City of Sin: London and its Vices

For Over A Thousand Years, England S Capital Has Been Associated With Desire, Avarice And The Sins Of The Flesh In This Text, Catharine Arnold Turns Her Gaze To The City S Relationship With Vice Through The Ages She Takes Us On A Journey Through The Fleshpots Of London From Earliest Times To Present Day.City of Sin: London and its Vices

Catharine Arnold read English at Cambridge and holds a further degree in psychology A journalist, academic and popular historian, Catharine s previous books include the novel Lost Time , winner of a Betty Trask award Her London trilogy for Simon Schuster comprises of Necropolis London and Its Dead , Bedlam London and Its Mad and City of Sin London and Its Vices.

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  • Paperback
  • 384 pages
  • City of Sin: London and its Vices
  • Catharine Arnold
  • English
  • 17 October 2019
  • 9781847393722

10 thoughts on “City of Sin: London and its Vices

  1. says:

    England swings like a pendulum do It seems that London was once a writhing cesspool of filth, corruption and sexy, sexy sex, and everyone who was anyone had syphilis Arnold s account makes everything that stays in Vegas look tame by comparison.From medieval bath house hijinks to the sixties Profumo affair most of the history seems to swirl around the staggering amount of money to be made by the selling of sex I think everything is summed up nicely by John Wilmot, Second Earl of Rochester in his poem The Debauchee Note due to salacious content, I ve hidden it as a spoiler To be viewed only by those over 18, or the intensely curious view spoiler I rise at eleven, I dine at twoI get drunk before seven and the next thing I doIs send for my Whore, when, for Fear of the ClapI come in her Hand and spew in her Lap.Then we Quarrel and scold til I fall fast asleep, When the Bitch growing bold, to my Pocket d...

  2. says:

    A sometimes interesting, sometimes insightful and sometimes boring dive into the life of prostitutes in London since the roman times of Londinium until the recent times of Belle du Jour Unfortunately, as the topic is quite vast, one cannot expect an exhaustive dive into the topic sometimes you get the feeling that Catharine Arnold stretches the topic needlessly while at other times, the topic is brushed off fast, to move on to the next thing.So the book is, in the end, inconsistent but I think it s a strong starting point for anyone exploring the topic of attitudes towards sex of a particular city, but the subject is rushed especially when it comes to the victorian times and onwards The lack of focus and sometimes the repetitive prose can become quite tedious, and at times I felt the need to skip some pages The Tudors are dealt with in detail, albeit in a repetitive manner, while I think that the Victorian age and the XXth century are rushed, incomplete, and would have deserved a lot But that would ve transformed a 300 pages book in a 1000 pages tome which probably would ve been impractical and predictably boring The structure, the chapters themselves, are rarely consistent, as so...

  3. says:

    Sex, sex, sex From prostitutes to pornography, from orgies to lewd sex acts today s vices are not new by any means This coarse world has always been center stage in human civilization since the dawn of man and heavily recorded starting with the Roman Empire The city of London has never shied away from its obsession with carnal desire even during the restricted Victorian period Pop historian Catharine Arnold explores the sex history of London in, The Sexual History of London From Roman Londonium to the Swinging City Lust, Vice, and Desire Across the Ages.Arnold s The Sexual History of London is a pop history romp attempting to overview the bawdy side of England s capital throughout the ages By no means is this meant to be an all inclusive, exhaustive academic piece but rather a saucy and entertaining expose and introduction to the topic The outline of The Sexual History of London follows a chronological study which helps the reader grasp and value the material Arnold pumps a lot of pack into her punch and instantly bombards with information fac...

  4. says:

    With such a titillating title, the reader might want to use a book cover when reading it in public However, this is a serious look at the sex trade in London from the time that it was called Londinium and the Romans brought their camp followers to Britain until modern times and the use of the internet for advertising.London had prostitutes than any city in the 17th 19th centuries Poverty was rampant and girls had to go on the game to survive Of course, there were the high class ladies who had a wealthy protector who supported them and who retired with property and riches But the majority of the working girls were pathetic, dirty and disease ridden and seldom lived past age 35 There were periods when the authorities cracked down on the profession and there were times when it was basically ignored as the government had economic issues which took precedence At one time the penalty for homose...

