Homosexuality and domesticity are both considered eminently Victorian, yet both are also considered to have been mutually exclusive during the nineteenth century. Scholars have conceptualized domesticity as an ideology that made the heterosexual family normative and homosexuality as a form of sexual dissidence opposed in every way to the social forms enshrined by domestic ideology. This essay explores what comes into view if we theorize domesticity as a class privilege with no necessary relationship to heterosexual marriage. By identifying gender-neutral facets of domesticity, such as interiority, privacy, aestheticism, and sentiment, the essay makes it possible to think about the domestic attachments and longings of individuals and couples outside the heterosexual norm. The examples include novels by George Moore, Eliza Linton, and Rhoda Broughton; the anonymous pornographic work Teleny; the memoirs of John Addington Symonds; and historical figures such as Charles Ricketts and Charles Shannon, Michael Field, and Ernest Boulton and Frederick Park.
Skip Nav Destination
Sharon Marcus; At Home with the Other Victorians. South Atlantic Quarterly 1 January 2009; 108 (1): 119–145. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00382876-2008-026
Download citation file: