Lewd and Notorious: Female Transgression in the Eighteenth Century

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Lewd and Notorious: Female Transgression in the Eighteenth Century

Lewd & Notorious Lewd & Notorious female transgression in the eighteenth century Edited by Katharine Kittredge the u

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Lewd & Notorious

Lewd & Notorious female transgression in the eighteenth century

Edited by Katharine Kittredge

the university of michigan press Ann Arbor

Copyright © by the University of Michigan 2003 All rights reserved Published in the United States of America by The University of Michigan Press Manufactured in the United States of America c Printed on acid-free paper 2006 2005 2004 2003

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No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, or otherwise, without the written permission of the publisher. A CIP catalog record for this book is available from the British Library. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Lewd and notorious : female transgression in the eighteenth century / edited by Katharine Kittredge. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 0-472-11090-X (cloth : alk. paper) — ISBN 0-472-08906-4 (paper : alk. paper) 1. English literature—18th century—History and criticism. 2. Women and literature—Great Britain—History—19th century. 3. English literature—Women authors—History and criticism. 4. Alienation (Social psychology) in literature. 5. Difference (Psychology) in literature. 6. Female offenders in literature. 7. Conduct of life in literature. 8. Outsiders in literature. 9. Lesbians in literature. 10. Women in literature. 11. Crime in literature. I. Kittredge, Katharine. PR448.W65 L49 2003 820.9'352042—dc21 2002011939

ISBN13 978-0-472-11090-2 (cloth) ISBN13 978-0-472-08906-2 (paper) ISBN13 978-0-472-02441-4 (electronic)

To my husband, Ronald J. Kittredge, and my children, Anna Donaldson Kittredge and Steen William Kittredge, whose tolerance made this book’s completion possible.

Contents

Acknowledgments

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Introduction contexts for the consideration of the transgressive antitype 1 Part i Transgressive Words 1 “Queer to Queer” the sapphic body as transgressive text Susan S. Lanser 21

the

2 Claiming the “Sacred Mantle” of lætitia pilkington Susan Goulding 47

MEMOIRS

3 Elizabeth Carter’s Self-Pun-ishment puns, pedantry, and polite learning Juliet Feibel 69 Part ii Transgressive Images 4 A Carnival of Mirrors the grotesque body of the eighteenth-century british masquerade Elizabeth Hunt 91 5 Lustful Widows and Old Maids in Late Eighteenth-Century English Caricatures Cindy McCreery 112 6 Sensibility and Speculation emma hamilton Betsy Bolton 133

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Contents

Part iii Transgressive Acts 7 “Every Like Is Not the Same,” or Is It? gender, criminal biographies, and the politics of indifference Jessica Kimball Printz 165 8 Elizabeth Canning and Mary Squires representations of guilt and innocence in legal and literary texts, 1753–1989 Judith Moore 197 9 A Mistress, a Mother, and a Murderess Too elizabeth brownrigg and the social construction of an eighteenth-century mistress Patty Seleski 210 Part iv Transgressive Fictions 10 Eliza Haywood, Sapphic Desire, and the Practice of Reading Catherine Ingrassia 235 11 “A-Killing Their Children with Safety” maternal identity and transgression in swift and defoe Marilyn Francus 258 12 Ruined Women and Illegitimate Daughters revolution and female sexuality Julie Shaffer 283 About the Editor and Contributors Index

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Acknowledgments

This book had its beginning as a panel at the annual conference of the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies in 1994. Since then, it has gone through a number of alterations, and so I ‹nd myself with people to thank at every stage. Some of the most important initial encouragers were Mary Jacobus and the participants in the 1994 NEH seminar held at Cornell: Cathy Decker, Katherine Temple, Catherine Burroughs, Anna Lott, MarieAntoinette Smith, Julie Shaffer, Betsy Bolton, Robin Ikegami, and Bonnie Nelson. The process of putting together this collection has brought me into contact (over and over again) with some truly wonderful women. I would especially like to thank Rebecca Rumbo, Linda Zionkowski, Catherine Craft-Fairchild, Madeline Kahn, and Sally O’Driscoll for lending their support and encouragement at various stages. I also need to thank my current contributors Susan Goulding, Marilyn Francus, and Julie Shaffer for reading several early drafts of my introduction and listening to my editorial woes. Additionally, I wish to express my deepest gratitude to Susan S. Lanser and Catherine Ingrassia for agreeing to participate at the eleventh hour. Closer to home, I need to thank my colleagues at Ithaca College James Swafford and Michael Stuprich—Jim for his patience and Michael for his sure editorial hand. I’d also like to acknowledge the help of my former students Geoff Cornish, Eric D. Smith, and Ursula Goulet and my former colleague Leslie Stratyner, all of whom lent me emotional (and, in one case, clerical) support throughout this project and tolerated the mess and chaos that it generated. Judith Mueller and Michael Conlon also need to be thanked for their steady enthusiasm and unstinting sympathy. Closer to home, my sister, Susannah Ottaway, and my parents, Esther Donaldson Ottaway and Gerald Ottaway, should receive similar recognition for their ongoing belief and ever-ready comfort. Finally, I would like to thank LeAnn Fields, the executive editor at the University of Michigan Press, for the personal help and excellent advice she extended to me, her faith in this project, and her tolerance for its many alterations and delays.

Introduction contexts for the consideration of the transgressive antitype

Katharine Kittredge

There is terror in transgression. Women, especially, understand that once they have moved outside society’s behavioral/sexual boundaries, 1

there will be no return and no alternative place of safety. Like all particularly effective horrors, the alienation that follows transgression gains power because it cannot be clearly seen: the boundaries of acceptable behavior shift over time, place, and circumstance; and the dangers that lie “beyond” are unspoken. In Promiscuities (1997), Naomi Wolf talks about the fear that haunted girls growing up in the United States in the 1970s: If we took one false step—if we did something that could expose us as “sluts”—there would be no way to overstate the danger of the fate that awaited us. We could die socially; in terms of our identities we could die as good children, we could die to our families, we could even die literally. (63) Wolf’s comments highlight the intense impact that a vivid anti-ideal can have on a young woman’s self-image, behavior, and perception of the world. Hitherto, feminist scholars studying the roots of our modern conceptions of gender have largely focused on the creation and perpetuation of the female ideal. It is time that we focus our attention on the role played by the presence of the negative example as a mechanism that shapes perception and enforces conformity. Eighteenth-century visual and written sources contain myriad images of the suffering and ridicule that await women who break the rules: the whining spinster, the evil murderess, the decaying prostitute. As feminists, our natural response to these images may be revulsion—surely, we cannot be expected to claim these pathetic objects as foremothers. Too frequently, we identify such portraits as evidence of misogyny and move along in search of more positive images. This collection re›ects my belief that we must not continue to avert our eyes. In this volume, a group of 1

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talented scholars focuses the critical gaze on images of women that are frequently painful, grotesque, or pathetic to ascertain the messages that these depictions convey and the way this information was interpreted and negotiated by contemporary women. The twelve chapters in Lewd and Notorious complement—and perhaps complicate—the well-established work that has been done by feminist scholars such as Nancy Armstrong, Ellen Pollak, and Elizabeth Brophy on the image of the eighteenth-century feminine ideal. The scholars in this volume set out to examine the other side of the female equation: the image of female transgression. Speci‹cally, they consider the depiction of the private acts of individual women as they appear in publicly visible images and texts that de‹ne and perpetuate the anti-ideal. It is precisely by becoming “notorious” that a single “lewd” woman (real or constructed) has a profound effect on the society that reviles her. The chapters in this collection document the construction of public images of the transgressive woman in a wide variety of sources in the eighteenth century. Scholars working on the development of the feminine ideal have been fortunate to have a ready supply of eighteenth-century conduct books discussing appropriate and inappropriate female behavior in explicit, didactic terms; unfortunately for those of us interested in the anti-ideal, there is no single, comparable source that offers detailed guidance in the nuances of becoming an object of loathing, ridicule, and scorn. Our notoriously “lewd” women appear in a variety of media: they are seen in paintings, cartoons, and prints and in the verbal descriptions appearing in tabloids, pamphlets, and ‹ctional accounts; and they are present in the personal writing of contemporary women. The authors of these chapters variously consider their subjects both from the standpoint of twenty-‹rst-century scholars trying to understand the nuances of another time’s perception of gender and also as elements that shaped the way contemporary women viewed themselves. The progressive metamorphosis of the term lewd provides a microcosm re›ecting the cultural changes that contributed to the emergence of the gendered concept of female transgression in the eighteenth century. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word can be traced to the ninth century, when it carried the narrow meaning, “Not in holy orders.” During the thirteenth century it came to indicate “unlearned” and became synonymous with “ignorant.” It was not until the fourteenth century that it began to be frequently used as a general term of condemnation—“bad, vile, evil, wicked, base.” Lewd evolved into its current meaning around the eighteenth century, when it designated one as “lascivious, unchaste.” Although lewd has not always been negative in its implications, it has consistently signaled that one is outside of the domi-

Introduction

3

nant power base—a lack of church af‹liation when the church was powerful, a lack of education when schooling differentiated gentry from peasantry, a lack of “civilized” behavior when civic conformity was essential. Signi‹cantly, during the eighteenth century the term became simultaneously gender related and linked exclusively to aberrant sexual behavior. Lewd had always identi‹ed the group considered furthest away from acceptable culture/cultural acceptability; in eighteenth-century society the most transgressive individuals were women whose sexuality was considered unacceptable. Some of the most thoroughly studied precursors to the eighteenth century’s “lewd” women are the Renaissance images of “unruly” women. In Literary Fat Ladies (1987), Patricia Parker discusses the function of the ‹fteenth-century “‘mooveable’ and talkative harlot” as “the in›uential monitory antitypes to the shamefast and silent woman, modestly observing her proper place and moving within a circumscribed sphere” (107). At this time, according to historian Olwen Hufton, the “disorderly woman” was identi‹ed by seven very speci‹c attributes: First, she has a shrewish and uncontrollable tongue which is her main weapon in the defeat of her husband. Secondly, she is lustful and unchaste in her search for sexual grati‹cation. . . . Thirdly, she is pro›igate and particularly given to extravagance in apparel. Fourth, she is vain and her love of self will stop at nothing. Fifth, she will intrigue with other women or will sway the minds of the men who are her creatures to overthrow male authority. Sixth, her greed knows no bounds, and, seventh, she has a penchant for strong drink. (49) All the attributes of the “disorderly” woman represent public actions. Although an overdressed, drunken glutton of a wife must have been a drain on family resources, a disorderly woman’s primary impact was in her visible disruption of the social order. Since her offenses were perceived as social rebellion, it is not surprising that the prescribed punishments for female misbehavior involved public humiliation (“shame sanctions”)—cucking stools for unchastity, the “scold’s bridle” for women with unruly tongues, the charivari for those who overthrew male authority (Boose). Even spousal murder—an act that subsequent centuries would consider a “crime of passion”—was seen primarily as a violation of the social contract. As discussed at length by Stuart Kane in his article “Wives with Knives” (1996) and by Frances Dolan in her book Dangerous Familiars (1994), women who killed their husbands were considered guilty of petty treason rather than murder and so were sentenced to burn at the stake. Dolan’s work also investigates the use of accusations of witchcraft against the “loiterers at the household’s and community’s

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margins” out of the fear that they would “‹nd devious ways to express their anger and redress their grievances” (Dolan 173). In all these cases, we see ritualized public responses employed to counter the pernicious in›uence of women who violated the social order. In Domestic Dangers: Women, Words, and Sex in Early Modern London (1996), Laura Gowing examines church-court depositions of defamation trials to gain insight into the language of “sex, morals, and marriage and the moral understandings that informed social relationships and gender relations” (4). Gowing indicates that “the focal theme of defamatory speeches was female sexual behavior; the central character, the whore” (79). Although the focus of these trials was on the intimate act of extramarital intercourse, the primary concern was with the social repercussions of this act. Since these were defamation trials, they re›ected the participants’ concern with the effect of these public accusations of private misconduct on social status. The trials also re›ected the belief that a woman’s sexual behavior had “direct and material effects on the whole household” (Gowing 109). The institutionalization of “shame sanctions” and court trials of women for witchcraft, acts of violence, and defamation show a gradual contraction of the institutions responding to female transgression—prosecution moves from the jurisdiction of the church to the local community and then becomes a matter for the patriarchal household. As we leave the Renaissance, there seems to be a move toward an ever greater privatization of the response to female transgression. By the seventeenth century, certain forms of gender deviance had been decriminalized: being a “scold” was no longer a punishable offense (Boose 212), and witches were objects of humor rather than victims of persecution. This does not mean that offending individuals were not shunned or that they were not punished in less formal ways—but these repercussions were largely the work of individuals rather than of institutions. In the eighteenth century, concern seems to have shifted away from a focus on public behavior or offenses against the social/familial order. The focal point of disapproval became the private conduct of women—speci‹cally, their heterosexual activities outside of marriage. Although “unchaste” behavior had been a prominent facet of the previous images of the “unruly” woman, the distinction between appropriate and inappropriate sexual/ physical behavior had never been consistent. As Gowing comments in her concluding remarks: The word “whore,” constant and persistently offensive as it was, also had variable resonances. The social atmosphere of a neighborhood, and the power of ideas of reputation in it, determined the precise in›ection the word carried. (272)

Introduction

5

It is to be expected, then, that the shifts that were occurring in daily lives during the eighteenth century altered the perception of women’s roles and profoundly affected the “resonance” of behaviors that were labeled transgressive. Historian Bridget Hill writes that “in the ‹rst half of the century, women seem to have worked in a wide variety of trades, some of them involving work that was later to become the monopoly of men” (259), but states that the nature of women’s work changed dramatically due to the “feminization of domestic service” (260) and the political and social changes that caused women to be “pushed toward what were called the less ‘skilled’ work and tasks . . . the more peripheral, preparatory, often arduous, and frequently boring tasks” (260). In The Prospect Before Her (1997), Olwen Hufton concurs that during the eighteenth century, few [women] could ‹nd long-term suf‹ciency or independence by their own efforts. They saw that their main hope lay in a partnership with a man whose higher earning power would see them through the raising of a family and give them some suf‹ciency in old age . . . the vulnerability of those who failed [to obtain or retain a husband] was apparent for all to see . . . It therefore endorsed traditional roles for both sexes. (512–13) Women’s increasing economic dependence on men was re›ected in the marked shift in the image of the ideal woman that was noticeable by the middle of the eighteenth century. The creation of this new female ideal has received much attention, particularly from scholars of English literature who make use of the extensive British conduct writing of the period. Nancy Armstrong was one of the ‹rst to demonstrate how the emerging feminine ideal responded to the economic/social changes of the eighteenth century. Now, as we open the discussion of the development of the anti-ideal, it is equally important to acknowledge the ‹nancial realities that underlay the codi‹cation of the “lewd” or transgressive woman during the same time. Historian Keith Thomas has said of the early modern period, “The value of female chastity varied directly according to the extent to which it was considered that woman’s function was purely a sexual one” (155). Thus, it follows that during an era when women were being excluded from many ‹nancial arenas and primarily identi‹ed through their relationships with men, women’s worth would increasingly be de‹ned through their perceived sexual status—virgin, wife, or whore. Even worldly men like Ned Ward, the Grub Street hack who wrote Female Policy Detected (1716), believed that the virtue of chastity was “what we [men] most value” (7) and a hallmark of all other positive characteristics: “Put no Con‹dence in a Woman that has lost her Honour,” he warns,

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“for she who is without reputation, hath nothing to engage her to be faithful” (6). Explicitly, women’s sexual status was assigned according to their perceived ability to regulate sexual desire by (1) resisting their own desires in order to remain physically chaste and (2) compelling sexual restraint in their male companions. This de‹ning of virtue in negative terms promoted new ways of “reading” female behavior. In the eighteenth century, women’s behavior was not exclusively monitored for the actual commission of sexual transgressions (these acts would have been private and largely undetectable); instead, the focus was on detecting the related behaviors that would indicate, through their deviance from the feminine ideal, that these women were rebellious in spirit and thus likely to commit or condone sexual transgressions. The obsession with female “reputation” fostered the development of new social practices and complicated codes designed to make sexual purity highly visible within a public context—rules dictating dress, comportment, conversation, and even physical response (›ushing and blushing). These rules for appropriate social behavior, which were instituted by the wealthier class and gradually trickled down to the working classes, are both a re›ection of and a force behind the widening divergence of the social roles of men and women. Speci‹cally, the behaviors that conveyed appropriate female sexuality in the eighteenth century are the traits we consider part of traditional “feminine” gender performance. Women adhered to the codes of behavior that communicated “feminine” gender for fear that any deviation would be read as a signal that they were not sexually restrained females. The immediate penalties imposed for deviant or imperfect gender performance could be subtle—a cooling of the social temperature, “friends” who become unavailable, invitations neglected or withdrawn—but underlying these small gestures of social contempt was the brutal threat of sexual violation. In this respect, it is startling to see how little the parameters have changed since the eighteenth century. Naomi Wolf, writing in 1996, reports the words of a woman who describes the male response to modern women perceived as outside of the boundaries of female propriety: When men think that a woman is a whore, it’s open . . . season . . . on her. They can say what they want, they can be absolutely as crass and vile and violent and cruel and uncaring as the darkest part of the personality wants to be. And it’s okay. They don’t have to afford her one ounce of respect for being a human being. She’s not a human being. She’s a thing. (81) The lineage of this brand of moral misogyny is evident when one reads the monitory texts from the eighteenth century. As one might expect,

Introduction

7

James Fordyce (Sermons to Young Women [1794]) is less explicit in his discussion of the risks of immodesty, but the underlying imagery (and its threat) are the same: If a young person (supposing her disposition to be ever so good) will be always breaking loose through each domestic enclosure, and ranging at large the large common of the world . . . [t]hey [seducers] will consider her as lawful game, to be hunted down without hesitation. (108) As we have seen in the work of Gowing, Kane, and Dolan, in previous centuries British society had compelled female conformity through the of‹cial channels of ecclesiastical and secular courts or the actions of legal guardians; in the eighteenth century it seemed that any man with a functional penis was empowered to punish a woman who stepped outside of the boundaries of modest female behavior. The designation of gender-deviant women as “lewd” females who deserved social, economic, or physical punishment supplied a false sense of security to gender-compliant women who wished to deny their inability to determine their social/economic status or physical safety. The image of the transgressive woman was marginalized by society—relegated to caricature and comedy—but these peripheral images must have loomed large in the imaginations of contemporary women. Naomi Wolf states that the consequence of being labeled a “slut” while growing up in the United States in the 1960s and 1970s “was so much a part of the air that we breathed that we could scarcely examine it” (64). It is precisely the “unspeakable” nature of the antitype that conveys a sense of doom: The culture said: Take it off—take it all off. The culture also said of the raped girl, of the hitchhiker, of the dead girl: She was in the wrong place at the wrong time, doing the wrong thing, wearing the wrong clothes. (Wolf 82) In the eighteenth century as well as in the twentieth, there was an understanding that being designated as a transgressive woman would cancel out all personal value and would place one in a role that denied power and assured victimization. The erasing of individual identity is one of the most insidious effects of a woman’s being identi‹ed as a representative of the female antitype. When a woman achieves the status of the “lewd woman” this obscures all personal characteristics—including variant sexual behavior, economic class, and sexual orientation. For example, the prostitute narrator of John Cleland’s Fanny Hill (1749) is identi‹ed solely as a “lewd” woman within the patriarchal/heterosexual context: her lesbian encounters do not allow her to develop a bisexual identity, nor do the accounts of “birching” indicate that she is a

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masochist—these behaviors are subsumed under Fanny’s status as a prostitute who services men. The presence of incidental lesbian behavior within the “lewd” antitype is one example of the subversive modes concealed within the raucous images of transgressive women. In Fatal Women (1994), a study of twentieth-century depictions of female murderers, Lynn Hart discusses the impact of this masking of individual difference in the presentation of female transgression, stating that “the hierarchical structure of the dominant ideology” systematically erases or “secrets” the empowering elements of female homosexuality, making lesbianism appear a “mysterious or esoteric act” (4). This preserves the minoritizing nature of the designation without permitting it to contribute to the formation of an alternative identity that may support the individual’s behavior. According to Hart, this “leveling” of all female transgressions protects the dominance of the patriarchal hierarchy: “The distinction that was being made between heterosexuality and homosexuality” was just another manifestation of society’s perception of a comprehensive distinction between “white, middleclass women and other(ed) women: women of color and working-class women” (4). The damage done by this nebulous, composite image of female transgression is in no way diminished by its lack of precise detail. Hart comments: It would seem that in the masculine imaginary, there must already be some ideational content to the notion of an “unbound” woman to produce the category “Woman” which preserves the phallocratic symbolic. The Woman, I would agree with Lacan, does not exist. But the imaginary category nonetheless produces very real effects that are historically and culturally speci‹c. (9) Hart presents the “unbound” woman as a multiply de‹ned negative that denies agency while condemning deviance. The mechanism at work is similar to that which Eve Sedgwick describes in her discussion of how our culture uses the label of homosexuality to condemn any deviation from traditional masculinity: Of the very many dimensions along which the genital activity of one person can be differentiated from that of another . . . precisely one, the gender object of choice . . . has remained the dimension denoted by the ubiquitous category of “sexual orientation.” (8) For women, the lack of a single de‹ning area of transgressive behavior that will convey the designation of “lewd” makes the antitype even more threatening—how can one avoid crossing a line that cannot be seen? Patriarchal society is profoundly invested in the necessity of imposing the good woman/bad woman dichotomy, but the range of behaviors enacted on each side of the binary is frighteningly nondistinct.