  5. says:

    Tales of debauchery This is a very entertaining look at the underground and sometimes right out in the open sexual history of London, from Roman Londinium to the modern era In its 2000 years of existence, London has seen it all, and there are many surprises here The first chapter on Roman London suffers a bit from an apparent lack of local evidence, and so it includes a lot of speculation based on generalities of urban life in the empire, and the extreme depravity of the Caesars which she cites as setting a social standard in Britannia questionable However, the account becomes much lively and detailed with the second chapter on Medieval London, and remains fascinating to the end Some of the accounts almost defy belief Every stripe of sexuality, every kink, and every variety of commercial sex seem to be well documented from that early period onwards, and there s much to surprise even a well read lay...

  6. says:

    After reading K.J Charles s tremendously fun historical gay romance novel, Unfit to print , I wanted nothing than to find out about Victorian pornography and prostitution Luckily, I had Catharine Arnold s City of Sin London and Its Vices in my library, so I dived into it City of Sin is a 333 page description of mostly prostitution in London, starting from Roman times and ending in about 2009 the book itself is a bit longer, however, due to the references at the end And that would be great, but there isn t enough room to cover things in detail, so it can be a bit hard to truly feel the differences in lifestyle between various ages In short, prostitutes tended to be accepted today, shunned tomorrow, their services were sought out even while they were blamed for the spread of venereal disease, they could earn a lot or barely get by, and the higher up in the hierarchy they were, the likely they were not to be prosecuted for their profession Flagellation became a popular English kink at some point the 18th c., perhaps , especially for the upper classes The book is a bit unbalanced the Romans go by in the blink of an eye, but the 18th and 19th get about 200 pages, after which history moves forward at high speed again, when we get to hear a few sex scandals from the beginning of the 20th century instead of...

  7. says:

    Catherine Arnold s City of Sin London and its Vices is an entertaining history of the sex industry in London.Arnold takes us back as far as Roman times, and is concerned mostly with prostitution although pornography is dealt with in passing She encompasses every level of prostitution in her story, from the humbles streetwalkers to the most expensive and successful courtesans like Nell Gwyn and Skittles.The author does her best to give her subject matter an even handed treatment She doesn t gloss over the unpleasantness of life for those at the bottom of the heap of the profession although she makes it clear that quite often it was the most attractive of a range of not terribly good options And she also doesn t deny that for those at the top life could be very sweet indeed Catherine Walters known popularly as Skittles was a major celebrity of the Victorian era and died a very wealthy woman in her luxury London townhouse at an advanced age For courtesans like Skittles the wages of sin were very lucrative indeed.To her credit the author also doesn t attempt to demonise the clients of prostitutes.Those who come off worst in this history are the short sighted and often very creepy moral reformers whose efforts generally end up making life worse for those they claim to be trying to protect The Victorian journalist and self appointed moral guardian W T Stead being a case in point and it s pleasing to be able to report that he came to a bad end.An entertaining piece of social ...

  8. says:

    Written with an easy style that informs as well as entertains, City of Sin is an eagle eyed view of the English branch of the world s oldest profession through the ages, from the first girls brought in chains to our shores for the sport of the Romans, right up to modern sex workers advertising on the internet, scoring publishing deals and causing the Daily Mail to work themselves into self righteous froths.Taking in those who chose to enter the profession as well as those forced into in through one means or another, from the poorest street walker to the semi celebrity kept mistresses and courtesans as well as the pimps, bawds and others making money from them, this is a fascinating trip through the ages and the changing attitudes towards sex Eye opening and, at times, eye watering details such as when contemplating the ancient condoms carved from tortoiseshell that the Chinese apparently had to endure all paint a vivid picture of a city with a voracious sexual appetite, as do some of the wonderful names of those serving that appetite, as in the delightful case of Clara la Clatterballock.Also tracking the many hypocritical attempts by the authorities during the ages to shut the trade down while continuing ...

  9. says:

    I enjoyed the style of writing of this, however I was a bit disappointed I thought this book was going to than the history of prostitution and written erotica , but no, it appears to be p much only that I really thought it d touch on a whole lot of other stuff as vice is a pretty broad word There is so, so, so much interesting stuff that was left out, drugs, alcoholism, crime, etc but it only seems to explore these things, if at all, wit...

  10. says:

    Interesting Onwards to the next book in the series, now.

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