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Alice in PornolandHardcore Encounters with the Victorian Gothic$
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Laura Helen Marks

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780252042140

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.5622/illinois/9780252042140.001.0001

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Behind Closed Doors

Behind Closed Doors

Neo-Victorian Pornographies

(p.31) 1 Behind Closed Doors
Alice in Pornoland

Laura Helen Marks

University of Illinois Press

This chapter discusses hardcore films that, rather than adapting a specific literary text, set the sexual action in the nineteenth century. These films appropriate Victorian costume, customs, imagery, ideology, and other symbolism, revealing the rhetoric of transgression and sexual progressiveness employed by pornography in staging the Victorian for erotic appeal. These films illuminate the complex ways in which pornography and its consumers make use of “the Victorian” as a repressed yet perverse space populated by rigid class and gender distinctions, tantalizing thresholds and doorways ready to be crossed, secret domestic spaces ripe for sexualization, uptight but secretly sexual women, proper but perverse families, and other nineteenth-century sexual goings-on that pornography claims it has the guts to reveal. At the same time, these films situate themselves as heirs to a violent, racist, misogynistic, and pornographic legacy that can be erotically explored via the distancing mechanism of the Victorian.

Keywords:   Victorian, neo-Victorian, costume, technology, historical film, pornography, heritage film, cinema, sexology, plantation film, slavery, colonialism, erotica, women’s film

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