Introduction

9

The chapters in this book represent a broad range of transgressive acts because the construction of the “lewd” antitype incorporated and subsumed every type of gendered social interaction. The “transgressive” behaviors discussed in this collection range from minor offenses such as punning to the commission of brutal murders. The twelve scholars consider these widely variant images to discover how each one contributes richness and detail to our understanding of the past. Lewd and Notorious seeks to supply a cultural context for the eighteenth century’s antitype of the “lewd woman.” Lewd and Notorious looks at the various ways in which the “lewd” behavior of the transgressive woman was made “notorious.” These images both re›ected and affected society’s uncertainty about the true nature of the sexes. The ‹rst section, “Transgressive Words,” explores the ways that language is used to interrogate or enforce contemporary perceptions of gender and sexuality. The second, “Transgressive Images,” examines the visual representations of women who deviated from the passive, “domestic” feminine ideal. In the next section, “Transgressive Acts,” the authors discuss how the activities of female criminals were presented within the justice system and its larger social context. The last section, “Transgressive Fictions,” brings together a number of ‹ctional images of female transgressors and considers the social implications of these texts. transgressive words In The Sign of Angellica (1989) Janet Todd notes that in the decades that followed the Restoration, female authors “learned that a display of certain sorts of self was shameful” (4). All three of the chapters in part 1 consider the ways that language could be used to investigate or subvert the dominant gender hierarchy. We are led from the speci‹c consideration of the impact of language on the perception of sapphism and the de‹ning of a sapphic identity to the broader issues surrounding the discursive processes whereby female writers engaged directly with the social responses to their writing and found new ways to practice and frame their experiences of authorship. The collection opens with a wide-ranging chapter by Susan S. Lanser: “‘Queer to Queer’: The Sapphic Body as Transgressive Text.” In this piece, Lanser considers “the confused textual effort to reify a sapphic Other and thereby establish a particular kind of body as a ground for ‘normal’ heterofemininity.” Lanser identi‹es this “discursive project” as essential for the emergence of a sapphic identity during this time period. In contrast, Susan Goulding’s chapter, “Claiming the ‘Sacred Mantle’: The Memoirs of Lætitia Pilkington,” depicts the efforts of one individual to manipulate both the language and the social constructs available to

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contemporary women in her crafting of an image of herself. In her memoir, Pilkington allies herself with her former mentor, Jonathan Swift; justi‹es her practice of the thoroughly masculine art of satire; and claims a speci‹cally female “promiscuous” style of writing that celebrates the very status that society ‹nds contemptible in women. Juliet Feibel explores a little-known aspect of bluestocking Elizabeth Carter’s work that is revealed by her brief prose piece, “Proposals for Printing by Subscription a Most Useful and Curious Work, Entitled THE WHOLE ART AND MYSTERY OF PUNNING.” Feibel explores the history of punning to explain the neoclassical assumption that puns are “a feminized, disruptive force that must be controlled in order to maintain a stable language” and sees Carter as challenging the boundaries separating appropriate and “impolite” literature. The manipulation of language, and its employment to create or deny awareness of particular female capabilities and behaviors, were essential to the development of a consistent (if unspoken) female antitype. We see this ‹rst in the use of language to create an image of the sapphic woman that, although restrictive and monitory, simultaneously offered a coherent image of Other sexuality. Similarly, the works of contemporary female writers show women venturing into areas of masculine discourse and reveal strategies for female negotiation of the assignment of gender and attempts to rede‹ne the traditional relationship between sexuality and female worth. Both areas of inquiry seem to indicate an active and self-aware engagement with the emergent discourse on gender and (perhaps) the shared recognition that the gender lines were newly drawn and could be bent, highlighted, erased, or ignored as the authors saw ‹t. transgressive images Although the eighteenth century was rich in portraits of female beauty, it was also a period rife with negative images of the female body presented through the media of verbal satire and visual caricature. The three chapters in part 2 present examples of women’s images ranging from the mean-spirited to the grotesque. The authors consider the cultural implications of each image to ascertain the female attitudes and behaviors that were most likely to be depicted as blameworthy or repellent. Elizabeth Hunt’s chapter, “A Carnival of Mirrors: The Grotesque Body of the Eighteenth-Century British Masquerade,” examines written and visual depictions of the masquerade culture to ‹nd vivid descriptions of “unnatural” female bodies. She sees these works less as representations of a misogynistic view as “the embodiment of anxiety about the status of the ‘human’ body.” Cindy McCreery’s chapter, “Lustful Widows and Old Maids in Late Eighteenth-Century English Caricatures,” focuses on the visual represen-

Introduction

11

tation of old maids and merry widows as shown in a variety of etchings from the period. These depict the aging female body as repellant and condemn all socially visible older women as sexually voracious and subject to ridicule and disgust. McCreery’s work delineates the interaction of gender and sexuality and shows more clearly the motivations behind the creation of grotesque images. Betsy Bolton’s chapter, “Sensibility and Speculation: Emma Hamilton,” is the case study of one woman who was presented to the public as both idealized icon and despicable grotesque. Bolton focuses on images of Hamilton after her public affair with Lord Nelson, when she was demonized in prose attacks and through caricatures, similar to those discussed by McCreery and Hunt, in attempts to represent her as a sexual creature whose more disruptive aspects—her political power, artistic abilities, and status inconsistency—could be comfortably dismissed. These examples make clear the uses of sexualization and the focus on the body as a means of neutralizing and containing forms of power that could not be tolerated by the increasingly misogynistic views of the period. transgressive acts The chapters in part 3 demonstrate how the social reading of criminal acts operated increasingly throughout the eighteenth century to portray the in›uence of gender performance on the determination of guilt or the severity of a woman’s transgression. The three chapters exhibit a marked progression in the use and prevalence of gender-based criteria as we move chronologically through the time period. Jessica Kimball Printz presents a careful consideration of the popular representations of penitential female criminals before and during the Restoration period that ‹nds that such narratives were shaped far more by their genre than by the gender of their subjects. Printz’s work makes clear that in this early part of the period, gender was not a major consideration in the public’s perception of these female criminals. In contrast, Judith Moore’s chapter, “Elizabeth Canning and Mary Squires: Representations of Guilt and Innocence in Legal and Literary Texts, 1753–1989,” looks closely at the details of the 1753 perjury trials of Elizabeth Canning and at the sensational literature that sprang up around them. Moore describes how the central issue at the trials became Canning’s chastity and states that her subsequent conviction arose out of “the assumption that women were by nature transgressive,” exacerbated by class prejudice. Patty Seleski’s “A Mistress, a Mother, and a Murderess Too: Elizabeth Brownrigg and the Social Construction of an Eighteenth-Century Mistress” examines how the popular depiction of Elizabeth Brownrigg, who

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was convicted of starving and torturing her servant girls in 1767, centered around the perception of her as “the ultimate ‘bad mother’” or, alternately, as “the mistress from hell.” Seleski examines the way that Brownrigg’s crimes were interpreted through contemporary gender and class roles that insisted that such acts by a woman be seen as “monstrous” and “unnatural” so as to maintain the male/female binary and the separation of the working and middle classes. As these three chapters demonstrate, at the beginning of the eighteenth century, the sex of a criminal had little bearing on the perception of the case, but as the century progressed deviations from appropriate gendered behavior became increasingly subject to criminal investigation and judicial correction. transgressive fictions Examining the plots, fates, and depictions of ‹ctional characters from the period gives us an opportunity to monitor contemporary emotional response to transgressive women and to understand the cultural niche that they occupied. In “Eliza Heywood, Lesbian Desire, and the Practice of Reading,” Catherine Ingrassia reexamines Heywood’s seemingly gender-compliant novels of the early eighteenth century and considers the way that Heywood’s nominally heterosexual female characters “re-envisage relationships between women, articulate revised models of gender, and interrogate the limited construction of female sexuality.” Ingrassia stresses the pragmatic nature of Heywood’s vision of homosocial female unions (in contrast to later idealistic and utopian images) and the extent to which these embedded narratives subvert much of our critical understanding of Heywood, her work, and the nature of the novel. Marilyn Francus’s “‘A-Killing Their Children with Safety’: Maternal Identity and Transpression in Swift and Defoe,” further examines the interaction between social and sexual roles and places it in the context of the social con‹guration of maternity. Francus believes that although Defoe’s characters’ behaviors are contained by his admonitory framing, the texts still disrupt in their depiction of alternative, scandalous behaviors which threaten the very fabric of patriarchal society. Julie Shaffer’s chapter, “Ruined Women and Illegitimate Daughters: Revolution and Female Sexuality,” is also concerned with women who are sexually transgressive and incorporates motherhood as both a consequence of transgressive sexual activity and as a means of creating female lineage and community. Shaffer discusses the work of ‹ve popular female novelists from the period to demonstrate that the presentation of female transgressors in all of their human complexity may be a means of undermining the power of the dominant ideal.

Introduction

13

All these ‹ctional transgressive women raise the possibility of women pleasing themselves in ways that blatantly disregard the emergent female ideal at the same time that they call into question the “moral” codes that condemn them. Neither the overt heterosexuality of texts like Heywood’s nor the admonitory intentions/protestations of the texts read by Francus and Shaffer undermine their subversive impact. As Jonathan Dollimore has said, “If transgression subverts, it is less in terms of immediate undermining or immediate gains, than in the terms of the dangerous knowledge it brings with it” (89). conclusion Many of the texts that are examined in these chapters reveal women from the eighteenth century involved in an act of social negotiation—positioning themselves within societal expectations for gender and behavior, reading individual forms as stylized tropes, interpreting personal acts through societal expectations. These texts indicate that many of the binary constructions that were solidly in place by the nineteenth century (male/ female; masculine/feminine; compliant/transgressive) still existed as permeable delineations open to discussion and negotiation throughout the long eighteenth century. We can posit that it is this quality of permeability that made transgressive women the subject of so much anxiety and debate. As twenty-‹rst-century readers, we gain a historical context in which to place some of our own struggles with identity and social position. But what message did these “fallen” images convey to their contemporary female readers? Was the transgressive antitype part of a wide spectrum of female images, indicating the remarkable range of conceivable female activities? Did the antitype exist only in opposition to the well-de‹ned feminine ideal? Was the transgressive image used as a bogeywoman to frighten young girls into an early and total compliance with the codes for enacting femininity? Was she a clarion call for rebellion against an oppressive patriarchy? Eighteenth-century critics have only recently begun asking these questions, but our counterparts working on Renaissance texts have been arriving at answers for more than twenty years. In her landmark essay “Women on Top” (1975), Natalie Zemon Davis proposes that even the negative images of transgressive women could function subversively. She describes “the image of the disorderly woman” as “a multivalent image that could operate, ‹rst to widen behavioral options for women within and even outside of marriage, and, second, to sanction riot and political disobedience” (131). Ten years later, Patricia Parker felt that the image of the uncontrollable woman functioned repressively. She describes how her Literary Fat Ladies might be considered “an allowed expansion or proliferation of the alien, multivalent form, and multilingual in order,” and

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she asserts that the effect of this image was “‹nally to dramatize the very process of its containment, its limiting structures of authority and control” (31). Both sides have had signi‹cant support in subsequent critical discussions. For example, Frances Dolan’s Dangerous Familiars concludes that the depiction of criminally transgressive women “violates the vigorous and persistent . . . cultural constructions of women as incapable of initiative or autonomous action” (26) and presents women as ultimately “uncontainable” (26). In his consideration of a smaller selection of texts, “Wives with Knives,” Stuart Kane asserts that these “prescriptive discourses” succeeded in their repressive designs by presenting “such a heavily coded and extensively represented image [of the ‘wife as shrew’] that her subversive capability was largely contained” (223). The discovery of contradictory readings by respected critics working on the Renaissance makes it more dif‹cult for us to know how to proceed with our own investigation of eighteenth-century responses. The contradictions presented by these analyses are dif‹cult to reconcile, but it may be our own desire to ‹nd closure that should be read with caution. Vivien Jones’s essay “The Seductions of Conduct: Pleasure and Conduct Literature” requires that we examine our perception of the eighteenth-century audience in the light shed by current theories of textual reception that discuss reading as an active process of negotiation; . . . [that] against a view of the reader/text relationship as mindless subjection, a form of false consciousness; and . . . [that] refuse to categorize texts—or readings—according to an imprisoning binary choice between the “repressive” and the “liberating.” (115) Jones insists that we suspend our search for a de‹nitive answer to many of our questions of cause and effect. This perspective provides a counterpoint to the image of the obedient female reader implicit in most of the texts that de‹ned the eighteenth-century concept of the “feminine ideal.” Jones’s work proposes the “possibility” of replacing the conventional view of women as “passive grateful recipients . . . used and de‹ned by, the books they read” with the image of female readers possessing “wit and knowledge”—“‘young ladies’ actively using and interpreting” the texts (132). The “possibility” of women as active readers creates the opportunity for women to act as critics, formulating the meaning of the text and deciding which texts are worthy according to their own needs and perceptions. In 1974, Judith Fetterley contrasted the role of the “assenting reader” with that of the “resistant reader.” Fetterley saw “resistant reading” as a form of “self-defense” (viii): “While women obviously cannot rewrite literary works so that they become ours by virtue of re›ecting our

Introduction

15

reality, we can accurately name the reality they do re›ect and so change literary criticism from a closed conversation [excluding women] to an active dialogue” (xxiii). Fetterley’s vision is extended in the more recent work of Sally O’Driscoll, who has proposed the necessity of “outlaw readings” that knowingly deviate from historically indicated reader roles. O’Driscoll maintains that nontraditional readings (such as a lesbian reading of a heterosexual text) allow us to extend our perception of the “audience” beyond a “universalized reading that does not adequately account for any one experience” (46) into a realm of plural readings that accept individual orientation and experience. As I try to imagine the possible audience for these texts, I am drawn to the image of a speci‹c kind of “resistant” or “outlaw” reader—the “selective misreader” whose admiration for the strength and ingenuity of these female antitypes would have caused her to overlook the cautionary roles that they were intended to play. Such a reader might well have found encouragement within these texts for her favorite form of transgression, regardless of whether her inclination led her to dress badly or kill her cheating spouse. The likelihood of “misreading” is heightened by the marginal nature of many of these texts—their status as “private writing,” journalism, subliterature, or caricature. Fetterley describes how “as readers and teachers and scholars, women are taught to think as men, to identify with a male point of view, and to accept as normal and legitimate a male system of values” (xx). Readers of “literature” are trained to stay on certain coded paths of interpretation, but the messages and the energy in the artifacts of popular culture are more likely to go astray. In such an environment, a reader might easily ignore the overt intention of the text’s author and ‹nd herself inspired to think about exploits wholly unbecoming to the “proper” lady. This form of “misreading” is not a function of ignorance or evidence of personal denial of negative forces; it is a strategy that allows women to draw nourishment from the material that was intended to stunt their growth and curtail their activities until they ‹t comfortably into the niche that society had prepared for them. As one traces the development of the transgressive female antitype from medieval to preindustrial times, one cannot help feeling a sense of lost possibilities. The image of the wild and uncontrollable “disorderly woman” allied with the witch in her secret understanding of the powers in nature comes to be replaced by the “slut” who is perpetually available for men’s pleasure and vulnerable to his superior might. And yet, in our understanding of multiple readers and barely discernible subtexts, there lies a hope that the potency of the earlier image was not fully erased. The virulent images of transgressive women in the eighteenth century were symptoms of a pervasive uneasiness with gender roles and sexual capacity. The scorn heaped upon these individuals served to mask the truer

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response of fear. Lying just beneath the smug misogyny that allowed the transgressive woman to be caricatured, humiliated, executed, or left to die in the streets, there remained a strong element of masculine uneasiness with the strengths that come with being female and (perhaps) a feminine satisfaction with the disruption of the patriarchal status quo. note 1. My use of the term transgression follows that of Peter Stallybrass and Allon White in The Politics and Poetics of Transgression (1986). White and Stallybrass de‹ne transgression through the borrowed term symbolic inversion, which they quote Barbara Babcock as having previously de‹ned as “any act of expressive behavior which inverts, contradicts, abrogates, or in some fashion presents an alternative to commonly held cultural codes, values and norms, be they linguistic, literary, artistic, religious, social or political” (17). works cited Armstrong, Nancy. Desire and Domestic Fiction. New York: Oxford University Press, 1987. Barker-Ben‹eld, G. J. The Culture of Sensibility. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992. Boose, Lynda E. “Scolding Brides and Bridling Scolds: Taming the Woman’s Unruly Member.” Shakespeare Quarterly 42.2 (1991): 179–35. Castle, Terry. Masquerade and Civilization. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1986. Davis, Natalie Zemon. “Women on Top: Symbolic Sexual Inversion and Political Disorder in Early Modern Europe.” In The Reversible World, ed. B. Babcock. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1978. Dolan, Frances E. Dangerous Familiars: Representations of Domestic Crime in England, 1550–1700. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1994. Dollimore, Jonathan. Sexual Dissidence. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1991. Fetterley, Judith. The Resisting Reader. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1978. Fordyce, James. Sermons to Young Women. 2 vols. London, 1794. Gowing, Laura. Domestic Dangers: Women, Words, and Sex in Early Modern England. New York: Oxford University Press, 1996. Hart, Lynda. Fatal Women. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1994. Hill, Bridget. Women Work and Sexual Politics in Eighteenth-Century England. Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1989. Hufton, Olwen. The Prospect Before Her. New York: Harper Collins, 1995. Jones, Vivien. “The Seductions of Conduct: Pleasure and Conduct Literature.” In Pleasure in the Eighteenth-Century, ed. Roy Porter and Marie Malvey Roberts, 108–32. New York: New York University Press, 1996. Kane, Stuart. “Wives with Knives: Early Modern Murder Ballads and the Transgressive Commodity.” Criticism 38.2 (1996): 219–37. O’Driscoll, Sally. “Outlaw Readings: Beyond Queer Theory.” Signs 22:1 (1996): 30–52.

