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Response to Review no. 478

I thank Sharon Harrow for this kind and thoughtful review. Reading Sex in the Eighteenth Century is intended to engage critically with a substantial chunk of the corpus of current gender historiography for the eighteenth century, in part by providing a critique of the Laqueurian shift from a one-sex to a two-sex model of sexual difference. The book also aims to develop the history of masculinity, and of eighteenth-century culture in general, by bringing together the themes of sexuality and politeness. The work is, therefore, firmly grounded in the traditions of the discipline of History and in the historiography of eighteenth-century social and cultural history. But it is intended as an interdisciplinary work of cultural history, and makes extensive use of imaginative literature. I therefore welcome Harrow’s engagement with this aspect of the book, including what she terms the ‘small disagreements’ over issues such as the nature of amatory/seduction fiction and the reading of women’s speech in erotic writing. It is particularly gratifying (not to mention something of a relief!) to discover that this book is regarded as convincing by a colleague in a department of English.