Posted 02 June 2016
Drawing back the sheets
Exploring the hidden lives of women underpins all historian and novelist Hallie Rubenhold’s work, she tells Tina Jackson
Posted 02 June 2016
Exploring the hidden lives of women underpins all historian and novelist Hallie Rubenhold’s work, she tells Tina Jackson
Drawing back the sheets
Hallie Rubenhold is a historian on a mission to uncover the untold stories of the most intimate part of women’s lives. ‘I never set out to be a historian of sex – but I am!’ she laughs. Hallie is the author of The Scandalous Lady W, the sensational history of an aristocratic sex scandal in the 18th century that was a hit costume drama when it was televised last year, and novels set in the notorious demi-monde of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. She has made women’s most secret lives her speciality.
‘Sex is the thing people don’t talk about but it expresses the self in the most basic way. You are completely vulnerable, completely yourself in your sexual relationships and so it’s very interesting to look at women’s lives through that particular lens.’

Hallie’s period is the late 18th and early 19th centuries – her new novel, The French Lesson, is set during the French Revolution. ‘I think the 18th and early 19th centuries have always fascinated me because it’s the dawning of the modern era – the modern age’s adolescent period, full of revolution, upheaval, rebellion and trying on new ideas. It’s a time of enormous change and I’m very drawn to it.’


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