Night of Masques

Posted: June 7, 2017 in Uncategorized


Public masquerades were a popular and controversial form of urban entertainment in England for most of the eighteenth century. They were held regularly in London and attended by hundreds, sometimes thousands, of people from all ranks of society who delighted in disguising themselves in fanciful costumes and masks and moving through crowds of strangers. The authors shows how the masquerade played a subversive role in the eighteenth-century imagination, and that it was persistently associated with the crossing of class and sexual boundaries, sexual freedom, the overthrow of decorum, and urban corruption. Authorities clearly saw it as a profound challenge to social order and persistently sought to suppress it.

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