatists Samuel Foote and Isaac Bickerstaff, and the Rev. John Church, denounced for blessing gay "marriages." (Goodreads Synopsis)


I was trying to get a copy of Mother Clap's Molly House - The Gay Subculture in England 1700-1830 for ages, but the few available were so expensive. Finally I saw one a little cheaper and snapped it up, and I'm so glad I did. This is an impressive study which sheds light on homosexuality in the Georgian era. As an MM writer keen on historical settings, this will be invaluable to me, aside from my general interest in the topic. It is clearly well-researched, yet the prose is approachable and not stodgy, making it a great resource for both the history student and the casual reader. This is a book I know I will be referring back to again and again.

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