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Dr Julie Peakman

Dr Julie Peakman is an Honorary Fellow at Birkbeck College, former Honorary Fellow of the Wellcome Trust for the History of Medicine and Fellow of Royal Historical Society.

Research interests

  • Gender, sexuality, sexual alternative life-styles in history, eighteenth century culture, medicine, the body, social history in Britain.
  • My recent work has extended into colonialism and the role of women in empire-building.
  • Previous work has involved explorations of eighteenth century sexual culture examining biographies of prostitutes, courtesans’ memoirs, ‘blaming and shaming’ pamphlets, pornography, erotica, female friendships, enlightenment medical literature and the gentlemen’s erotic gardens culminating in Amatory Pleasures Explorations in Eighteenth-Century Sexual Culture (Bloomsbury 2016).
  • I researched at the Wellcome Trust for the History of Medicine, UCL. My PhD was on the influence of religion and science on the development of erotic material in the eighteenth century From there, I developed an interest in the treatment of 'different' sexualities in history - cross-dressing, lesbian and gay history, sado-masochism and the emergence female sexual pathologies. I have also worked on prostitution and eighteenth-century libertine culture.


  • Books
  • Peg Plunkett, Memoirs of a Whore (Quercus, due 2015)
  • The Pleasure’s All Mine. A History of Sexual Perversion (Reaktion, 2014)
  • A Cultural History of Sexuality (Berg, 2011) (ed.) 6 volumes: General Editor;  also editor for Enlightenment volume.
  • Sexual Perversions 1650-1890 (Palgrave, 2009)
  • Whores' Biographies 1700-1825 (London, Pickering & Chatto, 2007-8) (ed.)Eight Volumes with full annotations
  • Emma Hamilton (Haus, 2005)
  • Lascivious Bodies. A Sexual History of the Eighteenth Century (Atlantic, 2004)
  • Mighty Lewd Books, The Development of Pornography in C18th England (Palgrave Press, 2012, 2003 )
  • Licentious Worlds. Sex and Exploitation in Global Empires (Reaktion, 2019)
  • Hitler’s Island War. The Men Who Fought for Leros ( I.B. Tauris, 2018)
  • Amatory Pleasures. Explorations in Eighteenth-Century Culture (Bloomsbury, 2016)
  • Articles/Chapters
  • Emma Hamilton and the Queen of Naples in 'Quakers and Queens; Prostitutes, Playwrights and Poets: Collaborating Women in the Long Eighteenth Century.' (University of Delaware Press Pending 2009)
  • 'The C18th Erotic Garden' in Eva-Maria-Stolberg, Auf der Suche Nach Eden. Eine Kulturgeschichte des Gartens  (Peter Lang, 2008)
  • Special Issue, 'Sex, Gender & The Body' of Women's Writing Journal (Triangle Press,  Vol 2,  No 2, 2004). (Editor)
  • 'Initiation, Defloration and Flagellation: Sexual Propensities in Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure' in Patsy Fowler and Alan Jackson (ed.), This Launch into the Wide World: Essays on Fanny Hill, (N.Y. AMS Press, 2003)
  • 'Medicine, the Body and the Botanical Metaphor in  Erotica' in Kurt Bayertz &  Roy Porter (eds.), From Physico-Theology to Bio-Technology (editions Rodopi B. V., Amsterdam – Atlanta, 1998).
  • 'Bodily Anxieties in Enlightenment Sex Literature', Studies on Voltaire & C18th 2005:1
  • 'Memoirs of Women of Pleasure: The Whore Biography' in Women's Writing. (Triangle Press,  Vol 11,  No 2).