letzte Änderung: 01.03.07; 19:26:02.
Spaziergänge in Berlin und Umgebung

Sonntag, 11. Februar 2007


Normal Love. Precarious Work. Precarious Sex.

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Hannah Cullwick

Cullwick's diaries (published in sixteen volumes as The Diaries of Hannah Cullwick, Victorian Maidservant), provide detailed information on the lives of working-class Victorian servant women. They are a record of sixteen-hour days and ritualized obeisance to middle-class men and women.
Arthur Munby
Munby had a life-long fascination and fetish for working-class women, particularly those who did hard, dirty physical labor (a form of mysophilia). His favorite pastime was to wander the streets of London and other industrial cities, approach working women and ask them about their lives and the details of their work, while noting their clothes and dialects.
Watching Hannah
In 1854, Arthur Munby (1828-1910), civil servant, writer and connoisseur of working class women, met Hannah Cullwick, a servant, who became the object of a clandestine courtship and then a secret marriage. Their affair and marriage remained hidden from Munby's friends and associates, and although evidence suggests that they never had sex, their relationship was highly sexual and provided an arena for Munby to realise his fetishistic desires about working women. Munby was fascinated by the bodies of working women, intrigued by the ways in which they invoked and flouted the middle-class feminine ideal, by that mixture of manly frankness and woman delicacy. He was attracted to Cullwick's masculine femininity, her brawn and size, her dirty work and by what he saw as her concealed lady-like qualities, that for him hid a noble femininity. The relationship was sado-masochistic and included an element of theatre and masquerade. Even after the marriage, Cullwick was expected to carry out the duties of a servant and produce accounts of her daily degradation; acting as a charwoman and then as an agricultural worker when they moved to Shropshire. Only occasionally did they go away as man and wife and during this time Cullwick was expected to play the lady. Munby saw their relationship as an experiment in which to indulge his obsessions and act out roles; Cullwick did not envisage their relationship taking the form that it did, but saw herself as a slave to love. First as a hidden affair, then as a clandestine marriage, and finally as a commuting marriage (in some ways familiar to modern long-distance relationships), Munby and Cullwick failed to conform to stereotypes of Victorian matrimony or sexuality.

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