I read a lot of Victorian/Edwardian fictional novels, mostly books that were geared towards female readers. Often enough, family members are described as kissing each other. Sometimes a kiss on the cheek will be specified, but not often.

I am wondering if this a cultural difference that has changed with time? I don’t know anyone in the northeast USA who would think it was normal to kiss a family member on the lips. And, the kissing is described as being affectionate. Family members might “kiss as if they would never let go.”

In “Orphans of the Storm,” (1921) the Gish sisters (playing sisters in the movie) can be seen kissing on the lips, especially in a scene where they are reunited after long separation and kiss repeatedly while embracing closely. I feel like it would seem pretty strange to a lot of modern viewers.

So was it just common/normal/considered affectionate to kiss your family on the lips in these eras? I feel like there is a cultural divide when I read these old novels, in regards to this aspect. Should I assume that they mean kissing on the lips, as the contemporary reader would have understood?


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.