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The Secret History of the Personal Column


Paperback / softback

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Classified by H.G. Cocks
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Bohemian girl (London, S.W.) 24, in digs, interested most things, educated, lonely, desires man pal, London or abroad. On 1 September 1920 the Metropolitan police received a tip-off that a certain magazine, the Link, was running extremely dubious personal ads. An investigation and court case followed, and the editor of the Link, Alfred Barrett, found himself in the dock accused of promoting, among many other things, loose living, homosexuality, prostitution and white slavery. As he struggled to defend himself, the full weight of official disapproval and media outrage was brought to bear on him. So begins Classified, a fascinating sideways look at the history of relationships and attitudes to relationships in twentieth-century Britain, explored through the medium of the personal ad. From First World War soldiers hoping for lady friends who would send them food packages, to lonely clerks and typists desperate for love in the cities of 1920s England, through to the swingers of the 1960s and 1970s and the internet junkies of today, it shows how the personal ad has mirrored and encouraged seismic shifts in society and popular attitudes to relationships. At the same time, it als

Author Biography

H. G. Cocks is a lecturer in History at Nottingham University. He is the author of Nameless Offences (Tauris, 2003), a history of Victorian homosexuality, and (with Matt Houlbrook) editor of The Modern History of Sexuality (Palgrave, 2005).
Release date Australia
February 4th, 2010
Country of Publication
United Kingdom
Arrow Books Ltd
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