Introduction

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Parker, Patricia. Literary Fat Ladies. New York: Methuen, 1987. Pollak, Ellen. The Poetics of Sexual Myth. Chicago: University of Chicago, 1985. Sedgwick, Eve Kosofsky. Epistemology of the Closet. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1990. Stallybrass, Peter, and Allon White. The Politics and Poetics of Transgression. London: Methuen, 1986. Thomas, Keith. “The Double Standard.” In Race Gender and Rank, ed. Maryanne Cline Horowitz, 137–58. Rochester: University of Rochester Press, 1992. Todd, Janet. The Sign of Angellica. New York: Columbia University Press, 1989. Ward, Edward. Female Policy Detected. London, 1716. Wolf, Naomi. Promiscuities. New York: Random House, 1997.

part i

Transgressive Words

“Queer to Queer” the sapphic body as transgressive text

Susan S. Lanser

N ot even the Oxford English Dictionary, that sturdy guide to roots and meanings, knows the etymology of queer: as each entry reiterates, the word is “of doubtful origin.” From at least the sixteenth century, queer, in its various incarnations as noun, verb, and adjective, has described the strange and the suspect: that which is not what it seems to be or does not seem to be what it is. The word’s doubtful status thus lingers in its signifying possibilities: unknown in its history, vague in its meaning, shifting in its syntax, queer is itself a slippery word that refuses to be pinned down.1 This lack of ‹xity seems especially apt in the present moment, when queer has come to signify not simply “strange” and “suspect” same-sex desires, either derogated or celebrated, but an aggressive challenge to sexual and social binaries. As Donald Morton notes, “The return of the ‘queer’ cannot be explained commonsensically simply as the oppressed minority’s revalencing as positive what was once a negative word, or as the outcome of a search for an umbrella term” for gays, lesbians, and bisexuals, or as a “younger and hipper” generation’s rejection of “the older generation’s ‘square’ style” (11). Queer signals a resistance to all categories, especially but not only those of male/female and gay/lesbian; an attack on rational epistemologies and classi‹catory systems in favor of the disorder, or the different logic, of desire. Queer theory, then, becomes “the result, in the domain of sexuality, of the (post)modern encounter with—and rejection of—Enlightenment views concerning the role of the conceptual, the rational, the systematic, the structural, the normative, the progressive, the liberatory, the revolutionary, and so on, in social change” (Morton 12).2 But the Enlightenment project to systematize gender and sexuality is arguably already dependent on the willful production of anomaly: the act of categorization introduces, or at least acknowledges, the very queerness the categories hope to keep in check.3 In this context, it is striking to note the particular use of queer practiced by Anne Lister (1791–1840), who 21

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remains the ‹rst known English woman who disclosed in writing her homoerotic acts.4 For reasons that no etymological analysis has yet unearthed, Lister’s diaries for 1824 sometimes use queer as a noun to designate the female pudendum: I then leaned on her bosom &, pretending to sleep, kept pottering about & rubbing the surface of her queer. (Priest 47) She begins to stand closer to me. I might easily press queer to queer. (Priest 48) Felt her breasts & queer a little. (Priest 50)5 Although it is not certain how Lister came to “queer” her genitalia in this way, the term seems apt, for in Lister’s England what I will call a “sapphic body,” a construction that emerges to stand hegemonically for women whose erotic desires are oriented primarily to women, is produced and insistently reproduced during the eighteenth century under various and shifting nomenclatures, as strange, suspect, odd—and, like the word queer itself, of doubtful origin.6 This construction of a sapphic body, which I believe culminates in the cultural production of a sapphic person, suggests that the Enlightenment project of ‹xing sexual categories was from the start an unstable and self-contradicting enterprise. Within a Foucauldian logic, the very proliferation of sapphic representation, recently con‹rmed by an impressive body of scholarship, is itself compelling evidence that female homoeroticism became in the eighteenth century a new kind of problem demanding new recuperative strategies.7 This anxious overproduction of discourses ranging from medical and moral treatises to novels and poems, most intense in England at midcentury, marks an ideological crisis in the larger project that Tim Hitchcock rightly describes as the “naturalisation of heterosexuality” (5). On the one hand, scienti‹c “advances” were undermining the longstanding anatomical explanations that attributed homoeroticism in women to a hermaphroditic body or a penislike clitoris. On the other hand, if women who desired women looked and acted like other women, on what grounds could femininity and patriarchy be conjoined? One important strategy, I argue, was a queering of those (real and ‹ctional) women suspected of primary or exclusive homoerotic desire, a queering that rendered such ‹gures at once visibly female and metonymically masculine. In the larger project from which this essay is drawn, I explore the ways in which the social, sexual, and intellectual formations of eighteenth-century Europe make sapphism not simply a product of but an agent in the (re)construction of patriarchy on a foundation of heterosexual desire and ultimately of heterosexual identity. Here I am examining an important

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strand in that more complex ‹eld of representation: the confused textual effort to reify a sapphic Other and thereby establish a particular kind of body as a ground for “normal” heterofemininity.8 As the ‹guration of the woman who desires woman undergoes a (never completed) shift from the anatomically to the socially transgressive—a shift that I attempt to signal in a terminological move from tribade to sapphist—eighteenthcentury discourse ‹nds new ways to queer homoerotic desire, creating the sapphic person as a bulwark against the threat that homoerotic preference might be compatible with physical “normality.” In this way, the sapphic body speaks as text across the eighteenth century, and discourses attempting to account for it often end up transgressing their own premises or making queer textual maneuvers in order to distinguish a sapphic body from a heterofeminine one. I will also propose that it is this discursive project, more than any change in the sexual consciousness or sexual practices of women themselves (which Randolph Trumbach and Tim Hitchcock imply), that creates the conditions for an emergent sapphic identity in the late eighteenth century. While epistemic shifts in the signi‹cations of sapphism are also occurring elsewhere in Europe, and operate differentially across the century, I will emphasize here the particularly intense dynamics of re‹guration that characterize English discourse in the middle of the eighteenth century. The queering of the homoerotic female body is not, of course, born from scratch in this period. Confusions about the role of the body in female homoerotic desire are already evident not only in Renaissance writings but, as Bernadette Brooten’s important research makes clear, in the classical sources from which early modern discourses take their cue. There is no apparent consensus among Greek and Roman writers about whether female-female desire results from anatomy, from temperament, from willful choice, or from some form of psychic masculinity. Sixteenthand seventeenth-century discourses, while repeating this uncertainty, give new prominence to the hermaphrodite as the site of same-sex desire. From at least the publication in 1573 of Ambroise Paré’s On Monsters and Prodigies, translated into English by 1634, an intensi‹ed interest in hermaphrodites also entailed a new focus on female homoerotic practices. As both Lorraine Daston and Katharine Park, and Ann Rosalind Jones and Peter Stallybrass, have noted with different emphases, early modern treatises on hermaphrodites ›uctuate between two ancient models: the Hippocratic version, in which the hermaphrodite is an intermediate third sex neither male nor female; and an Aristotelian model, in which the hermaphroditic body is genitally both male and female. While Daston and Park focus on the dominance of the Aristotelian framework and Jones and Stallybrass emphasize the Hippocratic challenges, both pairs recognize that by the seventeenth century hermaphroditism “came

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to stand for sexual ambiguity of all kinds, including the associated transgressions of [male and female] sodomy and cross-dressing” (Daston and Park 428). The hermaphrodite was not simply a “natural” phenomenon to be permitted the liberties of double identity; queerness was to be contained by determining and enforcing the hermaphrodite’s “true” sex, even though the notion that a hermaphrodite could have a singular sex already undermines the category itself. Some early modern discourses of hermaphroditism tended to see bodies as ›uid rather than ‹xed at birth; women in particular could close the gap of sexual difference by “degenerat[ing] into men,” and hence into female sodomites, through the effects, for example, of excess bodily heat (Jones and Stallybrass 84). This fear that women could “transform themselves into men” seems to have fostered both the extension of the term hermaphrodite to casual usage— for example, in Lord Denny’s charge against Lady Mary Wroth for satirizing his family in her Urania (1621)—and an increased criminalization of female sodomy on the European continent. The result, as Valerie Traub has shown in studying discourses of the seventeenth century that anatomize female-female eroticism as the practice of genitally masculine women, is that “the ‘tribade’ only enters England when endowed with an enlarged clitoris” (“Psychomorphology” 98).9 Moreover, anatomical judgments were sometimes rendered retroactively: a young woman discovered in ›agrante with another woman might be claimed to have “turned into a man.” Conversely, a woman accused of tribadism might be let off if her genitals proved unspectacular: Patricia Crawford and Sara Mendelson report a case in which a lawsuit against a cross-dressing woman who had “bigamously” married another woman was dismissed after seven midwives found the defendant to have normal genitals. Yet the very naming of homoerotic women as “tribades” and “fricatrices” suggests the long-standing instability of anatomy to anchor female-female desire: etymologically, fricatrice and (probably) tribade denote not the penetration associated with sodomy but simply contact or rubbing, movements that do not require the penetrative clitoris. This tension dates to ancient times, as Bernadette Brooten’s evidence suggests: even as the anatomy of the sapphic body gets de‹ned in terms of a penis equivalent, the naming of that body undermines the need for the phallic anatomy. Indeed, in at least one instance in late eighteenth-century France, the word fricatrice ends up signifying not the tribade but a woman skilled in the manual stimulation of the penis, for which she is alleged to need long ‹ngers and a nimble wrist (Almanach 7). Already self-contradictory and unstable, then, the argument from genital anomaly was further compromised in the eighteenth century as empirical skepticism, bolstered by anatomical research, made it increas-

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ingly dif‹cult to anchor same-sex desire to the hermaphroditic body or to accept notions that women could “turn into” men. At the same time, however, a more generalized notion of female masculinity—i.e., of masculine qualities in persons visibly female—attached itself to women suspected of homoerotic desires in ways that mark a shift from early modern usages. For even though sex between women had long been connected to notions of a mannish anatomy, most references to women as “masculine” in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries had nothing to do with homoeroticism. Indeed, the contrary worry—that women might engage in unlicensed sex with men—was often at stake when women were accused of being “masculine” in behavior, dress, achievement, or personality. Nor was homoeroticism yet connected with the other (intellectual, moral, political) usurpations of male prerogative that charges of female masculinity signi‹ed in early modernity. The famous 1620 pamphlet Hic Mulier; or, The man-woman, accusing women of transgressive dress and behavior, is a useful case in point: it charges women in mannish clothes with behaving “loosely, indiscreetly, wantonly and most vnchastely”—toward men. Homoeroticism is not implicated in this text, nor does it ‹gure in James I’s campaign of the same year against short-haired women in “brode brim’d hats” who turn up in churches carrying “stilettaes or poniards” (Chamberlain, Letters). Even the cross-dressing Queen Christina of Sweden, who left evidence of inclinations for women, was accused in her own day of lewd converse with men.10 Similarly, nearly all the amazons who populate seventeenthcentury literature end up with men when they end up with anyone, as do most of the female pirates and soldiers of both history and balladry, even when women fall in love with them. In Renaissance writings, female masculinity and the lewdest heteroeroticism are more than compatible: hic mulier’s mannish French doublet is “all vnbutton’d to entice.” What does get ‹rmly established in these early modern scenarios, however, is that metonyms of masculinity—male clothing, behavioral traits, weapons, achievements, or bodily attributes—signify women’s usurpation of some male prerogative, most frequently of a political, military, or intellectual sort. For masculine women were usually transgressing boundaries of gender rather than sexuality—or, to put it differently, the modern link between sexuality and gender had not yet been forged. Thus, as Valerie Traub has persuasively argued, the erotically charged crossdressers who people the early modern stage almost always resume their proper garments and slide into a marital economy, even when the crossdressers are both women (as in Lyly’s Galathea, where marriage is effected when one—indeed either one—of the women is magically changed into a man).11 Sexuality is not yet, here, predicated on polar differences: women who are accused of being like men are also perceived as

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desiring men, and arguably the dominant fantasy in early modern representations of the masculine woman is her subjugation not simply by a man but by her own desire for that man. If this version of female masculinity seems queer to us today, that is because female masculinity and homosexuality have become so intertwined. “Femme” lesbians are often marked by the lack of it—as in “she doesn’t look like a lesbian,” and Judith Halberstam’s Female Masculinity has reminded us that heterosexual rural women often ‹t the modern image of the lesbian butch (57). We may be surprised by hic mulier’s heterosexuality, in short, because we live on this side of the eighteenth century. The shifting relationship between homoeroticism and a more generalized notion of female masculinity makes a vivid early appearance in Tractatus de Hermaphroditus; or, a Treatise of Hermaphrodites, attributed to Giles Jacob and published in 1718 by Edward Curll, along with a treatise on ›agellation. A work less scienti‹c than sensational, the Treatise sets out to categorize hermaphrodites, to explain their origins, and especially to recount the “Intrigues of Hermaphrodites and Masculine Females.” After distinguishing ‹ve types of hermaphrodites it immediately discounts three of these as merely late-blooming or slightly anomalous yet nonetheless “true” men—that is, men capable of performing generative intercourse. The Treatise identi‹es another category consisting of persons with “confus’d” anatomies and tempers, who are “rather a kind of eunuchs than Hermaphrodites, their Penis being good for nothing, and the Terms never ›owing,” and claims that it will focus on women who “have the Clitoris bigger and longer than others” but who, because they menstruate, are “real Women” though they are “taken for Men.” As it turns out, however, the three pairs of women whom the text presents as homoerotically active have quite different anatomies, and none seem ever to be “taken for Men.” The ‹rst pair, the Italian Marguereta and the French Barbarissa, are just such “real Women” with some of the secondary sex characteristics of men: in stature they are “very near equal to the largest siz’d Male”; they have “full and rough Faces, large Shoulders, Hands, and Feet, and but slender Hips, and small Breasts: In short, they resembled Men in all their respects, but their Dresses, their Gates and Voices” (19). Their sexual behavior seems likewise to resemble an encounter between two men: the servant-voyeurs report that Barbarissa’s clitoris descends and becomes erect; penetration occurs; and then, with the help of “obscene Portraitures” and some ›ogging with a birchen rod, Marguereta’s parts also eventually descend and the pair comes together for another sexual encounter.12 The second couple, Theodora and Amaryllis, who manifest the physical “Perfections” of femininity and are formed with “full and round” breasts, must satisfy one another through “Art” rather than “Nature.” Because both were “cross’d in their

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amorous Inclinations” with men, they have resolved “never . . . to ‹x their Affections upon any Man living” but to live together and “to use their utmost Arti‹ces for the Relief of each other”: they fasten “arti‹cial Penis’s” to themselves in turn so as to perform orgasmic intercourse (40–41). Diana and Isabella, the third pair, while passing outwardly as women, are “more vigorous than common in their Parts” and “frolick” with “both Sexes in general.” Only when Diana makes advances to a woman with whom she happens to have been bedded for convenience is she declared to be “a Man or a Monster” bearing “the Members of both Sexes” (50–51); only when Isabella ends up in bed with a count who attempts to seduce her is it discovered that she too is a “Monster” with male genitals. Castrated by the count, Isabella ends up living with Diana “as Man and Wife (being now better quali‹ed for it)” until they quarrel, after which Diana too ends up getting castrated, and both live “to be harmless old Women.” In the Treatise, then, three sets of women engage in satisfying samesex acts, yet their bodies run the spectrum from “true Hermaphrodites” with double genitalia, to “masculine Females” with enlarged clitorises, to “feminine” paragons with entirely conventional body parts. Contradicting its announced intentions, the Treatise undermines any ‹xed causal relationship between anatomy and desire. If sexual pleasure is de‹ned as penetration (whether by penis, dildo, or long clitoris), the enlarged clitoris is rendered bisexual: so long as it does not get in the way of the penis, says the author, its larger size affords greater pleasure in intercourse.13 At the same time, “robust and lustful Females” who are “well furnish’d” may “divert themselves with their Companions, to whom for the most part they can give as much Pleasure as Men do” (16). Female desire here is itself queer, and the very notion of homoeroticism as the province of “masculine Females,” let alone of “true” hermaphrodites, is undercut even as the categories are being posited. Without yet erasing the hermaphroditic model, then, the Treatise also begins the move into a representational ‹eld more complicated than the seventeenth-century “anatomical essentialism” by which, as Valerie Traub notes, the “tribade” is ‹xed as “the abject other against which a normative female body is de‹ned” (“Psychomorphology” 99, 96). By introducing the “normal” Theodora and Amaryllis, the Treatise of Hermaphrodites suggests a social rather than biological cause for homoerotic acts: these particular women are fed up with ill treatment from men. That Theodora’s and Amaryllis’s preferences for one another will ultimately be reversed, however—an outcome that I will discuss more fully later— both recuperates this feminine couple and illuminates a distinction between acts and persons that, I will suggest, gains importance in the eighteenth century.

