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Marriage, Motherhood and the Future of the Race: Syphilis in Late-Victorian and Edwardian Britain

  • Joanne Townsend
Chapter

Abstract

This chapter examines the ways in which syphilis played a central role in fears about physical degeneration and the future of the British Empire in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries. At a governmental level, this anxiety found form in the 1904 Inter-Departmental Committee on Physical Deterioration, which took special interest in syphilis. At the same time, British feminists used syphilis as a vital part of their critiques of the institutions of marriage and motherhood, which as they made clear, were vital not only to women, but to the future of the British race as a whole.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joanne Townsend
    • 1
  1. 1.Independent ScholarMelbourneAustralia

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