Dear Sir,Toby Thomas’s review of Muckraker: The Scandalous Life and Times of WT Stead (LR, July) reminded me of a meeting I had, some twenty odd years ago, with the education correspondent of the Daily Mirror. He told me that, when a schoolboy, his best friend lived in a rambling house, where he was looked after by a female relative. The boys often explored the house’s attics; in one of them they discovered a chest, labelled as the property of WT Stead, in which they found volumes of Victorian pornography and a collection of dildos, some ivory, some leather.
The Mirror man said that he and his friend were bewildered by the porn and the sex toys. They took some of the printed material along to school, where it created a stir among older boys. One of the teachers found out, took the boys aside and heard the story of Stead’s porn. He advised them to burn the lot. They did. The Mirror man, whose name I cannot remember, also said there was a link between Stead and his friend’s female relative. I imagine I could track him down if it was of interest.
Yours faithfully,John Fairhall (by email)
My name is Marc Mulholland. I am a Fellow (lecturer and tutor) in the History Faculty of Oxford University. My College is St Catherine's. I come from Ireland.
This is a blog relating to my book published in 2012 by Oxford University Press, Bourgeois Liberty and the Politics of Fear: From Absolutism to Neo-Conservativism. Now on sale here and here. If you want 20 per cent off the price, I can arrange that! Send me a message or leave a comment, and I'll tell you how.
The thesis my book is examining was rather pithily summarised by Leon Trotsky in 1939: "Wherever the proletariat appeared as an independent force, the bourgeoisie shifted to the camp of the counter-revolution. The bolder the struggle of the masses, the quicker the reactionary transformation of liberalism." [Context is here]
However, my book isn't a defence of Trotskyism, or indeed any particular ideology. It's a study of an idea that took shape in Left, Right, and Centre variations.
This blog has tid-bits not included in the book, and other thoughts that occur.
You can see book details at the OUP website.