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Other early eighteenth-century texts reiterate the Treatise’s confusion of physical, mental, and social etiologies for same-sex desire. In “The Unaccountable Wife,” a tale within Jane Barker’s Patch-Work Screen for the Ladies (1723), a woman ends up cleaving to the female servant who had previously displaced her in her husband’s bed. No one can account for this dramatic shift of both sex and class in the wife’s desires—and in that unaccountability lies the radicality of the tale. At the very beginning of the story, there occurs a suggestion of anatomical aberration: not only is the wife’s “Person” not at all “agreeable,” but her body has some unspeci‹ed “Imperfections, and Deformity” that, as Kathryn King notes, identify her as “the sort of female from whom one would expect to ‹nd a desire for her own sex.” While anatomy is given no further attention within the narrative, other explanatory frames are also found inadequate in the face of the wife’s “amazing” preference for a person both female and lower-class. Another early text suggests that anatomy might be either a cause of homoeroticism or its telling side effect. In a supplement to the 1723 edition of the very popular Onania; or, the Heinous Sin of Self-Pollution, a repentant tribade who began at age eleven to engage sexually with her mother’s chambermaid associates her lust with “a Swelling that thrusts out from my Body, as big, and almost as hard, and as long or longer than my Thumb, which inclines me to excessive lustful Desires”— yet she herself does not know “whether by the hard usage of my Parts by her, or my self, or both, or whether from any thing in Nature more in my make, than is customary to the Sex” (152). By midcentury, genital explanations for female homoeroticism—in English women—are more consistently compromised. In 1741, James Parsons’s Mechanical and Critical Enquiry into the Nature of Hermaphrodites would insist that “Confricatrices” (his preferred English term for tribades) “do not desire Women more than Men, from a mere natural Inclination, but because by a Grati‹cation of this Nature there is not so much danger of being expos’d; therefore a Congress like this is the more eagerly sought after, and agreed on by two Females so inclin’d, since by an over long Clitoris in one, both ‹nd their accounts answer’d, without fear of that Accident, that is the necessary Consequence of dealing with Men” (22). If Parsons clings to the idea that penetration is necessary for female-female pleasure, and if he holds to a notion that certain “Females” must be “so inclin’d,” he also dissociates sexual desire from such secondary sex characteristics as body hair.14 Yet as Parsons’s own Enquiry makes evident, the genitally aberrant female body does not disappear from English discourse; it is more frequently relocated outside England or Europe to racial Others in a continuation or intensi‹cation of earlier practices. “Some of the Asiatick, as well as the African Nations,” says Parsons, have a particularly propensity

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to produce women with enlarged clitorises. Even as Parsons seems to defend English homoerotic practice, he more than condones genital surgery in other nations: given the “two Evils, viz., the hindering the Coitus, and Womens abuse of them with each other,” these nations “wisely cut or burn them off while Girls are young” (11). Jane Sharp’s 1671 Midwives Book had already suggested this double standard: after de‹ning “hermaphrodites” as merely “women that have their clitoris greater, and hanging out more than others have,” Sharp suggests that some such “lewd women have endeavoured to use it as men do theirs.” This behavior is immediately marked as not properly English: “In the Indies, and Egypt they are frequent, but I never heard but of one in this Country, if there be any they will do what they can for shame to keep it close” (45). The anonymous 1749 attack on English sexual and gender transgressions entitled Satan’s Harvest Home, along with such texts as the 1744 Travels into Turkey, similarly connect the enlarged clitoris and its tribadic uses with the Turkish harem (though momentarily acknowledging its presence in Twickenham as well). Female homoactivity, likewise, is occasionally named a Spanish, Italian, German, or French practice but almost never a speci‹cally English one. Within this ethnic logic, it is not surprising that in the libel suit brought by two Scottish schoolteachers accused of homosexual transgressions in 1810, at least one judge dismissed the possibility on nationalist grounds: “They import the crime of one woman giving another the clitoris, which in this country is not larger than the nipple of the breast and is, furthermore, immersed between the labia of the pudenda. Therefore, as expressed in language of the Greeks and Romans, it is a crime which, in the general case, it is impossible in this country to commit” (quoted in Faderman, Scotch Verdict 65, emphasis mine).15 Still, this sense that England’s anatomically “normal” bodies cannot enact homoerotic “crimes” was repeatedly compromised. As genital explanations faltered, new efforts to “queer” the homodesiring body reemerged through metaphoric and metonymic means—that is, by representing suspect women through masculine images and especially by endowing them, in ways that the Treatise of Hermaphrodites had already suggested and Parsons’s Enquiry sought to decry, with physical or social qualities associated with men. In England, this project seemed to reach its greatest intensity in the 1740s and 1750s—a time, indeed, when the word normal may have begun to take on its modern meaning of “conforming to, and not deviating or differing from, the common type or standard; regular” (Oxford English Dictionary).16 During these two decades, writers from anatomists to novelists focused on female ‹gures who desire other women and attempted to de‹ne the bodies that sustain this desire. In the face of faltering anatomical explanations, there emerged a con-

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struction of the sapphist not as secretly hermaphroditic but as visibly mannish—mannish in her public rather than private parts, mannish in her behaviors and accoutrements despite her self-presentation as female and her probably female anatomy.17 Without intending any linear development or cross-in›uence in these particular writings, I want to explore the instantiation of a transgressive sapphic body into English culture through ‹ve narratives that grapple to different effect with the intersections of sexuality, gender, and sexual anatomy: a little-known, anonymous novel, The Travels and Adventures of Mademoiselle de Richelieu (1744), which claims to be a translated French memoir; Fielding’s The Female Husband (1746), a highly ‹ctionalized retelling of a current legal case; the English version of the anatomist Giovanni Bianchi’s Breve Storia della Vita di Catterina Vizzani Romana (1744), published in London in 1751; the Sappho-an (1749), an “Ovidian” poem in three cantos that claims to have been “found amongst the PAPERS of a Lady of Quality”; and Richardson’s long novel of sensibility, Sir Charles Grandison (1753–54). The Travels and Adventures of Mademoiselle de Richelieu, Cousin to the present Duke of that Name. Who made the Tour of Europe, dressed in Men’s Cloaths, attended by her Maid Lucy as her Valet de Chambre is probably the century’s most celebratory—and least known—account of a happy homoerotic union.18 Evasive about genital sexuality, the novel is not at all evasive about its heroines’ shared rejection of heterosexual marriage or their passionate homoerotic desire. The “whimsical” Alithea de Richelieu, ‹nding matrimony “abhorrent” and unwilling to let a man make her a “meer Machine” (I:2), decides to “make the Tour of Europe” by “metamorphosing” herself into the “Chevalier de Radpont.” In contrast to the majority of cross-dressing narratives, in which adventure is the acknowledged motive, Alithea’s project has an explicitly sexual design: to “make Love to every Woman I meet with, appear as passionate as ‘tis possible for a Man of Gallantry to be, and press hard for Favours which I cannot receive” (I:329). And so she does, proving herself (like so many other cross-dressed heroines) the most appealing of men— and never suspected to be a female. Yet Alithea’s sexuality also complicates the conventional plot in which the cross-dressed woman must evade detection when another woman falls in love with her. After a number of such conventional ›irtations, the “Chevalier de Radpont” meets a woman with whom she falls seriously in love. Alithea is so attracted to the young widow Arabella de Montferan that she does momentarily long to “metamorphose myself really into the Sex I represent.” But fortuitously, Arabella, like Alithea herself, has a strong aversion to sexual intimacy with men—a “Distaste, I suppose from Constitution, to what commonly is looked upon as the principal

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Happiness of a married State, joined to the fatal Experience I have already made of it.” Both women are rescued when, in a neat reversal of the typical moment in which the cross-dressed woman reveals her sex in order to escape from an intrigue, Alithea opens her manly waistcoat and “discovers my Breasts, which the lovely Arabella no sooner perceived, than she clasped me in her Arms with Transports rather of a Lover than of a Friend” (II:229). Now that Alithea’s female body is exposed, the women vow that “nothing but Death shall separate us”; and, since they share an “insuperable aversion to a married State” (II:230), they promise to spend a life together of “very extraordinary Friendship” (II:244) that is repeatedly “sealed” in “Terms, more proper for a Lover than a Friend” (II:245). Whenever they have been parted, “a Lover could not be more impatient for the Arrival of a Mistress than I was about my Friend” (II:341), and their embraces and kisses give “unspeakable Pleasure” (II:342). As the terms “lover” and “friend” are confounded and destabilized, the bond between Arabella and Alithea is made blatantly queer, beyond existing language for ‹xing relationships. Without describing genital sexuality, the text nonetheless marks the transgressive nature of the women’s relationship. Fully aware of the “censorious World” that will wonder “upon seeing you and me so frequently together,” they need only decide “whether [Arabella] shall put on Breeches or [Alithea] throw them off” (II:243): they are simply two women, either of whom can successfully “be” a man if circumstances require. Moreover, they consult a priest who assures them that “tho’ there was something very whimsical” in their connection, “yet it could not be called criminal” (II:251). They decide against the convenient ‹ction of a cross-dressed marriage because their “Whim, for no other Name it can justly bear,” would be the subject of gossip if they were discovered. When Arabella chooses to don male garb herself and complete the tour of Europe with Alithea as if they were male companions, it is the arbitrariness of any relationship between the female homoerotic body and secondary masculinity that is underscored, and if one of the women passes a bit more easily by virtue of her smaller breasts, both succeed completely in male disguise. Traveling together, ›irting with women and even (in Italy) with men, they always end up in nightly embraces until they ‹nally reach Paris and end their wandering life. At this point, the signi‹ers of their masculinity are simply set aside. At the novel’s end in the narrative present, the two have been for several years dividing their time equally between the large estates of which they are respective mistresses, spending summers in Paris and winters in Languedoc “without the least thoughts of altering our Scheme ‘till Death parts us; the longer we are together, the more we love one another, and are happier in our Friendship and Freedom, than we could possibly pro-

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pose to be in any other Condition of Life” (III:358). These women have used masculinity to their own purposes, proving themselves at once the ‹nest of women and the most attractive of men. In the process they have also exposed as arbitrary or simply convenient the ties between female homoeroticism and gender identity. Virtually the opposite situation characterizes Fielding’s The Female Husband, a ‹ctionalized account of an actual legal case that may also have been a backlash response to Mademoiselle de Richelieu.19 If the women in Mademoiselle de Richelieu are both superbly successful men and beautiful women, in The Female Husband the woman’s attempt at masculinity is repeatedly compromised: when the “monstrous and unnatural” (29) Mary Hamilton decides to become “George,” her efforts to pass are undermined by her own body. Here the link between sexual desire and anatomy is also ruptured, but to Mary Hamilton’s detriment. In The Female Husband, homoeroticism clearly precedes and motivates Hamilton’s efforts at masculinity. The eponymous “female husband” is seduced into sapphism by a Methodist neighbor, and when the neighbor abandons her, Hamilton conceives the “strangest thought” of cross-dressing and marrying. Each time she courts or marries a woman, her “effeminate squawl” (33), her “odd” shape, her lack of beard (42), and her unmanly “bosom” (47) mark her as a queer specimen of manhood, a “Farinelli” at best. Ultimately she is arrested for fraud (and a dildo discovered among her possessions); even the ›ogging she receives for her imposture arouses pity because her skin is “so lovely” in its femininity. In short, Mary Hamilton’s is a feminized body through and through, and her failure to be a “masculine female” is what ends up giving her away. Here, then, is possibly the ‹rst antisapphic text in which the sapphist’s body is so naturalized as feminine that it interferes with the social—though not the sexual—ful‹llment of the sapphist’s desires, desires implied to be unnatural because the body’s own femininity will out, even though it is rather out of bed than in it that Hamilton fails to perform. Sapphic desire has nothing to do with the structure of her body; in a way that Fielding cannot explain, this sapphic woman is a biological female with the “wrong” desires. Such a representation, as I will suggest later, marks the beginning of the end of the early modern assumption that any woman might “want to and indeed could masquerade as a soldier—and quite well enough to get away with it” (Dugaw 124). Giovanni Bianchi’s 1744 Breve Storia della Vita di Catterina Vizzani Romana also rejects genital masculinity as the cause of same-sex desire, but Vizzani resembles Mademoiselle de Richelieu rather than Mary Hamilton in her ability to pass as “the best Woman’s Man” (11). A non‹ctional account translated into English in 1751 as the Historical and Physical Dissertation on the Case of Catherine Vizzani, and reissued in

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1755 with the more novelistic title The True History and Adventures of Catherine Vizzani, this account presents the sapphist emphatically as a physically normative female. Vizzani’s father considers her a “Son” who is nonetheless “in all Respects, a Female, as the Woman who bore her” (15). Wounded and hospitalized during one of her amorous adventures, Vizzani contracts a fatal infection and, after concealing her dildo beneath a pillow, confesses her biological sex. After her death she is discovered to have relatively “prominent Breasts” (37) and, most importantly, a clitoris that “was not pendulous, or of any extraordinary Size, as the Account from Rome made it, and as is said, to be that of all those Females, who, among the Greeks, were called Tribades, or who followed the Practices of Sappho; on the contrary, her’s was so far from any unusual Magnitude, that it was not to be ranked among the middle-sized, but the smaller” (44). Here, as in both Mademoiselle de Richelieu and The Female Husband, anatomy is not erotic destiny. But in adopting a man’s ways and succeeding well enough to keep her sex from being discovered even in a hospital, Catherine Vizzani af‹rms the ease of sexual concealment, conventional to cross-dressing narratives, that Fielding has not allowed Mary Hamilton. If Bianchi’s Italian text explicitly disconnects sapphism from anatomy and even sets up Vizzani as a kind of virgin saint, however, the English translator’s epilogue reintroduces oddity in its sapphic protagonist. Indeed, the translator chastises Bianchi for not “assign[ing] any in Cause whatever, or so much as advanc[ing] any probable Conjecture” about Vizzani’s sapphic propensities. Since Bianchi has now acquitted “Nature”—that is, the body—“of any Fault in this strange Creature,” the translator locates causality in Vizzani’s mind, which he queers as the site of “more monstrous Productions” than “strange Births, and such like Prodigies.” He proceeds to tell disastrous stories of other cross-dressing sapphists and the women they victimize. In a sense, then, the translation turns Vizzani into a mental hermaphrodite. Causality, now lying in a disordered “Imagination,” and identi‹ed with nurture rather than nature, suggests (as does Fielding’s Methodist narrative) that sapphism can be learned: the wrong kind of “lewd or lax Conversation” or “scandalous and ›agitious Books” (63) may have sapphogenic effects. Here again, the danger but also the marker of the sapphic woman is her masculinity, now transformed from clitoris to clothes. And since clothing is a choice, as anatomy arguably is not, women are cautioned to avoid cross-dressing and to beware of women in male disguise, though the translator also implies that a “real” woman will be able to spot a “real” man (58). The midcentury anxiety about identifying and containing homoerotic women seems also to mark a new tendency in attitudes toward the crossdressed female. Research by such scholars as Dugaw, Donaghue, and

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Dekker and Van de Pol suggests that in the early modern period the cross-dressed woman was a far more conventional and acceptable presence and, even if charged with a certain homoeroticism, not yet marked as deviant in sex or sexuality. It is in the mid–eighteenth century, I hope to demonstrate, that this sexual innocence begins to disappear, that gender and sexuality begin to form their modern linkage, and that the crossdressed woman becomes more than circumstantially associated with the courtship of other women rather than with such adventurous projects as seafaring and soldiering. This shift in attitudes toward cross-dressing occurs as genital deviance ceases to stand as a convincing explanation for homoeroticism in women. For the erosion of the genital model leaves a disturbing vacuum: if there is no anatomical mark of sapphism, then any woman is a potential sapphist. It has been my contention here that where the masculine marker written in the body has failed, a new masculine marker gets written on that body—a marker of clothing, stature, features, skills—in short, some signi‹er that sets apart the woman who desires women as manlike, and hence queer, and allows others to identify and beware of her. In this way, heterosexuality can be sustained and heterosexual desire normalized as a characteristic of gender, and a prototype of modern sapphic identity begins to emerge. In the narratives I have been discussing, the signs of homoerotic desire move from internal, often hidden markers—private parts—to external signi‹ers that allow the public identi‹cation of women who might pursue other women. This re-othering of the homoerotic body is imbricated with the emergence of what Michael McKeon calls “modern patriarchy,” in which the alignment of heterosexuality and femininity is critical.20 Here, I suggest, lies the social birth of the sapphist as a category of identity: a person visibly female, yet whose queerness is also visible in some kind of masculine marker. Here too lies the implicit denial of sapphism in the woman who conforms to normative femininity. Scholars who argue for the nonsexuality of romantic friends—women who usually conform to feminine conventions— may, I suggest, have mistaken the eighteenth century’s own ‹ctions of sexuality for truths.21 It is in the interests of this project of marking, I believe, that the crossdressed woman who passes as a man yields to the masculine woman identi‹able as such. This model operates in the 1749 Sappho-an, a threepart poem that claims to reveal the ways in which sapphism is practiced “according to the Modern and most Polite Taste.” In a complex overlay of modern Britannia with ancient Rome, with evocations of China, France, and Italy, women give their “treasures to their own sex” (and also play around with dildos, eunuchs, and garden vegetables) after Jupiter starts consorting with boys. Juno, the ringleader of these “wellknown, crafty dame[s],” is demonstrably a woman: “her dress was

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female,” the poem takes the trouble to tell us; yet she has “a manly air,” “features stern and strong,” and “bristly hairs” upon her chin; and “her manly step / Seem’d as she’d wrestle, throw the bar, or leap.” Juno and her cohorts are also openly hostile to men: they “bully husbands” when they “kiss” their “wives”; they see men as a “plague” and assert that “sincerely man I hate.” Signi‹cantly, women’s masculine ways are linked directly to this hostility: “Man we despise—but in our better Plan / Let us in miniature out-ape the man.” But the poem has dif‹culty shutting down its own dynamics; it ends by exhorting women to proper heterosexuality against its own evidence. Healthy young girls are warned to beware of “female rakes” and to “boldly own” their “nature,” a nature proclaimed to rest on heterodesire: “Woman was made for man, so nature meant, / And every ‹bre answers the intent” (47). But perhaps the richest early rendering of the queer sapphist as visibly female but metonymically masculine appears in Richardson’s long novel Sir Charles Grandison, in the person of Miss Barnevelt.22 Barnevelt ‹rst enters the text as one of a trio of imperfect women against whom the heroine, Harriet Byron, will be the ideal: Miss Cantillon is “very pretty” but “visibly proud, affected, and conceited”; Miss Clements has a “‹ne understanding” but is “plain”; and Miss Barnevelt is “a lady of masculine features, and whose mind bely’d not those features, for she has the character of being loud, bold, free, even ‹erce when opposed; and affects at all times such airs of contempt of her own sex, that one almost wonders at her condescending to wear petticoats” (I:x, 42). This mannish woman, at best “a ‹ne tall portly young lady” (I:xv), is also manifestly sapphic: “No-body, it seems, thinks of an husband for Miss Barnevelt. She is sneeringly spoken of rather as a young fellow, than as a woman; and who will one day look out for a wife for herself.” Soon the “odd creature” confesses her love for the heroine: “Miss Barnevelt said, she had from the moment I ‹rst enter’d beheld me with the eye of a Lover. And freely taking my hand, squeezed it.—Charming creature! said she, as if addressing a country innocent, and perhaps expecting me to be cover’d with blushes and confusion” (43). Harriet is “extremely disconcerted,” “surpris’d and offended” when Barnevelt praises her body “and then clasping one of her mannish arms round me . . . kissed my cheek” (I:xiii, 57). At one point, Harriet attempts to rewrite Miss Barnevelt’s possibilities: she imagines Barnevelt with “her Lucy” and immediately decides that “upon my word I will not let her have a Lucy—She shall have a brother man to write to, not a woman, and he shall have a ‹erce name” (I:xv, 69). Richardson too refuses a future for Miss Barnevelt; having served her purpose as negative example, she falls out of the narrative entirely. Miss Barnevelt dramatically illustrates the transition from tribade to

