This is the first book specifically devoted to exploring one of the longest-running controversies in nineteenth-century Britain - the sixty-five-year campaign to legalise marriage between a man and his deceased wife's sister. The issue captured the political, religious and literary imagination of the United Kingdom. It provoked huge parliamentary and religious debate and aroused national, ecclesiastical and sexual passions. The campaign to legalise such unions, and the widespread opposition it provoked, spoke to issues not just of incest, sex and the family, but also to national identity and political and religious governance.
Formatted Contents Note
chapter Introduction chapter Contexts, themes and debates chapter Print culture and parameters chapter 1 'A Passage in Our History which We Could not Look Back Upon without Shame': The roots of discontent, c.1835-4824 Introduction chapter 2 Restraining the 'Devil in Our Sisters': James Wortley's Marriage Affinity Bills and the Scottish response, 1849-5147 Introduction chapter 3 The 'Misery of Scotch Law': Political discourses, legal precedents and cultural representations, c.1851-6971 Introduction chapter 4 'Sleeping While the Enemy is Busy Sowing His Tares': The challenge to scripture, c.1851-8886 Introduction chapter 5 'The Man is Everything, and the Woman Nothing': Protecting, purifying and conceptualising the family, c.1862-88109 Introduction chapter 6 'It is Too Readily Assumed that all Those Who are Opposed to this Kind of Marriage are Idiots': Public opinion, print and personal conscience, 1862-1906136 Introduction chapter 7 'It is Time this Controversy should End': Reform and reaction.