Through the Keyhole
Sex, Scandal and the Secret Life of the Country HouseBook - 2015
A deft analysis of sex, power, and the media in the Regency era describes how the scandalous private lives of the Georgian aristocracy were used to undermine hereditary power
The potent allure of sex, money, and power has always created a public appetite for juicy tales of scandal in the hidden private lives of the English aristocracy. Millions of viewers are captivated by the television series Downton Abbey and screen versions of Jane Austen novels, while visitor numbers to National Trust stately homes have never been higher. The real and fictional dramas being enacted inside country houses were just as compelling for audiences in the 18th and 19th centuries, when the cultural media of the day exploited stories of aristocratic adultery for commercial and political motives in newspapers, novels, and satirical prints. But such attacks on the aristocracy’s moral fitness to rule ultimately undermined traditional hereditary power and marked the first steps towards its decline. This book draws on a rich collection of original sources, bringing vividly to life a cast of engaging characters and their stories of infidelity—passionate, scandalous, poignant, and tragic.