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sapphist in which the homoerotic woman, even if “normal” genitally, can be identi‹ed by her embodiment of the behaviors, qualities, clothing, posture, or physical features of men. Yet like the women of the Sapphoan, and unlike Mademoiselle de Richelieu, Mary Hamilton, and Catterina Vizzani, she is not attempting to pass for a man. In a project that also has important implications for the sexuality of the gentry classes, the construction of a queer sapphist can be read as an effort to contain female homoeroticism to identi‹able women, to warn other women away from them, and to suggest that the visibly gendered body is an index of desire. Similar attributions of masculine qualities to women thought to be homosexually active are common enough by the late eighteenth century. The (queer-ish) William Beckford fondly describes Molly Carter as “Mons. le Chevalier Carter” (Rizzo 282), probably alluding to the Chevalier d’Eon, the French man whom most believed to be a woman cross-dressing as a man. The word tommy, a distinctly masculine ‹rst name probably new to the late eighteenth century, carries a similar effect; one might point, for example, to the designation of Sappho as “the ‹rst Tommy” in the “Sapphick Epistle” of 1777. Moreover, terms such as odd, strange, and singular are used frequently and with masculine connotations, in texts from Hester Thrale’s diaries to satiric poems, to describe women suspected of homoerotic desires. And if those who idealized Eleanor Butler and Sarah Ponsonby, the “ladies of Llangollen,” stressed their femininity, those who suspected sapphism tended to emphasize their masculinity and their oddities. Andrew Elfenbein shows that Anne Damer was frequently caricatured as a mannish body; Anne Lister’s friends considered the sapphist Miss Pickford “blue[stocking] and masculine” (Heart 234); and Lister claims she “just felt toward her as if she were a gentleman, & treated her as such” (Heart 271). By the end of the century, I submit, mannishness in a woman could be evoked in a way that made sapphism an implicit consequence. Maria Edgeworth’s Belinda (1801), for example, offers the gun-toting Harriot Freke, whose “wild oddity” of countenance, “dashing audacity,” myriad “oddities” (43–44), “bold masculine arms” (49), and comfort “in male attire” all mark her as “a young rake” with nothing “feminine about her” (47). Freke is Richardson’s Miss Barnevelt intensi‹ed; she ›atters Belinda about her beauty as Barnevelt ›atters Harriet Byron, she “champion[s]” the “Rights of Women” (229), she speaks about the years “when I was a schoolboy—girl—I should say” (231), and she is clearly a woman that “no man of any taste could think of” for a mistress or a wife (233). But while Miss Barnevelt simply disappears from Sir Charles Grandison, Harriot Freke must get her comeuppance: her legs caught in a “mantrap” during one of her mean-spirited escapades, it is “hinted, that the beauty of her legs would be spoiled, and that she would never more be

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able to appear to advantage in man’s apparel” (312). She is, in effect, castrated into femininity.23 Even as English discourse is queering the sapphic body, however, it is engaging in an equally signi‹cant and related countermove. Across the century there are representations of Englishwomen who engage in sapphic pleasures without being in the least distinguished anatomically from women who perform heterosexual acts. In the 1718 Treatise, it may be recalled, the “feminine” Theodora and Amaryllis end up with men: Philetus, a comely but “a little Effeminate” youth in love with Theodora, gains her by dressing up as a woman with a dildo rather than revealing himself as a man with a penis. Eventually and after the fact, Theodora decides that she has experienced “a material difference between Art and Nature” and thereupon agrees to marry him. Amaryllis “likewise submitted to Matrimony” (45, emphasis mine). In Cleland’s Fanny Hill; or, Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure (1749), Fanny Hill is initiated sexually by Phoebe Ayers, a woman with large breasts “in a size and volume that full suf‹ciently distinguished her sex” (48). Phoebe herself in the heat of passion does proclaim, “Oh! that I were a man for your sake—!” but her lack seems to be no detriment to pleasure, since Phoebe’s kisses are “as ‹erce and salacious as ever I received from the other sex” and since “tears of pleasure” gush from [her] eyes” and a “‹re” “raged all over me.” And (how) is this homoerotic satisfaction, in bodies so feminine, to be accounted for? “Phoebe herself . . . found, it seems, in this exercise of her art to break young girls the grati‹cation of one of those arbitrary tastes for which there is no accounting” (49), says Fanny, while immediately returning Pheobe to heterosexuality: “Not that she hated men or did not even prefer them to her own sex; but when she met with such occasions as this was, a satiety of enjoyments in the common road, perhaps to a secret bias, inclined her to make the most of pleasure wherever she could ‹nd it, without distinction of sexes” (49–50). Phoebe’s “secret bias” toward women must be immediately offset by assurances that she does not hate men and indeed prefers them—a claim made in rather complicated syntactic negatives to insist that femininity and heterosexuality are coupled even in the polymorphously perverse. Similarly feminine bodies who are preferentially heterosexual but happily homoerotic are described in volume 2 of Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure, when Fanny is introduced to group sex with Emily, Louisa, and Harriet. Similarly if less blatantly, the intense physicality with other women that characterizes so many ‹ctional women, from Rousseau’s Julie to Burney’s Juliet, is also predicated on a femininity that will ful‹ll its normativity by consummating its desires with a man. How does a culture bent on marking the homoerotic woman leave these actively homoerotic bodies unmarked? The answer seems to me

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simple and critical: whatever their sexual behaviors, these women represented as feminine in appearance are women for whom homoeroticism is a temporary excursion inspired either by the absence or ill behavior of men. The judge who argued in 1810 that Pirie and Woods did not have the anatomy to be sexual partners makes just this case: the women could have been sexual partners without the enlarged clitoris, he says, if they had been stimulating one another as preparation for intimacy with men: It must be admitted that there is a use that women of the ordinary conformation have made of one another for venereal purpose, viz. For excitements though not for grati‹cation. These scandalous functions are often mentioned among the ancients. But such excitements are always described as merely calculated to excite the venereal appetite and prepare for the admission of the male sex. However, it is not alleged that the scenes described in this case were in any way preparatory to receiving the male sex. On the contrary, Miss Woods was supposed to have asked of Miss Pirie whether she ‹tted her to get a sound sleep, which implies that a full grati‹cation of the venereal appetite was the understood object. (quoted in Faderman, Scotch Verdict 65–66) Here we move a step beyond the scenario of a play like Margaret Cavendish’s Convent of Pleasure (1668), in which a woman recognizes that she is aroused by a “woman” but discovers in time that the woman is a (cross-dressed) man, or a scenario like that in Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure, when Fanny sees the male organ and instantly knows that a better experience awaits her. For now that the enlarged clitoris has been (more or less) discursively banished from England, female-female homoerotic pleasure is itself doomed: in a judicial move that pre‹gures Freud’s ‹ction of the vaginal orgasm, Lord Meadowbrook claims that “without penetration the venereal orgasm could not possibly follow.” Since he has already established that because Pirie and Woods are British (if Scottish) their “private parts were not so formed as to penetrate each other,” it follows that no satisfaction between two British women is ever possible: “One woman of unusual formation does not exist among millions. That two women of such a structure should get together, after maintaining respectable female characters in genteel society . . . appears absurd” (quoted in Faderman, Scotch Verdict 66). In this context, the triumphant rejection of queer anatomy comes at the cost of queer desire. If this is Anne Lister’s discursive inheritance, if the sapphic body must be queer in one way or another, it is not so startling that she would adopt the word queer to describe her desiring parts. Lister’s ways of characterizing and indeed of fashioning her own body suggest that in other ways as well the sapphic body may be queered or may queer itself. Lister

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reports again and again being considered odd, strange, masculine. Although she wears skirts, she is often taken for a man and (mis)treated accordingly (see, e.g., Heart 64, 65). Her beloved (and married) partner Marian owns that Lister’s manners “were not masculine but such was my form, voice & style of conversation, such a peculiar ›attery & attention did I shew, that if this sort of thing was not carried off by my talents and cleverness, I should be disgusting” (Heart 116). In an attempt to name her own queerness, Lister insists that she is “certainly peculiar” yet “not all masculine but rather softly gentleman-like” (Heart 136). At one painful point Lister says she “must manage my appearance & ‹gure differently. Must get a silk pelisse . . . I seem to have no proper dress. The people stare at me. My ‹gure is striking” (Heart 294, 295). In 1824 she will tell Maria Barlow, with whom she is beginning an affair in Paris, that her aunt “often said I was the oddest person she ever knew” (Priest 38). And when Mrs. Barlow thinks people are staring at Lister because her gown “was so tumbled & shabby,” Lister “explained that it was not that. It was common enough to be stared at on account of my walk, etc.” (Priest 54). On a more positive note, one Miss Kelly tells her that “people thought I should look better in a bonnet [but] she contended I should not, & said my whole style of dress suited myself & my manners & was consistent & becoming to me. I walked differently from other people, more upright & better. I was more masculine, she said. She meant in understanding” (Heart 342). Moreover, Lister uses the word whimmy in a way that could imply a code not unlike the modern queer—and that recalls Mademoiselle de Richelieu’s defense that she and Arabella were not “criminal” though they might be “whimsical.” Lister reports the following conversation with the admitted sapphist Miss Pickford: I said I believed the people here thought me [whimmy]. . . . I said I was more whimmy in speech & appearance than reality. We agreed there were some subjects one could not be whimmy upon. Not, for instance, in early-formed close connections. The tie was strong. . . . Miss Pickford has read the Sixth Satyr of Juvenal [which attacks women for homoerotic lust among other sins]. She understands these matters well enough. (Heart 268) It may be no coincidence that in the eighteenth century, whim was a slang term for female genitals.24 In ways beyond the scope of this chapter, I have found that women other than Lister also identify themselves, in what may amount to a “reverse discourse,” as odd, whimsical, irregular, or singular. Without accepting sexual binarism that would make all female bodies alike, and without denying the possibility that sapphic bodies may be

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born as well as made, I do want to suggest that Anne Lister’s writing of her own body as transgressive text suggests at least one shape, and one etiology, for modern sapphic identity. For the discursive reconstruction of the homoerotic woman in the decades before Lister’s birth forged a distinction not simply about sexual acts but about sexual identities: some women could be normalized no matter what they did in bed, while others were rendered unsuitable for men or marriage. It is the woman’s body—or more speci‹cally her appearance—that seems to make the difference. The feminine body, whether or not it engages in homoerotic behaviors, is visibly marked as feminine in ways that transcend its own acts and desires. The sapphic body, whether or not it engages in homoerotic acts, is transgressively masculine; and, conversely, the transgressively masculine body has come by the turn of the century to carry an aura of the homoerotic. Lister reports, for example, that a Miss Fountaine told people “that I was masculine & said what they have never forgotten” (Heart 294). For reasons that I think we must be careful to investigate rather than to assume, it is a shorter move than one might anticipate from Richardson’s Barnevelt to the Anne Lister of the diaries and from there to the nineteenth-century invert, ‹xed in her orientation and mannish in the fashion of Stephen Gordon in Radclyffe Hall’s Well of Loneliness, who is drawn to the feminine Mary, a “faute de mieux lesbian” who ‹nds true happiness with a man. I make this claim not at all to posit a historically transcendent sexuality or even a continuous sexual history but, on the contrary, to ask that we ponder the conditions in which certain con‹gurations of gender and sexuality might emerge both in representation and in women’s experience. The othering of the sapphic body as transgressive is clearly one useful way to attempt to keep most women from recognizing within themselves the possibility for consequential homoerotic desire: even if they feel such desire, the body itself foretells their heterosexual destiny. And to the extent that the new sapphic identity marks female transvestism and other appropriations of masculinity as homosexual, the eighteenth-century (re)construction of the sapphic body has another consequence and perhaps another cause: it warns women away from the accoutrements and thus the social advantages of masculinity, whether through cross-dressing or through more subtle appropriations, for fear that they will be marked as “unnatural” and “unfeminine.” Cautionary tales from The Female Husband to Belinda and beyond seem bent on insisting that there ultimately are no advantages to be gained by a woman who attempts masculinity. I would ask, therefore, whether by the turn of the nineteenth century the taint of queerness that has entered constructions of crossdressing might not account for the demise of warrior-women representations that Dugaw notices, the “more condemnatory” discourse about

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women in breeches that Kristina Straub identi‹es with the end-of-century stage, and the “marked decline” of the literature on cross-dressing that Tim Hitchcock associates with the turn of the nineteenth century. For by Lister’s moment, it is neither the cross-dressed body of the female husband nor the feminized body of the romantic friend but the “queer” body—female yet somehow masculine, odd in ways that are dif‹cult to pin down, transgressive without necessarily transgressing—that will mark the woman who loves women as a primary or exclusive choice. And to the extent that the queer body calls attention to itself, refuses to straighten out, it arguably advertises and celebrates its exceptionality, turning its own Otherness into resistance. In searching for ways to de‹ne her own body and to perform its desires, then, Anne Lister may be speaking volumes when she presses her lover “queer to queer.” notes I am grateful to Sharon Groves, George Haggerty, Ann Jones, Michael Ragussis, Peter Stallybrass, and Valerie Traub for comments and conversations during the preparation of this essay, which constitutes an early version of material to appear in my book. 1. Jeffrey Masten’s work in progress on the letter “Q” suggests that “Q” may itself be a “queer” term. 2. It is worth mentioning that as a political platform, “queer” also celebrates and in some sense ‹xes its very lack of ‹xity despite theoretical claims to the contrary. 3. On the Enlightenment preoccupation with anomaly and monstrosity see, for example, Todd and Huet. 4. What I mean here is that Lister is the ‹rst known English woman to have acknowledged in writing—and by choice rather than under the duress, say, of a legal trial—both her desires for other women and her homoerotic activities. 5. Queer does not appear in this way in the published portions of Lister’s diaries for 1817–23, but since the diaries are heavily excerpted, I do not know whether the 1824 uses constitute a new term in Lister’s vocabulary. Lister’s editor, Helena Whitbread, speculates that queer may be a distortion of queme, another word of multiple meanings, including both “pleasure” and “a hidden place.” I am skeptical about this linkage, for which Whitbread provides no explanation. The words queme and queer seem to have been quite distinct in the eighteenth century, and Lister does use queer in more conventional ways at least twice—in a comment by Miss Browne, whom she is courting and to whom she gives a moist kiss on the lips: “Miss Browne said kissing was an odd thing & people made quere remarks about it” (Heart 97); and in referring to a “queer, hottish, itching sensation, tonight, about the pudendum” (Heart 160), which undoubtedly came from the venereal disease she contracted from her married partner Marian Lawton. 6. I have chosen the term sapphist (along with sapphic and sapphism) from many possible terms used in the eighteenth century—tribade, fricatrice, tommy,

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lesbian, and various circumlocutions—because sapphist emerges as a fairly new signi‹er in the period and does so, as I believe, in some detachment from the anatomical anomalies tied to the conception of tribade. 7. For a recent uncovering of sapphic texts see, for example, Donoghue; and Wahl. 8. My choice to focus in this chapter on England, undertaken in keeping with the project of this anthology, does not mean that the phenomena I am discussing are exclusively English ones. However, as my larger research project will explore, there were signi‹cant national and cultural differences in the construction of sapphism in the long eighteenth century, and England was arguably in the vanguard in the project to render sapphic bodies queer. 9. As I will discuss later, and as Traub also shows, the enlarged clitoris will ultimately get displaced from England to the geographical spaces of its empire. 10. See, for example, A Relation of the Life of Christina Queen of Sweden: with Her Resignation of the Crown, Voyage to Bruxels, and Journey to Rome. C., Whereunto is added, Her Genius. 11. On the construction of cross-dressed heroines as heterosexual, see Dugaw. On the Elizabethan stage, see Traub, “The (In)Signi‹cance of Lesbian Desire in Early Modern England.” 12. Flogging was by no means considered homoerotic in this period and was indeed the subject of considerable discourse; indeed, the Treatise was bound with a dissertation on the uses of ›ogging. 13. Regarding the alleged dif‹culties of intercourse when a woman has such a clitoris, Tim Hitchcock reports a 1693 case in which a man claimed that his former wife “knowing her in‹rmity ought not have been marryed: her in‹rmity is such that no man Can Lye with her, & because it is so she has wayes with women . . . wch is not ‹t to be named but most Ranke whoreish they are” (78). 14. For an astute discussion both of Parsons and of shifting constructions of the tribade, see Braunschneider. 15. Faderman is citing testimony of Allan Maconochie, Lord Meadowbank, serving as Lord Ordinary to the libel suit brought by Pirie and Woods. 16. Felicity Nussbaum, in a paper delivered at the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies in 1999, dates 1759 as the ‹rst use of normal in this sense. The Oxford English Dictionary dates common usage to 1840, though it also cites an early transitional usage in 1656. Both this 1656 example, in which normal is “right by rule,” and the ‹rst full Oxford English Dictionary citation, dated 1828, connect normalcy with superiority. It is thus perhaps no surprise, though a startling and dismaying choice at this historical moment, that the newest Oxford English Dictionary singles out “heterosexual” as a definition of normal. 17. I say “probable” anatomy because the suspicion of some secret anomaly in the sapphic—or lesbian—body does not really disappear even in the twentieth century. 18. For a more extensive discussion of this novel, see Woodward. It was Woodward who ‹rst brought The Travels and Adventures of Mademoiselle de Richelieu to the attention of modern scholars. For a contrary reading, see Lamb. For my discussion of both readings, see Lanser, “The Author’s Queer Clothes.”

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19. Very little is known about the reception of Mademoiselle de Richelieu, but the fact that Fielding’s publisher for The Female Husband, Mary Cooper, also published Mademoiselle de Richelieu suggests the possibility of Fielding’s familiarity with this work. 20. See Michael McKeon, “Historicizing Patriarchy.” Partly because of the source texts—especially the work of Randolph Trumbach—that he consulted, McKeon does not himself recognize sapphism as relevant to the emergence of patriarchy, although he does recognize the role of male homosexuality. For my own different view and for an elaboration of my argument that sapphism was an agent in creating heteropatriarchy, see my recent essay, “Sapphic Picaresque, Sexual Differences and the Challenges of Homoadventuring.” 21. I take up this question, and its intensely class-bound rami‹cations, in “Befriending the Body.” 22. Barnevelt may well be based on the eponymous heroine of a 1732 French text, the Memoires de Madame Barneveldt, which Aurora Wolfgang has kindly brought to my attention. 23. For a fuller discussion of sapphism in Belinda, see Moore. It is interesting, though perhaps only coincidental, to ‹nd in Belinda odd evocations of midcentury sapphic texts. Mrs. Freke’s ‹rst name, Harriet, is that of the heroine of Sir Charles Grandison. Belinda’s last name, Portman, suggests the “portly” bearing attributed to Miss Barnevelt. Lady Delacour is alleged to Harriet Freke to have moved to Twickenham, the place associated with female homoeroticism in Satan’s Harvest Home, where Freke herself immediately repairs. 24. The term also appears in Joseph Farington’s diary, a text mentioned by Trumbach, in which Farington refers to the sculptor and suspected sapphic couple Anne Damer and Mary Berry: “The singularities of Mrs Damer are remarkable—she wears a Mans Hat, and Shoes,—and a Jacket also like a mans—thus she walks abt. the ‹elds with a hooking stick.—Miss Berrys have changed the name of their house from Cliveden to Little Strawberry. The extasis on meeting, and tender leave on separating, between Mrs Damer and Miss Berrys, is whimsical. On Miss [Mary] Berry going lately to Cheltenham, the servants described the separation between Her and Mrs Damer as if it had been parting before death” (I:233–34, entry of Aug. 1798).

works cited Almanach des honnêtes femmes pour l’année 1790. Paris, 1790. Barker, Jane. A Patch-Work Screen for the Ladies. London: E. Curll, 1723. Bianchi, Giovanni. Breve Storia della Vita di Catterina Vizzani. Romana. Venice: Simone Occhi, 1744. Braunschneider, Theresa. “The Macroclitoride, the Tribade, and the Woman: Con‹guring Gender and Sexuality in English Anatomical Discourse.” Textual Practice 13:3 (1999): 513–36. Brooten, Bernadette J. Love between Women: Early Christian Responses to Female Homoeroticism. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996.

