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Incest and Influence

The Private Life of Bourgeois England

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Product Details


$40.00 • £32.95 • €36.00

ISBN 9780674035898

Publication Date: 10/30/2009


304 pages

5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches

19 line art


Adam Kuper brings an anthropologist’s understanding to what he calls ‘one of the great neglected themes’ of social and literary history: the preference of the English bourgeoisie for marriage with relatives… He traces clans of bankers and merchants, dynasties of barristers, judges, clergymen, bishops, top civil servants, writers, scientists and thinkers—an urban elite. His thesis is that kin networks provided the basis for the consolidation of the bourgeoisie in the nineteenth century, and that marriage within the family was a strategy.—Norma Clarke, The Times Literary Supplement

Incest and Influence presents a richly detailed and fascinating picture of the distinctive family life of the Victorian bourgeoisie.—Gowan Dawson, American Scientist

[A] thoughtful, revealing [book] about the kind of networking that existed long before the Internet, flourishing in the 19th century… [Kuper’s] anthropological analysis results in sociological conclusions that are very revealing about culture—scientific, political, economic, social-scientific—in the Victorian age. Here is one scholar who is fearlessly far-ranging in his scope.—Martin Rubin, The Washington Times

Adam Kuper, perhaps the most original of anthropologists working in the present day, has turned from the study of African tribes to scrutinize cousin marriages and other consanguineous unions from Jane Austen’s characters to the Darwin family and on throughout the great families of the Victorian era—and has come up with a startling and irresistible contribution to nineteenth-century social history.—Horace Freeland Judson

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