‘The Surest Way of Wooing’: Marriage, Courtship and Sexuality

  • Tim Hitchcock
Part of the Social History in Perspective book series (SHP)


John Cannon, a financially improvident excise officer and charity school master, had this dream at the age of fifty-four. He had been married for twenty-five years, and was the father of five children. Yet even he could not dream of a sexual encounter without unconsciously linking it to courtship and marriage. In a series of erotic dreams he records in his voluminous memoirs, Cannon consistently links sex and marriage, and is frequently stricken down by uncertainty about his ability to contract a valid dream marriage.


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  1. 17.
    T. Laqueur, ‘Sex and Desire in the Industrial Revolution’ in P. O’Brien and R. Quinault, eds, The Industrial Revolution and British Society (Cambridge, 1993).Google Scholar
  2. 20.
    J. Gillis, For Better, For Worse: British Marriages 1600 to the Present (Oxford, 1985) pp. 21–2.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Tim Hitchcock 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tim Hitchcock
    • 1
  1. 1.University of North LondonUK

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