Download A House in Gross Disorder: Sex, Law, and the 2nd Earl of by Cynthia B. Herrup PDF

By Cynthia B. Herrup

Intercourse, privilege, corruption, and revenge--these are components that we think to discover splashed throughout brand new tabloid headlines. yet in seventeenth century England, a intercourse scandal within which the second Earl of Castlehaven used to be finished for crimes so terrible that "a Christian guy ought scarce to call them" threatened the very foundations of aristocratic hierarchy. In a home in Gross disease, Cynthia Herrup provides a strikingly new interpretation either one of the case itself and of the sexual and social anxieties it forged into such daring aid. Castlehaven used to be convicted of abetting the rape of his spouse and of committing sodomy along with his servants. greater than that, he stood accused of inverting the ordinary order of his family by means of reveling in instead of restraining the intemperate passions of these he used to be anticipated to rule and guard. Herrup argues that simply because an orderly condo was once thought of either an instance and endorsement of aristocratic governance, the riotousness presided over by way of Castlehaven used to be the main damning proof opposed to him. Castlehaven himself argued that he was once the sufferer of an impatient son, an unsatisfied spouse, and courtiers grasping for his lands. Eschewing basic conclusions approximately guilt or innocence, Herrup focuses in its place at the attention-grabbing criminal, social and political dynamics of the case and its next retellings. In prose as riveting because the ethical and felony dramas it depicts, a home in Gross sickness reconsiders a scandal that also speaks to modern anxieties approximately intercourse, solid governance, and the position of legislation in regulating either.

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Extra resources for A House in Gross Disorder: Sex, Law, and the 2nd Earl of Castlehaven

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Finding both transgressions in one man, odd in a modern prosecution, would have seemed less unlikely to the Earl’s contemporaries. Both felonies were believed to stem from an imbalance of which lust was just a symptom. More than one Jacobean dramatist presented rape as a crime of undisciplined masculinity; Sir Edward Coke was only repeating a commonplace when he located the seeds of sodomy in arrogance, idleness, and gluttony. 15 Since rape and sodomy were felonies difficult to identify, difficult to define, and difficult to prove, it is not surprising that the law most readily “saw” them as they disrupted the social order rather than individual lives.

Finding both transgressions in one man, odd in a modern prosecution, would have seemed less unlikely to the Earl’s contemporaries. Both felonies were believed to stem from an imbalance of which lust was just a symptom. More than one Jacobean dramatist presented rape as a crime of undisciplined masculinity; Sir Edward Coke was only repeating a commonplace when he located the seeds of sodomy in arrogance, idleness, and gluttony. 15 Since rape and sodomy were felonies difficult to identify, difficult to define, and difficult to prove, it is not surprising that the law most readily “saw” them as they disrupted the social order rather than individual lives.

In the fevered writing of the antitheatrical moralists, for example, sodomy meant excessiveness, excessiveness meant instability, and so all destabilizing moments became sodomitical. 21 Like rape, sodomy threatened not only the individual, but also those around him; it was an act of corruption as well as of desire. Whether or not actually pederastic, the sodomitical relationships described in the legal records invariably paired authority and dependency—men and boys, masters and servants, teachers and pupils, patrons and clients.

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