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James Boswell observed that a person living in eighteenth-century London, 'may be in some degree be whatever character they choose'. This book argues that we cannot comprehend our own capacity for licentiousness or our sense of humour without understanding this unique period in English history.
VIC GATRELL is professor of British history at the University of Essex, a life fellow of Gonville and Caius College, and a member of the Cambridge history faculty. His previous book, The Hanging Tree (OUP, 1995) was published to critical acclaim and chosen by Linda Colley and Jeremy Paxman as their 'Book of the Year'.