Pleasure Wars

ISBN: 0393318273
ISBN 13: 9780393318272
By: Peter Gay

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About this book

The Victorians in this richly peopled narrative maneuvered through decades marked by frequent shifts in taste, some seeking safety in traditional styles, others drawn to the avant-garde of artists, composers, and writers. Peter Gay's panoramic survey offers a fresh view of the ideas and sensibilities that dominated Victorian culture.

Reader's Thoughts


This is book five of the five volume series. Yes, I have read them all. If I had to recommend two I would recommend the first volume(sex) and the third volume(agression). I feel that I should be awarded some sort of prize for completing this task.I struggled with this volume, even though it is the shortest (240 pp.) by far of the five. Perhaps that's because the theme: bourgeois taste in art, was so dreadfully boring. There's not a single chapter I really enjoyed until the (last) chapter on the emergence of moderning. Or maybe that was because I was so close to the end. So now I know plenty about the Victorian bourgeois. What can you say about them? That they defy easy categorization. But really, can't you say that about many subjects? Gay's focus on the journals of every day bourgeois as source material was fine, but over five volumes, I could have used some more "great men" and current events.

Lori Widmer Bean

Oh god, this was dry. I got four pages in, and only because I forced it. I'll pick it up some other day - when I'm incredibly bored.

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