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Home » Books » History » Modern » 19th Century

Unmentionable

The Victorian Lady's Guide to Sex, Marriage, and Manners

By Therese Oneill

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Format: Hardcover, 320 pages
Other Information: Illustrated
Published In: United States, 25 October 2016
Have you ever wished you could live in an earlier, more romantic era? Ladies, welcome to the 19thcentury, where arsenic is a face cream, opium is a medicine, and all of your underwear is crotchless. (I'll get back to that in a minute.) In the spirit of Texts from Jane Eyre and Schott's Miscellany, UNMENTIONABLE is your guide to the secrets of life as a Victorian lady, giving you detailed advice on how to maintain your youth (if you see a wrinkle, just rub lead on it!), how to please your husband (stop talking), how to manage your monthly "unwellness," and more. Learn how much laughter is permitted a lady on the street (none). Find out what's underneath those elegant ball gowns (whalebone corsets, crinoline cages, and crotchless pantalettes - for quick bathroom access under all that hardware). And most importantly, come away with a new appreciation of the fortitude of our great-grandmothers. Irresistibly charming, laugh-out-loud funny, and featuring dozens of images from 19th century publications, UNMENTIONABLE will be beloved by Jane Austen fans and is the perfect gift for women of all ages.

About the Author

Therese Oneill lives in Oregon and writes humor and rare history articles for many different popular outlets, including Mental Floss, The Week, The Atlantic, andJezebel. She lives with her husband and children near Portland. She can be found online atwww.writerthereseoneill.com where she runs a popular history and narrative blog.

Reviews

"It's clear in every page of Unmentionable that Oneill has done her research on what the Victorian lady was expected to tackle, from dinner-party etiquette to arsenic as skin care. . . . the vagaries of courtship, running a household, and taking a bath fall under a modern and distinctly snarky lens."--NPR.org "Between wisecracks and clever one-liners, Oneill reveals the misogynistic underbelly of the Victorian era and how harmful and antiquated theories about female biology, sexuality, and emotions persist to this day. I can't recommend this book highly enough."--BookRiot "Oneill is our sarcastic 'tour guide to the real nineteenth century' in this cheeky romp of a book. She's here to tell you, ladies, that what you think you know is all wrong. . . . If you're seeking a witty life coach, look no further."--Kirkus (This Season's Best Gift Books, 2016) "A quick, hilarious romp through the gritty unmentionable details that literature fails to discuss--those of the most intimate nature. . . . Oneill's delight in her subject is endearing. She delivers even the most disturbing facts, like how drinking wells and sewage were placed close to each other, in entertaining ways. Yet Oneill's stories are not without depth. Throughout Unmentionable, she notes how far feminism and related movements have come from the constrictions of Victorian ideologies."--Shelf Awareness "A down-and-dirty perusal of the realities of hygiene and womanhood in the Victorian era. The truth behind slimming corsets, virtuous nuptials, and strict morals is sometimes shocking, occasionally alarming, but always funny with Oneill's wry commentary."--Library Journal, Editors Fall Pick "Oneill writes from the perspective of an all-knowing, slightly cheeky Victorian woman giving guidance to the contemporary woman. The result is a thoroughly researched but hilarious look into daily life of the Victorian woman."--The Millions "A treasure trove of bizarre and fascinating information."--Bustle (Best Nonfiction Books of 2016) "If you've ever felt like you should have been born in another time, Unmentionable will disabuse you of that sensibility, and it will do so charmingly . . . The book transmits a wealth of historical research in a cheerfully tongue-in-cheek tone and an impressive collection of archival photos."--Vice/Broadly "Flat-out hysterical (and occasionally alarming)...Read it and be very, very glad you're a woman of modern times."--Good Housekeeping "Rich with information that will amuse and sometimes horrify... the playful application of language makes the horrendous plight of Victorian women palatable to modern audiences. Oneill succeeds in making otherwise dry information (the proper order of eating utensils, the development of modern sanitation) sparkle."--The Guardian "Unmentionable transports us back to the world of middle-class 19th-century women, with special emphasis on the messy details that costume dramas airbrush out. . . . With a 4-year-old's scatological glee, Oneill details the logistics of old-time peeing, pooping, gestating, menstruating and mating . . . lovely tidbits from the dustbin of history."--New York Times "A fascinating look into the shocking pseudoscience of the 1800s, in which Oneill sheds new light on the origins of today's misogyny, double standards, and just plain mystery surrounding women that, maddeningly enough, persist."--Booklist "It's hard to imagine a woman - or a teenage girl - who won't love this book."--Caitlin Flanagan, Washington Post "Oneill has created a book so excellently informative about the Victorian period, it should be shelved right next to Dickens for reference. Your stomach will hurt so much from laughing, you'll be thankful you're not wearing a corset."--Princess Weekes, Bustle "Oneill uncovers the filthy, untidy, licentious conditions of nineteenth-century women's lives that novelists of the period often glossed over...brilliantly conveyed with fascinating illustrations."--Elle "If Unmentionable does not secure the Pulitzer Prize for Most Fascinating Book Ever, the whole gig is rigged. Hilarious, horrifying, shocking and revelatory, this book is for every girl who pictured herself running through a field of wildflowers in a silk dress and Little House on the Prairie boots, only to discover she has nits in her hair, her clothes have never been washed and she sleeps with her poop under her bed in a bowl. A miracle of a book and one of my favorite reads ever, Unmentionable will be my go-to gift this year. All hail Therese Oneill for uncovering all of that dirty, dirty laundry."--Laurie Notaro, #1 New York Times bestselling author of It Looked Different on the Model and Housebroken "Hysterically funny and unsettlingly fascinating. This book is full of awesome."--Jenny Lawson, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Let's Pretend This Never Happened and Furiously Happy "Both fascinating and hilarious, Oneill has created a book so excellently informative about the Victorian period, it should be shelved right next to Dickens for reference. Your stomach will hurt so much from laughing, you'll be thankful you're not wearing a corset." Bustle" "Although it's nonfiction, Oneill writes from the perspective of an all-knowing, slightly cheeky Victorian woman giving guidance to the contemporary woman. The result is a thoroughly researched but hilarious look into daily life of the Victorian woman." The Millions" "Therese Oneill lifts the veil on those romantic notions about olden times to unearth some pretty horrifying truths about hygiene, sex, menstruation, and beauty in the 19th century. . . . What results is a positively hysterical romp through 19th century womanhood." Bustle" "Therese Oneill presents this information with humor, pathos for the 21st century woman, all the while never flinching from the down-to-earth details of that 19th century life...This book is fun to read, flows rapidly, is well written, is thoroughly presented with significant detail...is informative, enlightening, and enjoyable." Portland Book Review" "If UNMENTIONABLE does not secure the Pulitzer Prize for Most Fascinating Book Ever, the whole gig is rigged. Hilarious, horrifying, shocking and revelatory, this book is for every girl who pictured herself running through a field of wildflowers in a silk dress and Little House on the Prairie boots, only to discover she has nits in her hair, her clothes have never been washed and she sleeps with her poop under her bed in a bowl. A miracle of a book and one of my favorite reads ever, UNMENTIONABLE will be my go-to gift this year. All hail Therese Oneill for uncovering all of that dirty, dirty laundry." Laurie Notaro, #1 New York Times bestselling author of It Looked Different on the Model and Housebroken"

EAN: 9780316357913
ISBN: 031635791X
Publisher: Little Brown and Company
Dimensions: 21.08 x 15.75 x 2.54 centimetres (0.41 kg)
Age Range: 15+ years
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