Matt Houlbrook is Professor of Cultural History at the University of Birmingham, UK. He is the author of Queer London: Perils and Pleasures in the Sexual Metropolis, 1918-57 (2005) and the forthcoming Prince of Tricksters: The Incredible True Story of Netley Lucas, Gentleman Crook (2016).
This essay interrogates our impulse to make the modern sexual. Focusing on two stories, told in the decades after the Great War by the British confidence trickster and crime writer Netley Lucas, I explore what happens when we take the notion of sexuality out of modernity. In so doing, I tease out the intellectual possibilities of thinking queer about a particular historical subject and moment.