Saturday, January 1, 2011

Are you ready to be Scandalized?

My dearest Readers,
Happy New Year!!! Goodness...it's 2011. Which means we have yet another year of sexual history to look forward to! This month's blog post will be dedicated to not only the history behind Book 1 of Prelude to a Scandal. A lot of history went into this particular book, though I like to call it "hidden" history that most people will most likely overlook. Yes. Even you. What are some of the hidden histories? 1.) Sodomy laws. 2.) Censorship of books 3.) Pornography portraits 4.) Sexual addiction

1.) Let us begin with the topic of sodomy laws, shall we? We'll keep it to England, for this could be a whole historical topic in and of itself. The very first legislative sodomy law established in England was done so by none other than Henry the VIII himself.

Surprised? No. I'm sure you're not. It was known as the Buggery Act of 1533, making sodomy punishable by hanging. Sodomy was referred to as "buggery" all throughout England. And this particular law was not lifted until 1861. As was defined by the Act, it referred to any form of anal penetration, be it with another male or a female, though obviously, the core of the law focused on homosexuality. If you were found guilty, you were hanged. If you were found guilty of "attempting buggery" (meaning, you ALMOST did it) you were slapped with a jail sentence that lasted up to two years. I wonder how an ALMOST was proven in courts??? Of course, the justice system back then wasn't really justice as we would define it... This Act lay untouched for the longest time (no pun intended...). Surprisingly, in 1828, the buggery laws were actually reshuffled and strengthened, persecuting more people within a three decade period than had been done in a hundred year period. When the death penalty was lifted in 1861, parliament sought to lay out another law under a broader term known as the Laboucher Amendment (because French makes it sound so naughty, right?). This Amendment was passed in 1885 and forbade GROSS INDECENCY between males, which really made anything homosexual related illegal. Oscar Wilde got caught up in this law. This law wasn't lifted from England's law books until 1967. Seriously.

2.) Censorship of books was always somewhat present in England's laws, but a blind eye was usually turned toward things like pornography until about the end of the Georgian period that brought us into the Regency period. There was such a rise in religious endeavors against indecency in literature that the law had to start paying attention to more due to the middle class rising and having more of a voice in both church, the streets and edging into parliament. Most pornography in the Regency and Romantic period as well as going into the Victorian period were done by women and men who translated and printed pornography under pseudonyms, though many were often caught and were fined heavily and jailed for it.

(The above is a Victorian edition of Fanny Hill...note the amount of LOVE that went into it, lol) Because it was difficult to have a store front for pornography in the Regency, Romantic and Victorian era, men and women figured out ways to "cheat" the system. One way was by throwing them over the fences of boarding schools. Other ways included hand selling in certain areas and to certain clients looking for pornographic reads. Needless to say, most of these people were eventually unearthed, but they made quite a living at it in between being caught.

3.) Pornography portraits have been around since paint. Portraits of women were very intimate to begin with, but to have a certain woman painted in life size and in a certain pose or with a certain lack of clothing was considered "pornography" a gentleman would never hang outside the walls of his bedchamber. Unless he happens to be my hero, lol.

Many gentlemen "hid" these portraits within the confines of their bedchambers throughout the centuries beneath a curtain and would drape it open and make use of it whenever they felt particularly frisky. And yes, you had better believe I made use of this history in my book, lol.

4.) Sexual addiction. While this is a modern terminology, sexual addiction has been around ever since men had cocks. Just as drunks have been around ever since there was ale. Back then, such addictions were not understood. If a woman had a form of sexual addiction, she was considered a whore. Period. If a man had a form of sexual addiction, he was a rake. Period. It wasn't seen as a problem. Though going through Casanova's memoirs as well as the writings of MY SECRET LIFE, I have no doubt whatsoever both men had serious sexual addiction problems. For they were obsessed with it not just physically, but mentally. Even today, very few people understand what sexual addiction really is. There are many different levels of sexual addiction. From self-masturbation to fetishes that are based upon their "moods" and their "thoughts" and their "compulsions." And yes, I decided to write about it because it is an addiction that is so little understood and most certainly not discussed in historical context. Now mind you, I write romance, so I had to bring about a happily ever after that might not have actually happened for a sex addict back in 1829. But I believe in the healing power of love and I hope you do, too.

That said, in honor of PRELUDE TO A SCANDAL'S release, I am hosting a very special giveaway. Be sure to get your hands on a copy of Prelude to a Scandal for your chance to win a $25 gift card to Barnes and Noble. How do you enter??? The first person to post the correct name of Lady Justine's South African Hottentot guide will win the gift card! Of course, we just can't have only ONE person winning, can we? Nooooo. So here's your chance to win second place. Everyone who posts will have their name put into a drawing to win an authentic carved, South African letter opener from Cape Town (which is where my heroine Justine was raised).

