Vic Gatrell is Professor of British history at the University of Essex, a Life Fellow of Gonville and Caius College, and a member of the Cambridge History faculty. His previous book, The Hanging Tree (OUP, 1995) was published to critical acclaim and chosen by Linda Colley and Jeremy Paxman as their ‘Book of the Year’ in the Independent.
City of Laughter: Sex and Satire in 18th Century London
The history of English manners, humour, and satire. Based on an innovative study of English satirical prints, it offers a panoramic history of late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century manners and cultural change. For years historians have been describing the rise of polite culture and polite manners in eighteenth-century London. Gatrell has spent those years examining the vast and almost entirely unresearched archive of comic and bawdy prints that tell us what made Londoners laugh around 1800. He tells us instead about the rudeness in the streets, the bedrooms, the taverns and the brothels, that pointed its joyful arse at
the polite world.