Alice in Pornoland

Hardcore Encounters with the Victorian Gothic
Author: Laura Helen Marks
Victorian repression, sexual expression, porn obsession
Cloth – $110
Paper – $24.95
eBook – $14.95
Publication Date
Paperback: 11/05/2018
Cloth: 11/05/2018
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About the Book

The unquenchable thirst of Dracula. The animal lust of Mr. Hyde. The acquiescence of Lewis Carroll's Alice. Victorian literature--with its overtones of prudishness, respectability, and Old World hypocrisy--belies a subverted eroticism. The Victorian Gothic is monstrous but restrained, repressed but perverse, static but transformative, and preoccupied by gender and sexuality in both regressive and progressive ways.

Laura Helen Marks investigates the contradictions and seesawing gender dynamics in Victorian-inspired adult films and looks at why pornographers persist in drawing substance and meaning from the era's Gothic tales. She focuses on the particular Victorianness that pornography prefers, and the mythologies of the Victorian era that fuel today's pornographic fantasies. In turn, she exposes what porning the Victorians shows us about pornography as a genre.

A bold foray into theory and other forbidden places, Alice in Pornoland reveals how modern-day Victorian Gothic pornography constantly emphasizes, navigates, transgresses, and renegotiates issues of gender, sexuality, and race.

About the Author

Laura Helen Marks is a professor of practice in the Department of English at Tulane University.


"Through its in-depth investigation of the dialogue between the porn industry and the world of our supposedly 'prudish' forefathers, Alice in Pornoland: Hardcore Encounters with the Victorian Gothic represents an important contribution to the analysis of a cinematic genre (neo-Victorian porn) that has been partially neglected in scholarly works." --Neo-Victorian Studies

"The sign of a great nonfiction work is ending up in deep rabbit holes and exploring the references and footnotes in it. Alice in Pornoland: Hardcore Encounters with the Victorian Gothic by Laura Helen Marks is an amazing buffet of rabbit holes: erotica theory, media studies, histories (both well-known and generally invisibilized), queer theory, sociology, pleasure activism, and literary scholarship are all here." --Positive Sexuality


"A giddy pleasure to read the future of porn studies unfolding in these pages."--Celine Parreñas Shimizu, author of The Hypersexuality of Race: Performing Asian/American Women on Screen and Scene

"Laura Helen Marks offers a persuasive exploration of the complexities of porn’s love affair with all things Victorian, particularly the fantasy invocations and reimaginings of Gothic sexualities. Her account moves across the pornographic genre and its seeming obsession with the earlier historical period in order to open some very contemporary concerns about sex, desires and technology."--Clarissa Smith, coauthor of Studying Sexualities: Theories, Representations, Cultures