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Department of History


Gossip is not only a guilty pleasure; it is also an important tool of social control. Nowhere is this more evident than in the nineteenth‐century gentlemen's clubs of London. This article looks at the private lives of elite men whose gossip helped shape class and gender ideals. Archival documents, private memoirs and periodical literature provide both an insider and outsider vision of a very private world. Looking at how men gossiped points to codes of gentlemanly behaviour, the importance of homosocial life, and the place of oral culture in a modern, literate age.


This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Amy Milne-Smith, ‘Club Talk: Gossip, Masculinity and Oral Communities in Late Nineteenth-Century London’ Gender & History, Vol.21 No.1 April 2009, pp. 86–106, which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.

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