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Chamberlain, John. Letters of John Chamberlain. 2 vols. Ed. Norman Egbert McClure. Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, 1939, 2:287. Crawford, Patricia, and Sara Mendelson, “Sexual Identities in Early Modern England.” Gender and History 7.3 (1995): 362–77. Daston, Lorraine, and Katharine Park. “The Hermaphrodite and the Orders of Nature.” GLQ 1 (1995): 419–38. Reprinted in Premodern Sexualities, ed. Louise Fradenburg and Carla Freccero, 117–36. New York: Routledge, 1996. Donoghue, Emma. Passions between Women: British Lesbian Culture, 1668–1801. London: Scarlett Press, 1993. Dugaw, Dianne. Warrior Women and Popular Balladry, 1650–1850. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1989. Edgeworth, Maria. Belinda. 1801. Reprint, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994. Elfenbein, Andrew. Romantic Genius: The Prehistory of a Homosexual Role. New York: Columbia University Press, 1999. Faderman, Lillian. Scotch Verdict: Miss Pirie and Miss Woods v. Dame Cumming Gordon. 1983. Reprint, New York: Columbia University Press, 1993. ———. Surpassing the Love of Men: Romantic Friendship and Love between Women from the Renaissance to the Present. New York: William Morrow, 1981. Farington, Joseph, R.A. The Farington Diary. Ed. James Grieg. London: Hutchinson, 1923. Fielding, Henry. The Female Husband; or, the Surprising History of Mrs. Mary, Alias Mr. George Hamilton. London: M. Cooper, 1746. Foucault, Michel. The History of Sexuality. Vol. 1. New York: Random House, 1978. Halberstam, Judith. Female Masculinity. Durham: Duke University Press, 1998. Hic Mulier; or, The man-woman. London: printed for I.E., 1620. Hitchcock, Tim. English Sexualities, 1700–1800. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1997. Huet, Marie-Hélène. Monstrous Imagination. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1993. [Jacob, Giles]. Tractatus de Hermaphroditus; or, a Treatise of Hermaphrodites. Bound with A Treatise on the Use of Flogging in Venereal Affairs, by Johann Meibom. London: E. Curll, 1718. Jones, Ann Rosalind, and Peter Stallybrass. “Fetishizing Gender: Constructing the Hermaphrodite in Renaissance Europe.” In Body Guards: The Cultural Politics of Gender Ambiguity, ed. Julia Epstein and Kristina Straub, 80–111. New York: Routledge, 1991. King, Kathryn R. “The Unaccountable Wife and Other Tales of Female Desire in Jane Barker’s A Patch-Work Screen for the Ladies.” The Eighteenth Century: Theory and Interpretation 35 (spring 1994): 155–72. Lamb, Susan. “‘Be Such a Man as I’: Mademoisello Makes the Tour of Europe in Men’s Clothes.” Studies in Eighteenth-Century Culture 27 (1998): 75–102. Lanser, Susan. “The Author’s Queer Clothes: Anonymity, Sexuality, and the Travels and Adventures of Mademoiseele de Richelieu.” In The Faces of Anonymity 1500–1900, ed. Robert Grif‹n (London: Palgrave Press, 2002).

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Lanser, Susan. “Befriending the Body: Female Intimacies as Class Acts.” Eighteenth-Century Studies 32 (winter 1998–99): 179–98. ———. “Sapphic Picaresque: Sexual Difference and the Challenges of Homoadventuring.” Textual Practice 15:2 (November 2001): 1–18. Lister, Anne. I Know My Own Heart: The Diaries of Anne Lister. Ed. Helena Whitbread. London: Virago, 1988. Reprint, New York: New York University Press, 1992. ———. No Priest But Love: The Journals of Anne Lister from 1824–1826. Ed. Helena Whitbread. New York: New York University Press, 1992. McKeon, Michael. “Historicizing Patriarchy: The Emergence of Gender Difference in England 1660–1760.” Eighteenth-Century Studies 28 (Summer 1995): 295–322. Moore, Lisa. Dangerous Intimacies: Toward a Sapphic History of the British Novel. Durham: Duke University Press, 1997. Morton, Donald. “Changing the Terms: (Virtual) Desire and (Actual) Reality.” In The Material Queer: A LesBiGay Cultural Studies Reader. ed. Donald Morton, 1–33. Boulder: Westview Press, 1996. Onania; or, the Heinous Sin of Self-Pollution. 8th ed. London: Elizabeth Rumball, 1723. Parsons, James. A Mechanical and Critical Enquiry into the Nature of Hermaphrodites. London: J. Walthoe, 1741. A Relation of the Life of Christina Queen of Sweden: with Her Resignation of the Crown, Voyage to Bruxels, and Journey to Rome. C., Whereunto is added, Her Genius. London: printed by J.C. for Henry Fletcher, 1656. Richardson, Samuel. The History of Sir Charles Grandison. 1751. Reprint, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1986. Rizzo, Betty. Companions without Vows: Relationships among Eighteenth-Century British Women. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1994. Robert, James. A Medicinal Dictionary. London, 1741. The Sappho-an: An Heroic Poem of Three Cantos. London: Brasier, 1749. Sharp, Jane. The Midwives Book; or, The Whole Art of Midwifry Discovered. London, 1671. Straub, Kristina. Sexual Suspects: Eighteenth-Century Players and Sexual Ideology. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1992. Todd, Dennis. Imagining Monsters: Miscreations of the Self in Eighteenth-Century England. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995. Traub, Valerie. “The (In)Signi‹cance of Lesbian Desire in Early Modern England.” In Erotic Politics: Desire on the Renaissance Stage. ed. Susan Zimmerman, 150–69. New York: Routledge, 1992. ———. “The Psychomorphology of the Clitoris.” GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies 2 (1995): 81–113. The Travels and Adventures of Mademoiselle de Richelieu. Cousin to the present Duke of that Name. Who made the Tour of Europe, dressed in Men’s Cloaths, attended by her Maid Lucy as her Valet de Chambre. 3 vols. London: M. Cooper, 1744. The True History and Adventures of Catherine Vizzani. London: W. Reeve, 1755. First published as An Historical and Physical Dissertation on the Case of Catherine Vizzani. London: W. Meyer, 1751.

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Trumbach, Randolph. “London’s Sapphists: From Three Sexes to Four Genders in the Making of Modern Culture.” In Third Sex, Third Gender: Beyond Sexual Dimorphism in Culture and History, ed. Gilbert Herdt, 111–36. New York: Zone Books, 1994. Wahl, Elizabeth. Invisible Relations: Representations of Female Intimacy in the Age of Enlightenment. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1999. Woodward, Carolyn. “‘My Heart So Wrapt’: Lesbian Disruptions in EighteenthCentury British Fiction.” Signs 18 (summer 1993): 838–65.

Claiming the “Sacred Mantle” the

MEMOIRS

of lætitia pilkington

Susan Goulding

V

ery near the beginning of the ‹rst volume of Lætitia Pilkington’s Memoirs, there is a line that—to an eye trained to see words of subversion from women authors—should jump off the page. Writing as one whose sexual indiscretions caused her to lose social and literary status, Pilkington avers, “‘tis ever allowed that the Losers may have leave to speak” (1:14). But they have not always been heard, and the line itself has been overlooked in discussions of Pilkington. The study of the Memoirs has focused largely on the work as an autobiography, as a “scandalous memoir,” and/or as a work worth reading because of what Pilkington has to tell us about the far-more-famous Jonathan Swift.1 Not solely memoir nor autobiography, not just anecdotes of Swift nor a convenient means of publishing her unsold poetry, Pilkington’s Memoirs is a complex illustration of how a woman accused of sexual transgression can transgress literary conventions in order to retaliate against delimiting codes of all sorts.2 Critics of earlier generations have not had much respect or use for Pilkington on her own—she has been variously described as “a curiosity,” a “hardened adventuress,” “a random little hack,” “a poetical mendicant,” “a vivacious chatterbox,” and “a very extraordinary cross between Moll Flanders and Lady Ritchie.”3 The last of these quotations is very telling: Virginia Woolf, classing Pilkington among the “Obscure,” evinces the principal dif‹culty that critics before and after her have had with the Memoirs: what is it, and how do we read it? Pilkington created a work whose genre has often stumped critics: she mixes autobiography, ‹ction, poetry, anecdote, and even polemic into a single work, leaving readers as unsettled and often as baf›ed as many of Swift’s readers. The Memoirs was even advertised along with John Cleland’s Fanny Hill; or, Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure in 1750.4 Accidental though such pairings may be, the works have some things in common: both employ the ambiguous “memoirs” in their titles and relate tales of innocent women corrupted and left to tell their stories as their only defense. But Cleland’s 47

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is explicitly ‹ctional, while Pilkington—incorporating ‹ction—claims truth. In the wake of Samuel Richardson’s Pamela, the “standard” for “virtue rewarded,” Pilkington’s Memoirs stands as a challenge to literary and social conventions because it claims the truth of experience, illustrating that virtue is itself a shaky ground for permanent judgment and that there are other standards by which women can be judged.5 To reward on the basis of “virtue” where literature is concerned, Pilkington shows, is to reward wrongly.6 While most critics have chosen to read the work as of a single genre or a combination of two, I offer a reading that confronts the complexity of the work’s genre as its most prominent—and transgressive—feature. The Memoirs is designed to unsettle and overturn conventional notions, literary and social. If the losers have leave to speak, Pilkington will speak volumes, constantly turning the tables to ask why and how the winners have won and including a demonstration of how forms—including literary forms—have served their efforts. Genres themselves have been winners and losers, especially for women writers. Pilkington’s own story shows the dif‹culty for a woman writer of publishing poetry with commercial success; prose ‹ction provided more opportunities for victory. Aware of restrictions imposed by public expectations of genre, Pilkington upsets the expectations assigned to genre because what she has to say does not ‹t the conventional forms available to her. Her literary transgression differs, though, from that of her contemporaries who turned to satire because it is rooted in her retaliation against those who would reduce her to her (reputed) sexual activity and because her use of quotation and allusion quite literally turns the words and forms of the dominant tradition back upon itself. Without a single suitable genre available, Pilkington turns to satire as a mode of expression. Dustin Grif‹n describes the ways in which satire can “infuse its spirit” into its host work “so as to create a strange hybrid” (Satire 3).7 A. C. Elias Jr., Pilkington’s modern-day editor, writes that the Memoirs “contain[s] a good deal of wit and satire” and that “even her own marital dif‹culties receive the satiric treatment.”8 Growing more and more disgusted with the world around her and its treatment of her, ‹nding that her disgust in‹ltrates her literary efforts, Pilkington allows satire gradually to “infuse its spirit” into her memoir, resulting in the “strange hybrid” that, in its entirety, is a sustained transgression of and challenge to the conventions of eighteenth-century women’s writing. Indeed, Pilkington poses a rhetorical question that is a foundation of her work: “Is it not monstrous, that our Seducers should be our Accusers?” (1:67) Of course it is, the reader is nearly forced to say; but the implications of this question, in all of the ways Pilkington demonstrates its answer, have yet to be explored fully. In the Memoirs, Pilking-

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ton repeatedly reverses conventional roles and undermines expectations in her effort to retaliate against those accusers and, indeed, to make them the defendants, unsettling formal expectations along the way in order to reassign blame and reveal the absurdity of the standards by which women were judged. Accused of adultery, Pilkington seeks to remove from literary tradition the limitations imposed by a model of chastity and the aspersions cast upon those women who did not ‹t the model.9 In the eighteenth century, a woman writer often was considered a prostitute, an equation that Pilkington necessarily addresses throughout her Memoirs. Within her defense of her character, she addresses the standards by which women—and women as writers—are judged by turning the standards back on the men who have excluded her. She knows what the public thinks of her character, and the near impossibility of altering what they consider to be facts. Instead, she looks to remove the importance of those “facts” and to subvert the notion that a female poet who is a prostitute (or even sexually promiscuous) is a bad thing.10 Pilkington was an Irish writer of the mid–eighteenth century whose contemporary fame—or infamy—stemmed from her having been “taken in the fact” (Swift, Correspondence 5:95) with a man in her bedroom at an “unseasonable hour” (Pilkington 1:88) while she was married to the Reverend Matthew Pilkington. The three volumes of her Memoirs were published over a period of six years, from 1748 to 1754.11 The ‹rst volume focuses on the major incidents in Pilkington’s life in Ireland and on Swift, whom she and her husband knew from about 1729 to 1738. The second volume describes her years in London, with Pilkington situated across the street from White’s Coffee House, in the midst of prominent political and social ‹gures. The third volume contains her return to Ireland (in poverty); concludes the anecdotes of Swift; and, upon her death, was completed by her son. Her poetry, which she could not sell by subscription, is interspersed throughout the volumes. The surface layer of her work serves her practical end: to make enough money to live on. While Aphra Behn has long been cited as the “‹rst professional woman author,” and there have been more recent discussions of the efforts of women to make their living by writing, little notice has been taken of the effort of Pilkington’s order.12 Pilkington tried to make money by selling poetry; she failed. She tried to make money writing pamphlets; she failed. She tried to make money as a ghost writer; although she had success, it was not enough. The only thing that would make her money, it seemed, was to tell her story. But not simply as a life’s story: she needed to stand above the crowd, and she needed, without question, to include the anecdotes about Swift (as well as those about

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Cibber and others). Those anecdotes made her credible: if she knew those famous men, and could offer such detail about their lives, there might be something to her work. She also needed to steep her work in literary tradition: there are over four hundred quotations or allusions in the Memoirs. Although Iris Barry hints that there might be importance to the number of quotations and “mysterious” and “secret allusions” (10, 22) in the work, there has been no sustained discussion of the technique that is the work’s most distinguishing feature and that further removes it from de‹nable generic categories.13 Early on, Pilkington draws attention to these quotations: I must beg my Reader’s Pardon for these numerous Quotations; but, as Swift says, “those anticipating Rascals the Ancients, have left nothing for us poor Moderns to say”: But still to shew my Vanity, let it stand as some sort of Praise, that I have stolen wisely. (1:88) Even in explaining her theft she steals: although she mentions Swift overtly, she does not cite Pope’s Preface to his translation of the Iliad, where he writes that without “Invention,” “Judgment itself can at best but steal wisely” (7:3). Pilkington shows herself to be no mere chronicler, indeed, no “random little hack,” but the creator of a work steeped in the conventions of literary tradition and seeking to challenge them. The quotations also separate Pilkington’s work from other “scandalous memoirs.”14 Although Charlotte Cibber Charke’s Narrative is also allusive, none of the other contemporary works approaches Pilkington’s in this regard. Even the placement of Lady Vane’s Memoir in Smollett’s Peregrine Pickle does not have the same effect as reading a quotation on nearly every page. The quotations and allusions ally her to male-dominated and male-de‹ned tradition: she refers freely to the works that represent it—from Shakespeare to Swift—in an effort to mock it and to reform it. The surface of the work—the facts of Pilkington’s life—presents the “mournfullest tale” (1:72), with her hope for exoneration: “and if he [her husband] does not acquit me, I am sure the rest of the world will” (1:206).15 But the deeper layer is her attempt to clear her name in the eyes of posterity by challenging contemporary standards. This does not mean—as many have read it to mean—that she wished to be exonerated for the “crimes” of which she was accused but rather that she wished audiences to see that these were in fact no crimes at all. Naming names and turning authorities on their heads (reducing even Swift to an old man “helpless as a child” [1:313]), Pilkington retaliates against the social and literary standards that limited her literary efforts because she was a woman and that labeled her a whore because she was indiscreet. If she

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would not be “acquitted” by a contemporary audience, she might nevertheless be recognized as an important literary ‹gure by a later audience willing to rate her efforts through standards other than those reliant on codes of sexual behavior. But Pilkington’s own description of the crucial event is a passage that stands out for this work and for its metaphoric implications for the eighteenth-century woman writer. Pilkington’s descriptions of the scenes from which her accusers draw their ammunition recontextualize the charges against her, not denying her offense but challenging the law under which she is tried. The immediate law was the social law; Pilkington’s case was cited in the newspaper and gave Mr. Pilkington the right to divorce her on the grounds of adultery.16 Pilkington’s relation of the incident, however, is the “loser’s” ‹nal word; it follows directly the passage with her lines about having “stolen wisely” and ought to be read with those lines in mind: At length the fatal Hour arrived, when Mr. P—-n’s Machinations wrought the Effect he so long desired, namely, my Destruction. . . . I own myself very indiscreet in permitting any Man to be at an unseasonable Hour in my Bed-Chamber; but Lovers of Learning will, I am sure, pardon me, as I solemnly declare, it was the attractive Charms of a new Book, which the Gentleman would not lend me, but consented to stay till I read it through, that was the sole Motive of my detaining him. But the Servants, being bribed by their Master, let in twelve Watchmen at the Kitchen Window, who, though they might have opened the Chamber Door, chose rather to break it into pieces, and took the Gentleman and myself Prisoners. (1:88)17 Most discussions of Pilkington have dismissed this episode lightly, as an obviously unbelievable story concocted to clear her name or possibly even to mock herself. Yet the story is central to her work: it confronts the experience of the woman writer, reconciling that experience to her credibility as an author. A close reading of the metaphors and language Pilkington uses reveals the connections she suggests between learning and seduction, as well as the effects of those connections upon women. The hour is “fatal” because the “destruction” of her reputation is a “destruction” of her credibility as a woman and, consequently, as a proper womanly author. Her indiscretion is to allow a man in her bedroom at an “unseasonable hour”; the impropriety of that action is in what it implies: a man is there for a sexual encounter. He could also be there, Pilkington suggests, to read a book. To outward appearances, however, it makes no difference—