All you have to do is answer this one question: What is the name of Justine's etiquette book and who is the author? Winners will be formally announced a week before February 1st. Please post your email along with your answer so I can contact you if you win.

And be sure to return to both the February and March post, where I will be giving away more prizes and history relating to each book!
Until next time...Cheers and much love,
Delilah Marvelle

12 comments:

Elizabeth Kerri Mahon said...

Delightful post Delilah. I can't wait to hear you read on Monday! Reading your post on pornography reminded me of this adaptation of Sarah Water's Fingersmith, which is set in the Victorian era, where one of the heroines is forced by her ward to read pornography to his friends (he deals in the stuff).

Delilah Marvelle said...

My dearest Elizabeth,
Thanks for posting!!! And omgosh, Sarah Water's Fingersmith and in particular, Tipping the Velvet are AMAZING. Looking forward to seeing you on Monday!!!

RachieG said...

:) Throwing my hat in the ring...

Is the answer: Aloysius?

Always a delight to read your stories and your blog. Each month I enjoy reading your posts and your books are so unique. :) Happy New Year!

Delilah Marvelle said...

My dearest RachieG,
The answer most certainly *IS* Aloysius. Congrats on being the first AND for doing it in style...meaning on New Year's day!!!! I'm heading to NYC tomorrow and won't be able to get that gift card to you until I get back next week, but please email me at Delilah@DelilahMarvelle.com with your snail mail so I can get that to you ASAP. Thank you so much for posting your answer and for supporting yours truly :)
Happy New Year!

Anaiz said...

I can't believe the law wasn't lifted until the 1960s, that's... crazy! Your posts are always so interesting to read, *raises glass* here's to 2011 and your Scandal series! :):)

Vanetta said...

The correct answer I believe is : Aloysius

The the second questions answer would be:
How to avoid a Scandal, Author Unknown.


I hope this is right!

So excited... Loved this book.... and your others... all three read in 4 days time! :)

Vanetta@ymail.com

Brooke said...

I wasn't sure if we were supposed to answer here or on Goodreads, lol

First answer: Aloysius

Second answer: How to Avoid a Scandal, Author Unknown

I can't wait to read the second book!

Delilah Marvelle said...

My dearest Anaiz,
Isn't is *crazy*??? Men are so freaky when it comes to being homophobic... Thank you so much for posting and for the amazing toast! I'll drink to that and hope to meet you soon while I'm down in California.

My dearest Vanetta,
You totally scored the South African prize by answering the question about the red little book! Fabulous job! When I get back from my California tour (next week), I'll email you for details on getting that prize to you. And omgosh, girl...you read all three books in 4 days?! You are AWESOME. Even I can't read that dang fast, lol. I'm over the moon knowing it! Thank you.

My dearest Brooke,
You posted at the right place, lol. The first prize was taken but you totally scored the South African letter opener! Congrats and I'm thrilled to know you're looking forward to Book 2!!! Thanks for posting!

Barbara said...

Wow, what an informative post! I'm actually starting Prelude to a Scandal tonight based on VampFanGirl's recommendation. I look forward to seeing how you were able to write a "hero" with a sex addiction.

Jeanne M said...

Delilah -

I bought (and read) Prelude to a Scandal the day it was released and once again you've outdone yourself. Can't wait for the next two books and thanks for not making us wait to get them!

Let your husband know that you need a nice hot bubble bath and a little champagne waiting for you at the end of each day to keep your creativity going and that your readers demand it!

Also give him a kiss and hug and thanks from your readers because he has to give you a LOT OF INSPIRATION!

Delilah Marvelle said...

My dearest Barbara,
Yes, there's a lot of information to be found on this blog, lol. How very cool that you started my book based on VampFanGirl's rec.!!! That's very gutsy of you *wicked grin* and I hope you enjoy it! Thanks for posting.

My dearest Jeanne,
Thank you *so* much for your glowing comment on Prelude! I made my husband read your post. I've kissed him already for you and while he thinks the champagne should be substituted for beer, he is totally on your side, lol. He's been an incredible inspiration throughout my life and I feel so blessed to be able to not only have him be part of my life but also to be able to write.
Thank you so much for your post!!!

Delilah Marvelle said...

Okay girls! RachieG you won a $25 gift card, Vanetta and Brook, you won a South African Letter Opener. All you have to do to collect your prizes is email me your snail mail at Delilah@Delilahmarvelle.com -- If you don't email me, you can't collect. So please email me ASAP!!!
Congrats!