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Synopsis

Approached through the literature and literary personalities of the period, this fascinating study examines sexual behaviour in the Elizabethan age. Although there is much we will never know, poets and playwrights can provide valuable insights into our ancestors' sexual lives. Here, with help from the work of figures such as Shakespeare, Marlowe and Donne, Alan Haynes builds up a vivid picture of the sexual experiences of Elizabethans at all levels of society. We peep behind the bed curtains of the 'Virgin Queen' herself, who slept alone despite rumours that she was as sexually promiscuous as her mother, Anne Boleyn, and at characters such as Moll Cutpurse, a gutsy female transvestite who shocked and amused generations of Londoners in almost equal measure. The pressure of desire was profound and the author explores this to find compelling details. A unique behind the scenes study of the sex life of the Elizabethans, from courtiers to maids of honour and from citizens and their wives to drabs and pimps, this book will intrigue and fascinate anyone with an interest in the private lives of our forebears.

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