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the implication, highlighted by her use of suggestive language set against the seemingly less likely possibility, is all that counts. Her appeal to “lovers of learning” answers the formal charges against her by shifting the ground to the possible excuse. The legal language (she does “solemnly declare”) reminds the reader that she was actually charged with adultery and that this is a formal defense, but now in a different court, with a judge whose standards include some consideration of literary matters. The “charms,” after all, are not of the person but of the book; the man stays because she cannot part with the book. The use of the book as seducer metaphorically illustrates the process that offers women some exposure to the world of letters but limits their access and ‹nally damns them as “indiscreet” when they attempt to gain entrance into that world. The woman who would read must “detain” the man who owns the book; when she “detains” a man, the episode becomes laced with the implication not only of sexuality but of sexual assertiveness. Her description of the event that labeled her as an adulteress stands as a metaphor for the relationship of a woman writer to literary tradition; it shows that the character of a woman writer—and consequently her literary credibility—will be destroyed by a male writer—in this case, her husband with his “machinations”—who wishes to entrap, dishonor, and ‹nally exclude her. In the case of her husband, the motivation is envy because Swift repeatedly preferred her writings to his. Her husband’s use of her sexual indiscretion as a weapon to ‹ght her in a literary battle encapsulates the practice of satires against women writers up to Pilkington’s day. These satires achieved their ends by making women who would write into sexual objects; Pilkington’s description of her entrapment seizes upon the satiric practice and mocks it. In telling her own tale, Pilkington recontextualizes such battles and removes them from the bedchamber into the literary battle‹eld.18 The story is not about the book or the man (neither is named) but about women and literature. A woman is at the mercy of the man who owns the book: he can lend it or not, can even decide whether she will read it at all. A woman writer is at the mercy of the men—like Swift, even like Edmund Curll—who dominate literary culture. Moreover, in a trade-off, she must compromise conventional standards for women by permitting the “gentleman” to stay in her bedroom at an “unseasonable hour” in order to attain the learning she wants.19 As a writer, she implicitly compromises standards for the category of “woman” by claiming the right to publish—to make herself public and to appropriate the right to write (an appropriation increased through Pilkington’s use of allusion and quotation). Such appropriation—even if “theft”—is a form of ownership. But men hold property, women do not; more deeply, men have access to learning and to knowledge that women can get only by suffering phys-

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ical punishment or, at the very least, the implication of sexual indiscretion.20 Pilkington’s language and metaphor move the sexual indiscretion out of the sphere of the factual event and into a sphere where learning itself has a sexual overtone and the book is identi‹ed with the lover, all to the “destruction” of the woman who would merely read. Pilkington also uses the episode to reverse roles. A reader, looking for defense against sexual indiscretion, might expect her to argue that the “gentleman” simply would not leave; instead, she presents a case in which her desire to learn is so powerful that she “detains” him. Her role is active, not passive, and her recounting of the incident is an act of de‹ance. Pilkington challenges the social law; she also challenges the literary law that debars women from the pen and holds literary tradition as an estate they cannot inherit. In the Memoirs, the woman reader becomes the woman writer, who, in drawing on her reading and refusing to be silenced, challenges the authority of cultural and literary expectation in, but not on, its own terms. Near the end of volume 1, after she has established her relationship with Swift and demonstrated (in quite concentrated form in the pages immediately preceding this relation) both her literary and historical credibility, she shows how unimportant such an episode should be and how worthy of mockery its instigators are; but the Memoirs as a whole also shows how detrimental it was to her. Her sexual indiscretion bars her from literary inheritance: she is Swift’s unacknowledged heir, even though “better quali‹ed” (1:33) to relate anecdotes of his private life and to carry on his literary tradition. Swift, after all, knew her, trusted her, considered her “corrigible” (1:54), and even took her suggestion to make Polite Conversation a dialogue (1:309).21 But, after she was “taken in the fact,” Swift joined public censure of her and called her “the most pro›igate whore in either kingdom” (Correspondence 5:95). In the original volume 2, Pilkington quotes Woodward, “a Player,” who assumed her voice in order to mock her. He would have Pilkington say, What, shall a Tumbler set me thus adrift, I, the Successor of immortal Swift? Pilkington’s response is evidence of her frustration at being excluded from the lines of literary succession: Oh that his [Woodward’s] words had been true! that he [Swift] had bequeathed to me the precious Legacy of his Wit and Learning Or that, when all sublim’d, he rose to Heaven, I had inherited his sacred Mantle. (1:182) But because the “sacred Mantle” cannot be hers—because she is a woman, because she was sexually indiscreet—Pilkington challenges the

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wearers of the mantle, the owners of the legacy, putting her accusers on public trial and declaring, “I have a right to choose the Weapons; a Pen is mine” (1:264). This declaration, like the lines about losers and about seducers and accusers, stands out. It not only signals Pilkington’s willingness to ‹ght her exclusion but also suggests her adoption of satire as the means for that ‹ght. Although a great deal of critical attention has been devoted to women as the objects of satire, it is only recently that they are receiving any attention as satirists. Margaret Doody writes that satire was viewed as “critical and aggressive” (Daring Muse 130) and thus inappropriate for women writers. To be critical was to question the standards of male authority (and thus threaten it), and to be aggressive (where publishing women were still often equated with prostituting women) was to be sexually aggressive, whorish. Women writers who wanted to be accepted in conventional terms would avoid satire. Others, though, avoided the appearance of satire and were more subtle, employing satire with a seemingly straight face. I argue that satire as a mode was available to women who were daring enough to attempt it and that for those who did attempt it, it formed the only mode of expression that could accommodate their subversions but still allow them to participate in existing literary tradition.22 Women writers who were excluded from tradition needed—to some degree—to subvert tradition. But they also needed to use and even ally themselves with tradition. In a male-dominated literary marketplace, women needed to seem to show a degree of deference to men. The exclusion of some, like Pilkington, was based on a behavior that violated a code based strictly on sex and gender expectations; just as her actions upset social expectations, her writing similarly upsets traditional literary expectations. While Swift might strike back as an Irishman, and Pope as a Catholic, Pilkington strikes back for being excluded from consideration as a serious writer simply because she could be called the “most pro›igate whore in either kingdom.” And what better way to strike back than by turning to a traditional form that inherently upsets tradition? To subvert means to turn from beneath; from beneath their location as objects, women who used satire attempted to overturn tradition, to participate in seeming degeneracy in order to expose the degeneracy of exclusion and standards based in codes of sexual conduct that applied to one sex only. Pilkington uses satire to destabilize existing frameworks (and her readers) to show that her transgression is no transgression at all. Presenting herself as a “loser” who needs to “give a taste” of the “wits” of her male predecessors in order to ‹ll out her three volumes (1:231), Pilkington appropriates their words to enhance the surface of her work and, at the

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same time, to demonstrate the seemingly corrupted frameworks into which the words of the men ‹t easily. The theft—of lines and of form— is itself a tool of satire; Pilkington’s allusions and quotations are a signi‹cant component of her satiric technique because they turn tradition upon itself.23 Through her use of quotations, Pilkington generates a role for the female satirist that “displays” her learning and enables her to challenge the limiting standards of male tradition by using the very words—and modes—of the writers of male tradition.24 Unknown but for her relationship to Swift and her public scandals, Pilkington capitalizes upon the former in order to demonstrate that her scandals are not serious literary matter and that she has the best claim to Swift’s satiric mantle.25 But Pilkington’s work is evidence that she needed to usurp not only the convention of the chaste woman writer but the ideology behind the convention; Pilkington’s satiric retaliation reverses the implications inherent in measuring a writer’s ability by her character. She repeatedly identi‹es her aims as pleasing and instructing. Grif‹n recognizes a “link between satirical and sexual pleasure” (Satire 173). If, as he writes, “the misogynist satirist seeks primarily to arouse male disgust and even to suppress or kill desire” (Satire 173), Pilkington, in her use of satire, may also be attempting to “arouse male disgust” in those who would satirize her by turning her words back on them. If a woman writer will be satirized on the basis of her sexual encounters, so should a male writer. In the descriptions of scenes in which sexual advances are made toward her, she ridicules those who think themselves gallant and in turn—by the very fact of recording and publishing these incidents—arouses their disgust. Well aware that she has entered a public forum, Pilkington uses that forum as a threat, offering to publish the “villainies” of those who have offended her if they do not subscribe to her work: “And if every married Man, who has ever attacked me, does not subscribe to my Memoirs, I will, without the least Ceremony, insert their Names, be their Rank ever so high, or their Profession ever so holy” (1:93).26 In the same way that Swift repeatedly seeks to expose hypocrisy through his own satire, unsettling his readers as they realize they are being charged, Pilkington seeks to unsettle her readers by charging them as the objects in her own satire. In unsettling them, she seeks to kill their desire—sexual and satiric—by showing them how ridiculous their actions look in cold print. But as a woman writer, she cannot simply turn the tables upon male writers because the same standards did not exist for them; instead, she calls our attention to the tables, the standards, challenging their validity and claiming her inheritance as a satiric heir of Swift’s. And as Swift relies on digressions, so does Pilkington. Forced to respond to accusations that she is ‹tter for the needle than the pen (see

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esp. 1:50), Pilkington weaves her own story together with the anecdotes of Swift and others much in the way that Swift weaves together the story of the brothers with the digressions in Tale of a Tub. She refers to digressions at least ‹fteen times, and repeatedly, she “resumes her thread” (usually with “sorrow” or regret), returning to the narrative of her own tale after regaling her audience with stories of Swift. But the “thread of irony” should not be lost; the digressions and narrative proper are all of a piece. There can be no sequence because the story Pilkington should tell—that of a woman worthy of social “acquittal” because she was not really indiscreet sexually—is precisely the story she will not tell; the forms in place cannot hold her story and need to be overturned. The apparent digression with which she begins the work illustrates the point. The story she tells is of Colonel John Meade, a relative of hers “bred to the law” (1:10).27 Sir Edward Seymour, a disinherited man, enlists Meade’s help to regain a legacy; Meade casually but masterfully wins the case for him. But the digression is no mere digression; it serves to de‹ne the purpose of the Memoirs: Pilkington is also going to court to reclaim her own legacy.28 She uses Meade as an example of what a representative should do for a client, but she has no such representative—she has only memory, invention, and a pen with which to display them. With the inheritance already settled, Pilkington embarks upon a satiric journey to show that the laws that categorize and debar her are irrelevant. In the Memoirs, the satires of others both irritate and incite Pilkington. One of Pilkington’s ‹rst literary efforts has its impetus in Swift’s satire.29 As the Dean, and after his Example, Mr. P—-n, were eternally satyrizing and ridiculing the Female Sex; I had a very great inclination to be even with them, and expose the Inconstancy of Men; and borrowing a Hint from a Story in the Peruvian Tales, I formed from it the following Poem. (1:39) Their satires lead her to write the poem “The Statues; or, the Trial of Constancy” (1:39–44), which proves men to be the inconstant ones. This reversal serves as a paradigm for Pilkington’s work: consistently, she retaliates against the satires that ridicule her by answering in kind and putting her accusers on trial. Her effort is “to be even with them”: to get back at them, to settle the score, but also to rank herself as their equal and engage in the ‹ght with the same weaponry. Pilkington employs satire gradually, manipulating it throughout the work. At ‹rst, before her authority is established and while she still has something to lose by overtly adopting a less than demure pose, she does not identify herself explicitly as a satirist. In volume 1, she writes “The Mirror” in response to “Strephon’s” request for a satire:

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Strephon, since my Skill you task, And so oft your Picture ask; . . . I who ne’er descend to ›atter, And abhor to deal in Satire, Have at length contriv’d a Way Your Resemblance to display. I have brought Truth’s polish’d Mirror, Which shall shew you ev’ry Error, And, as faithful Glasses do, Shall re›ect your Graces too. (1:71) She claims that she “abhor[s] to deal in Satire,” but “Truth’s polish’d Mirror” is itself part of the language of satire. The incident demonstrates Pilkington’s satiric technique—and her aims—in volume 1: satire may even be called for, but she, proper and seeking “acquittal,” claims to “abhor” it. Nevertheless, that is precisely what she has provided, reducing even the mighty Swift (often through his own words) to a peevish old man, while praising his literary efforts and claiming a place as his literary daughter. Her aim is to prove that she should not be excluded; public descriptions of and satires on her character have unfairly debarred her from serious literary acceptance. In return, she self-re›exively toys with the language of convention, turning its own words back on itself in order to reveal “ev’ry Error.” Pilkington’s satire becomes more explicit in the original volume 2; with more celebrity and less to lose, she is more concerned with revenge than the possibility of even seeming compliance.30 Compliance, she shows, has gotten her where she is. She quotes from Swift’s “Libel on Dr. Delany” in relating one of her ‹rst efforts at gaining patronage while in London. She sets herself up in a lodging across the street from White’s Coffee House, where she is in close contact with—but excluded from— literary and political society. “Having heard Mr. E—d W—p—le was a very humane Gentleman,” she wrote to him and he agreed to meet with her: I told him I had some Poems, which I intended to print by Subscription, and if he would do me the Honour of promoting it, it was all the Favour I desired.—He answered, if he undertook it, he should certainly neglect it; but however he would give me some Money; so he pulled out his Purse, and took out ‹ve Guineas: Would not any Person have then thought themselves sure of them? but according to the old Proverb, Many a thing falls out between the Lip and the Cup; the Gentleman took a second Thought, and put the Guineas in his Purse again, assuring me, it was not convenient for him to part with them. And, indeed, I believe he is a Beast

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without a Heart; for this is his constant answer to every Person, as I have frequently observed, when those whom he chose for Friends and Companions wanted but the smallest Assistance from him. So he For Poets open Table kept, But ne’er consider’d where they slept; Himself, as rich as ‹fty Jews, Was easy, tho’ they wanted Shoes. (1:131) Pilkington identi‹es Edward Walpole with Charles Montagu, ‹rst Earl of Halifax.31 Walpole/Montagu, however, is also Maecenas, a historical type of the patron, again moving Pilkington’s story beyond herself into an established historical and literary framework, again to show the shortcomings of those stock ‹gures.32 That framework here draws explicitly on one of Swift’s satires: without being directly satiric, Pilkington uses Swift’s lines to bring satire into her work without being thought the author of that satire. The identi‹cation makes Walpole a stock patron, seeming concerned but wholly unaware. But Pilkington does not leave it at that. Grif‹n writes that Swift’s imitation of Horace, epistle VII, book I, “contrives, in fact, to turn the tables on the patron by reasserting the client’s own power. That power consists in just saying no” (“Swift” 199). Pilkington concludes this scene, in which she is more truly violated than in the episode of volume 1, with an assertion of her power: “On this I arose, and told him, as I perceived it was not in his inclination to do me any Service, I would no longer take up his important Time, and civilly dismissed him (1:131). In dismissing him, as in detaining the “gentleman,” she assumes the active voice, says no, and “turns the tables” on him, both within and with the text. When “The Trial of Constancy” was printed, she sent two copies to Walpole, “who wrote me a letter of Thanks, and that was all: Mem. he owes me Two Shillings” (1:132). The patron is now in debt to the client; Pilkington has used satire here through allusion to “turn the tables” on an excluder, to the point where he is the one indebted to her. But often her own debts are bound within the allusive framework; where satire is involved, imitation is a way to use satire while not claiming full responsibility—nor owning a debt. Pilkington’s “Satyrick Dialogue” in the original volume 2 (1:151–55) is an imitation of Pope’s “First Satire of the Second Book of Horace Imitated.”33 In it, she defends satire as the only mode for the Poet despite the warnings and protestations of the Friend.34 But the protestations of the Friend have particular point when directed at a woman: satire is “the most dang’rous Province of the Pen; / Example more Discretion ought to teach” (1:151). Satire is more dangerous for a woman than for a man because it will likely mean imme-

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diate censure. Women should rely on the examples of discretion, but Pilkington’s example does not suit the model. Indeed, as the Friend encourages the Poet toward panegyric, the Poet’s mock panegyric strays from its original purpose and concludes, “He sells His Virtue to support his Pride!” (1:152). The Poet’s concluding lines also have particular application to Pilkington’s case: “A good Intention is the best Defence, / True Fortitude proceeds from Innocence” (1:155). Pilkington argues here for her own “good intentions”; her defense is not of her sexual innocence but of her intentions. She does not seek to malign those innocent of wrongdoing but to correct those who operate out of “malice” (1:154). And for this, she needs “true fortitude”: she has engaged in a ‹eld where even Pope met with the resistance of his friends. Pilkington’s use of satire becomes even more explicit toward the end of the volume: as she has been dealt with satirically, she will return the favor. She describes her meeting with the “L—d Ch——ll-r of Br——n,” when he “asked me if I would drink a Dish of Chocolate with him.” She was “surprized to ‹nd myself, though sunk in the most abject Poverty, sitting with so great a Man!” Again quoting Swift, she explains that her expectation had been a monetary reward for the poem she had written to him.35 Instead, “for my Labour, I got a Dish of Chocolate, which I now return, with the utmost Humility, to his L—d—p again” (1:198). Her note at the bottom of the page serves to clarify her meaning: “Mem. Chocolate, a Word used by a very eminent Comedian, one Mr. Foote, for Satire” (2:580).36 In returning the chocolate she is returning the satire, once again forcing a mirror in front of those whose actions seem to demand satire. Although it is a commonplace to launch satire against one’s critics, in Pilkington’s case the attack relies on allusion for support. At the end of the second volume is a mock exchange between Pilkington and a critic, in which she defends herself against the various accusations lodged against her on the basis of the Memoirs. In response to the accusation that she “shew[s] no Reverence, either to Ermin, Crape or Lawn,” Pilkington writes: O I really do, when the Wearers deserve them; but I hope you would not have me pay Homage to the Things themselves? Why then, I may go and kneel down to all the Goods in the Shops, because as the Author of The Tale of a Tub, says, in them we live, move, and have our Beginning. (1:253) Alluding to Swift’s well-known satire, Pilkington makes her case explicit: “This is but a Retaliation, they were the ‹rst Aggressors” (1:253). The mock exchange satirizes both contemporary criticism and the basis upon which it rests, particularly for a woman writer who has violated social

