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The London Lock Hospital in the Nineteenth Century

Gender, Sexuality and Social Reform

Maria Isabel Romero Ruiz

Based on archival research, this volume is concerned with the treatment of «fallen women» and prostitutes at the London Lock Hospital and Asylum throughout the nineteenth century. As venereally-diseased women, they were treated in the hospital for their physical ailments; those considered ripe for reform were secluded in the asylum for a moral cure. The author analyses the social and cultural implications arising from the situation of these female inmates at a time when women’s sexuality was widely debated, using a gender-informed and postmodernist approach.
The volume covers notions of purity and deviancy, issues of gender and sexual identity, the social and cultural issues connected with so-called fallen women and prostitutes, and descriptions of venereal disease and treatments for women patients at the time. The Contagious Diseases Acts and their impact are examined, as are the social and cultural implications of the creation of specialised hospitals and places of moral confinement. The book provides a complete picture of the Lock Hospital and Asylum and is an important contribution to the history of hospitals in the Victorian period.
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About the author

About the author


MARIA ISABEL ROMERO RUIZ is Lecturer in Social History and Cultural Studies at the University of Málaga. Her research interests include the social and cultural history of deviant women and children in Victorian England, and contemporary gender and sexual identity issues. She has published extensively and her edited or co-edited volumes include Identity, Migration and Women’s Bodies as Sites of Knowledge and Transgression (2009), Cultural Migrations and Gendered Subjects: Colonial and Postcolonial Representations of the Female Body (2011) and Women’s Identities and Bodies in Colonial and Postcolonial History and Literature (2012).

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