The Viney Agency

H.G. COCKS

H.G. CocksI teach modern history at the University of Nottingham – that means anything since the 18th century.  I am especially interested in the history of the body and sexuality.  I’ve been teaching since 1998, and have written three books and numerous academic articles.  Classified was serialised in the Times and the Daily Mail, and also led to media appearances on the Today programme (Radio 4) and the One Show (BBC1).      

LATEST BOOK: CLASSIFIED, THE SECRET HISTORY OF THE PERSONAL COLUMN

David AmbroseClassified lifts the lid on the hidden world of sex, violence, perversity and mystery that lay behind the personal ad in twentieth century Britain.  Like the internet today, the personal ad was the centre of many different fears and anxieties.  From the 1890s onwards, a hidden world of sex lurked behind ads for “companions,” and lonely soldiers, special “chums” and matrimonial proposals.  Some led to friendship, love and even marriage, while others led to terrible crimes, even to murder.  Classified tells us some of these stories.  It tells us how ordinary people (and British society as a whole) tried to think their way through sexual liberation, homosexuality, pornography, modern marriage, the gifts and trials of single life, and all of their attendant perils and opportunities, long before these became the everyday preoccupations of the present.  For much of the twentieth century, the personal ad was a symbol of everything that was both exciting and scary about modern sexuality.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Classified, The Secret History of the Personal Column (London, Random House, 2009); Nameless Offences: Homosexual Desire in 19th Century England (London, Tauris, 2003); The Modern History of Sexuality (London, Palgrave Macmillan, 2005)

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