What did the Victorians know about desire between men?
Was it really 'the love that dare not speak its name'? "Nameless Offences" argues that even before Oscar Wilde and the rise of sexual science there was an open, public and concerted discussion of same-sex desire that went to the heart of Victorian notions of masculinity, civil society, class and identity.
How did homosexuality come to be known as a 'secret vice', consigned to a secret place - the closet - when contemporaries regularly described its existence as widespread, threatening and even notorious? "Nameless Offences" asks where the closet came from and how the English learned to describe that which was 'nameless' and indescribable in this way.
This groundbreaking book offers the definitive portrait of male homosexuality in the nineteenth century and includes many perceptive insights into what it reveals about the interaction between public and private morality which lay at the heart of Victorian England.