ABOUT THIS BOOK
Licentious Worlds is a history of sexual attitudes and behavior through five hundred years of empire-building around the world. In a graphic and sometimes unsettling account, Julie Peakman examines colonization and the imperial experience of women (as well as marginalized men), showing how women were not only involved in the building of empires, but how they were also almost invariably exploited. Women acted as negotiators, brothel keepers, traders, and peace keepers—but they were also forced into marriages and raped.
The book describes women in Turkish harems, Mughal zenanas, and Japanese geisha houses, as well as in royal palaces and private households and onboard ships. Their stories are drawn from many sources—from captains’ logs, missionary reports, and cannibals’ memoirs to travelers’ letters, traders’ accounts, and reports on prostitutes. From debauched clerics and hog-buggering Pilgrims to sexually-confused cannibals and sodomizing samurai, Licentious Worlds takes history into its darkest corners.