‘City of Laughter:
Sex and Satire in Eighteenth-Century London’
Between 1770 and 1830, London was the world’s largest and richest city, the centre of hectic social ferment and of spectacular sexual liberation. It prompted revolutionary modes of thought, novel sensibilities and constant debate about the relations between the sexes. It also stimulated outrageous behaviour, from James Boswell’s copulating on Westminster Bridge to the Prince Regent’s attempt to seduce a woman by pleading, sobbing and stabbing himself with a pen-knife. And nowhere was London’s lewdness and iconoclasm more vividly represented than in its satire. Combining words and images to offer a brilliantly original panorama of that time, ‘City of Laughter’ is a ground-breaking reappraisal of a period of seismic change and a unique account of the origins of our attitudes to sex, celebrity and satire today.