Sexual imperatives
in Empire and sexuality
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Ideally, historians should leave the sex lives of public figures in decent obscurity, as they are frequently urged to do, on the argument that such private matters are no part of the historian's business. Sexual needs can be imperative, and people will go to extraordinary lengths to satisfy them. Most people muddle through, without their sexual imperatives actually wrecking their careers. But some there were who suffered major calamities as a direct or indirect result of their sexual activities, notably Charles Stewart Parnell, Sir Hector Macdonald and Roger Casement. Parnell conducted a long-standing, extremely reckless and ultimately fateful liaison with Katharine O'Shea, who had been effectively living apart from her husband for five years. Macdonald was a crofter's son who became a draper's apprentice and then enlisted in the ranks in 1870, serving eight or nine years in India, and becoming a captain in the Egyptian army by 1887.

Empire and sexuality

The British Experience

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