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Myth: The Victorians covered table legs
Transcript of Myth: The Victorians covered table legs
Sexual arousal was considered to be a sin during this time, so this myth sounded legitimate when dispersed amongst everyone.
This was a misunderstanding on the part of the Americans, initially triggered by the writings of British author Frederick Marryat in 1839
In his 'Diary in America', he claimed that the furniture legs were covered in little trousers to "preserve in their utmost purity the ideas of the young ladies under her charge".
The British press found this amusing, and ran articles about prudish Americans.
In retaliation, the Americans decided to turn this myth into a British historical fact.
Who came up with this myth?
Over the course of time, evidence has resurfaced to prove that this was in fact a myth, notably the research into its origins, and Frederick Marryat, who aimed to provide a satirical poke at American culture. This turned into stereotypical Victorian history, as the Victorians didn't like to say the word "leg".
Therefore, this myth is nowadays commonly recognized as comical.
The revision of this myth
Misunderstandings (and in this case jokes) can, over time, become historical facts. Since we have no way of testing what happens in history we cannot be certain of it's credibility.
We therefore cannot make factual statements based on history.
Does historical 'knowledge' exist?
Myth: The Victorians covered furniture legs
The Victorians covered furniture legs
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