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and literary codes. She is accused of what male writers have done for centuries and defends herself with the words of one of those writers. The satiric hints of the ‹rst two volumes become explicit, though, at the beginning of the original third volume. Satire, Pilkington makes clear, is her overt aim: My Word I have ever held sacred. I cannot, like a certain Female Writer, say, I hope if I have done nothing to please, I have done nothing to offend; for truly I mean to give both Pleasure and Offence: Lemon and Sugar is very pretty. I should be sorry to write a Satire which did not sting, nor will I ever write a Panegyrick on an Undeserver. (1:263) We have already seen that there are no “deservers” of her panegyric; all that is left for her is satire, and it will sting. Pilkington refuses the limitations of the sugar and forces the lemon of her satire upon those who have shown her only bitterness. The overt nature of the satire in the third volume is at once a mark of her own authority and of her own desperation. The ‹rst two volumes established Pilkington’s relationship to Swift and others, but they brought her little money; she returned to Ireland in poverty. In the end, she had little to lose in a direct expression of satire. The work’s most self-conscious statement is in the ‹rst fourteen pages of the third volume. Near the end of the section, Pilkington answers a critic much in the way that Swift presents his conclusion to Tale of a Tub, drawing again on a speci‹cally satiric model. She writes: While I, the Cream of Historians, Mirror of Poets, worthy not only the bays but the laurel for mighty conquerors for my signal victories, proceed in my true history, which take as follows, the genuine successor of Cid Hamet, and immortal Swift: Thus much may serve by way of Proem Proceed we now to tale or poem. (1:267) Here, near the end of her life and the end of her work, Pilkington quotes the “Verses on the Death of Dr. Swift,” promising the “tale or poem” yet to come. In the conclusion of Tale of a Tub, Swift has “one concluding Favour, to request of my Reader; that he will not expect to be equally diverted and informed by every Line” (209, emphasis mine). At the end, both writers look ahead as though it were the beginning, inverting order and upsetting expectations.37 To achieve her end, or that which will ward off the consequences of the end, Pilkington identi‹es herself as the “successor” to Swift, “immortal” by his own efforts, efforts she emulates. But she also identi‹es herself with Cid Hamet, the chronicler of Don Quixote’s adventures.38 Cid Hamet, though, is the ‹ctional creation of

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Cervantes. Pilkington identi‹es herself as “successor” to an “immortal” and to a ‹ctional creation, blending historical (Swift) with legend (immortal) and ‹ction (Hamet). But more than that, Don Quixote is a work of satire, and with this “hybrid” of fact and ‹ction, memory and invention, Pilkington claims a place in satiric tradition.39 She is a female adventurer, with all of the social implications but, from her pen, with new literary ones. In her use of satire, Pilkington refuses the conventions of passivity that would have her be judged under the laws of convention, literary and social, and instead makes herself the judge of others. She is no literary prostitute, regardless of her character; rather, she is an adventurer in literary traditions, a viable participant capable of questioning—even with satire—the heart of the tradition that has excluded her. The fact of her exclusion, though, repeatedly complicates her motives, demonstrating on page after page that a woman writer claiming a male legacy was in an inherently vexed position. The presence of Swift aptly illustrates this: explicitly, Swift is her mentor; implicitly, he is a target of her retaliation. He is a representative of male tradition who identi‹es her and limits her by sexual character, and she seeks to reduce him as she had been reduced (she claims that Swift, in fact, referred to her as “her serene Highness of Lillyput” [1:309]). But she also elevates him: he is at once a “Struldbrugg” (1:313) and the “Angel of Ireland” (1:36); she is at once the object of his satire and his protégé. Near the end of the third volume, though, her satire against him—and her satire overall—is clear. She believes “too much learning had turned his [Swift’s] head, or too deep a search into the secrets of nature,” and quotes John Dryden to establish madness as a sign of wit: Great wit to madness sure is allied, And thin partitions do their bounds divide. (1:317) A distinguishing feature of most of the accounts of Swift’s last years was and continues to be an overwhelming concern with his reputed madness. Pilkington here quotes Dryden seemingly in defense of Swift in a demonstration of her unique understanding of the alliance between his madness and his wit. But the quotation is from the description of Achitophel in Absalom and Achitophel, and it is ironic.40 Pilkington uses it, then, both to assert a special understanding of Swift and, at the same time, to retaliate satirically through the original context of the lines. Like Swift himself, Pilkington here uses satire to throw the reader off balance. Was Swift the “Angel of Ireland” or a satanic ‹gure? Or simply a wretched old man? Was he purely mad, or was his madness a sign of his great wit? And was his great wit in fact devilish? Pilkington ensures that we are

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never con‹dent or comfortable; only she, the “better quali‹ed,” can know for certain. In the force with which Pilkington asserts both sides of her relationship to Swift, she is a nearly paradoxical combination of satirized writer trying to strike back and literary descendant trying to inherit the “mantle.”41 She is at once devoted and rebelling in a sustained challenge to the conventionally accepted modes and models for a woman writer. Seidel writes that “satiric activity is paradoxical by its very nature. . . . He [the satirist] violates to offer violation” (17). The model here clearly should not be limited to the male: in the Memoirs, Mrs. Pilkington the author answers her critics by striking back in ways that Mrs. Pilkington the character cannot, employing the single literary mode that means subversion and usurpation but that is her only means to claim a literary legacy. Swift, like Pilkington, led a less than perfect personal life. Swift was entitled to be celebrated for his literary efforts, his satire seeming to derive in part from what was objectionable in his personality. Pilkington claims the same right. But the situation cannot be more paradoxical: Pilkington needs to denigrate Swift satirically and praise him admiringly; she needs to “violate” conventional codes in order to “offer” her own “violations” as more than mere “trespasses,” as the weighted efforts of a serious writer. The early eighteenth century saw the entrance of the woman writer into the literary marketplace in large numbers, but that entrance was itself quali‹ed by the accepted role a woman’s character played in determining her literary credibility. Pilkington holds up a satiric mirror to the commercial literary marketplace in order to make its inequities blatant to all and to put those very standards on trial. Without a representative to speak for her or a form in which she can speak directly, Pilkington refuses to be limited to the defensive posture expected of and forms of expression allotted to a woman writer. Instead, she makes herself “both Plaintiff and Defendant,” af‹rming, “Why, sure I have a Right to it” (1:253). notes 1. Relke sees the Memoirs as “a process of self-creation”; “in shaping her memoirs like a romance, Mrs. Pilkington subverts both memoir and romance forms in order to compensate for the inadequacies of both” (132). Nussbaum and Spacks are also more concerned with the work as an example of autobiography. See Brant (esp. 242–44) for another challenge to the term “scandalous memoir,” and see Doody for a discussion of Swift as “liberator” for the “number of Irish women writers [who] were attracted into Swift’s orbit” (“Swift among the Women” 70, 90). Barry writes that Swift “can never have dreamt that a part of what posterity knew of him would ‹lter through Letitia” (2). And although Murray writes that

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“we owe to her some of the few glimpses we have of Swift in his habit as he lived,” he also writes that Stella “would have saved him” from the “blunders” of “taking Mrs. Barber and Mr. and Mrs. Pilkington under his wing” (464). And Ehrenpreis, among others, cites her powers of memory: “she had a most extraordinary memory, and has proved reliable wherever I could verify her facts—except for natural evasions concerning her shady liaisons” (3:367). 2. For discussions of female autobiography, see Benstock; Jelinek; Smith; and Stanton. For discussions of eighteenth-century female autobiography, see especially Nussbaum; and Spacks (esp. 57–91, 158–92), who include Pilkington in their studies. Nussbaum importantly recognizes the dangers of applying a generic term or ideology anachronistically (see esp. 1–29); that recognition leaves the memoir as a form ripe for study in its own right. 3. Ponsonby 297 (title), 301; Barry 22; Cibber 5:320; Williams 117; Woolf 4:129. 4. See General Advertiser, 8 Mar. 1750. See also Wagner’s introduction to Fanny Hill. 5. See also Relke (134). 6. See especially the section of volume 1 where Pilkington describes an attempted seduction by a “Gentleman” aboard ship: Who this same Gentleman was, may, in due Season, be reveal’d: I can only assure my Readers, that, had I accepted of the Offers he made me, Poverty would never have approach’d me, as he was a Man of Honour, or at least appear’d to me as such: A Man of Fortune he certainly is; and I doubt not but he has enjoy’d many a lovely Lady, without promising them any Reward, or offering Settlement for Life, as he really did me. (1:117) 7. “When satire takes over another literary structure, it tends not just to borrow it . . . but to subvert it or . . . to alter its ‘potential’ and . . . to direct its energies toward alien ends” (Grif‹n, Satire 3). 8. See Elias, “Male Hormones” (13). Elias focuses his essay on the attractions—and sexual power and danger—of wit in women, writing, “if wit gives women special power over men, the rogue hormone in wit seems to owe something to the masculine” (11). Elias’s edition of the Memoirs (University of Georgia Press, 1997) is an impressive work and an invaluable tool for scholars and teachers. His introduction provides a solid overview of the work, although one may be troubled by the amount of space he spends upon the questions, “Did she or didn’t she? How active was she sexually, and with whom?” (l) His conclusion to this section seems much more important: “In the ‹nal analysis, her sex life or lack of sex life should not really matter” (liv). 9. Pilkington recognizes Madame Dacier and Katherine Philips as the only women who “deserved the name of Writer” (1:227); Constantia Grierson also has works “worth reading” (1:228). She addresses Philips and asks her to “inspire me” (1:228). Clearly, though, she does not claim to be an heir to Philips (the circumstances of her life, and her decision to utilize them for the Memoirs, ensure that). See also Nussbaum, who analyzes the development of paradigms of female character through “spiritual typologies” (187–89). 10. Barry even seems to suggest that she might have been better off as a pros-

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titute: “had she been more of the adventuress and less of the muse she might have ›ourished exceedingly—women of no better kind did so” (11). 11. See Elias, introduction (xvi–xvii, xxvi–xxvii). 12. See especially Gallagher; and Turner. However, as I argue, neither work suf‹ciently accounts for the complex relationship between women writers and the dominant literary tradition nor for efforts like Pilkington’s. 13. See also Elias, who indicates that “she quotes from memory—a generally remarkable memory at that” (introduction xxii). 14. Including works by Teresa Constantia Phillips, Charlotte Cibber Charke, and Lady Vane. For discussions, see especially Nussbaum (178–200) and Spacks (71–91), as well as Brant. 15. Pilkington, according to Nussbaum, is here “appealing to the reader as judge and jury” (193). 16. Jerrold and Jerrold (310) quote the February 1738 Dublin Evening Post as announcing: Last Tuesday (Feb. 8) came on in the Spiritual Court the Trial of Mrs. Letitia Pilkington, alias Van Lewen, for adultery with Mr. Adair, which being fully proved, sentence of divorce was pronounced by Dr. Trotter, Vicar General of the Diocese, and Judge of the Consistorial Court. 17. Elias also points out that “readers . . . surely would have expected something more serious.” He singles out the way “she shifts the focus away from herself” to the ridiculous watchmen and her husband (“Male Hormones” 13). 18. In a description of Pilkington that seems to me to fail to acknowledge the complexity of Pilkington’s relationship to literary tradition, Relke writes that “the Memoirs are an attempt to appropriate the male weapon of the written word and turn it back upon the ‘Villains who have wronged’ Laetitia” (135). Relke also sees prostitutes as “doubles” for Pilkington (141). 19. See Nussbaum: Pilkington “enacts the cultural expectation that reading leads to female downfall” but also “revels in the power of the published word” (193). 20. “Twenty times a Day have I been corrected, for asking what such and such letters spelt; my Mother used to tell me the Word, accompanying it with a good Box on the Ear” (1:13). And, Swift was “a very rough sort of Tutor for one of my Years and Sex; for whenever I made use of an inelegant Phrase, I was sure of a deadly Pinch” (1:45). 21. See also Elias’s note on 699–700. 22. Michael Seidel’s Satiric Inheritance stands as an example of a critical work on satire that could be applied to women authors: arguing for the “degenerative” nature of satire, Seidel traces its development as both “descendant and descendent,” a form whose “generic laws subvert tradition” (263). But Seidel’s model is based in a framework dominated by male writers, disregarding the literary and social experiences of women writers. To date, there has not been a comprehensive study of women satirists, particularly of the eighteenth century (itself associated clearly with satiric forms). Such a study seems needed now, as more and more examples of women who de‹ed the social strictures

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against satire—indeed, for whom satire was the only means of honest and meaningful expression—are beginning to be discussed. Pilkington provides what I argue is a crucial example, but more work needs to be done. 23. See Grif‹n’s description of an aspect of Menippean satire in which satirists “ask that we observe and appreciate their skill” as “scholarship becomes spectacle” (Satire 73, 74). See also Seidel, who describes the “satiric act” as a “kind of trespass”; “satire possesses purloined territory” (14). What Seidel writes of Rabelais may also hold true here: “multiple authorities mock the very idea of true authority” (69). 24. See also Nussbaum, who describes the efforts of “female memoirists” to “usurp the language of the oppressors,” writing that Pilkington’s Memoirs “are intimately connected with canonical eighteenth-century literature” (37, 178). But Nussbaum does not draw out the implications: the “oppressors” not only de‹ne Pilkington but de‹ne her as satiric object. In “usurping” their language, Pilkington “usurps” their satire as well. 25. Seidel writes that, to the satirist, “inheritance becomes usurpation (181). 26. She even seeks redress from her husband’s mistress: “As this Lady was, I may say, the principal Cause of a Separation from the Parson and me, I thought I had a Right to demand a Subscription from her” (1:110). 27. In his Essay on the Life, Writings, and Character of Dr. Jonathan Swift, Deane Swift writes that Swift’s uncle Godwin’s “fourth and last wife” was “Ellinor, the sister of Sir John Meade. . . . His character you may read at large in the ‹rst volume of Mrs. Pilkington’s Memoirs” (16). Thus, it is possible that Swift and Pilkington were very distantly related. 28. See Relke (124–25) for another discussion of this episode. 29. See also Doody, who writes, “the effect of Swift’s humor is not to silence the woman but to force her into utterance” (“Swift among the Women” 72). 30. See Elias, introduction (xxx). 31. Pilkington also identi‹es herself, implicitly, with Congreve. See Swift, Poems (405): Thus, Congreve spent, in writing plays And one poor of‹ce, half his days; While Montagu, who claimed the station To be Maecenas of the nation, For poets open table kept. Like Congreve, Pilkington makes it seem that she “took proper principles to thrive” but did not thrive. 32. There are also a number of allusions to Horace in the Memoirs. 33. See Pope, Poems (4:1–21). Pilkington’s literary and biographical relationships to Pope are problematic. Clearly, she attempted to denigrate him in the Memoirs; the “Oxford Scholar” cites Pope’s characterization of her husband as her motivation (1:17). Pilkington also includes a comparison between Milton and Pope, in which Milton is the clear victor (1:266). Her dislike of Pope was probably based in biographical incidents, but she nevertheless does refer to him as a model of sorts, especially when

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asked if anyone ever made a living as a writer (1:196). And like Pope, she “Lisp’d in numbers” (1:13). 34. It is also a claim to literary property: a male author had identi‹ed himself as the poem’s author. See 1:150–51. 35. Here she quotes Swift in order to designate the character of the poem, as well as her own retaliatory intention: In another Reign, Change but the Name, ‘twill do again. (1:197) 36. See also Elias, “Male Hormones” (n. 14). 37. For relevant theoretical discussions of narrative and ending, see especially Brooks; and Kermode. 38. Pilkington might also be alluding to Swift’s “The Virtues of Sid Hamet’s Rod” here, where Sid Hamet is Lord Sidney Godolphin. See Rogers’s note in Swift, Poems (637). Godolphin “Reverses what the Prophet [Moses] did.” The overriding allusion—based on the “Cid” spelling—is to Don Quixote. 39. Another possible model for Pilkington’s Memoirs is Memoirs of the Extraordinary Life, Works, and Discoveries of Martinus Scriblerus. Kerby-Miller, in his edition of the work, cites Don Quixote as a primary source: “The Scriblerus project was built on the same situation as Don Quixote” (317; see also 68–69). 40. See Dryden 2:10. Dryden’s Absalom and Achitophel is a metaphorical re›ection of the succession crisis in England. Achitophel is “the ‹rst” of the “strong bands” who vie for power. The imagery used with the name, however, also links Achitophel with Satan (Achitophel is, e.g., “A Name to all succeeding Ages Curst . . . A ‹ery Soul, which working out its way, / Fretted the Pigmy Body to decay” [2:10]). 41. Her ‹nal words about Swift illustrate the point further: ‘Tis mine, O honoured Shade, to celebrate thy Goodness, without extenuating thy Faults; I deal impartially, which is the true Task of an Historian, and I would inscribe thy Tomb-Stone, were I permitted; but without Characters, Fame lives long. Thine will last, while Wit and Genius are admired in this sublunary Globe. However disagreeable it may be to me, I ‹nd I must prosecute my own History. (1:317) “Without characters, Fame lives long” recognizes the separation between life and writings. A writer’s works, left to stand, will live long; but introduce the writer’s character, and fame is threatened. Pilkington is debarred from the ‹nal act of inscribing the tombstone because of her own character. The worth of Swift’s writings established, she introduces his character to show that character should have no bearing on considerations of “Wit and Genius.”

works cited Barry, Iris. Introduction to Memoirs of Mrs. Letitia Pilkington, by Lætitia Pilkington, 1–24. New York: Dodd, Mead and Company, 1928.

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Benstock, Shari, ed. The Private Self: Theory and Practice of Women’s Autobiographical Writings. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1988. Brant, Clare. “Speaking of Women: Scandal and the Law in the Mid–Eighteenth Century.” In Women, Texts, and Histories, 1575–1760, ed. Clare Brant and Diane Purkiss, 242–70. New York: Routledge, 1992. Brooks, Peter. Reading for the Plot: Design and Intention in Narrative. New York: Vintage Books, 1985. Charke, Charlotte Cibber. A Narrative of the Life of Mrs. Charlotte Charke (Youngest Daughter of Colley Cibber, Esq.). Written by Herself. 1755. Reprint, Gainesville, Fla.: Scholars’ Facsimiles and Reprints, 1969. Cibber, Theophilus [Robert Shiels]. The Lives of the Poets of Great Britain and Ireland. 5 vols. London, 1753. Doody, Margaret. The Daring Muse: Augustan Poetry Reconsidered. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985. ———. “Swift among the Women.” Yearbook of English Studies 18 (1988): 68–92. Dryden, John. The Works of John Dryden. Gen ed. H. T. Swedenberg Jr. 20 vols. to date. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1956–. Ehrenpreis, Irvin. Swift: The Man, His Works, and the Age. 3 vols. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1962–83. Elias, A. C., Jr. Introduction to Memoirs of Laetitia Pilkington, by Laetitia Pilkington, 1:xv–lxii. Athens and London: The University of Georgia Press, 1997. ———. “Male Hormones and Women’s Wit: The Sex Appeal of Mary Goddard and Laetitia Pilkington.” Swift Studies 9 (1994): 5–16. Gallagher, Catherine. Nobody’s Story: The Vanishing Act of Women Writers in the Marketplace, 1670–1820. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994. General Advertiser. London, 1750. Grif‹n, Dustin. Satire: A Critical Reintroduction. Lexington: The University Press of Kentucky, 1994. ———. “Swift and Patronage.” Studies in Eighteenth-Century Culture 21 (1991): 197–205. Jelinek, Estelle C. The Tradition of Women’s Autobiography: From Antiquity to the Present. Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1986. Jerrold, Walter, and Clare Jerrold. “Letitia Pilkington: Swift’s ‘Insolent Slut.’” In Five Queer Women, 276–346. London: Brentano’s, 1929. Kerby-Miller, Charles, ed. The Memoirs of the Extraordinary Life, Works, and Discoveries of Martinus Scriblerus. New York: Oxford University Press, 1988. Kermode, Frank. The Sense of an Ending: Studies in the Theory of Fiction. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1992. Murray, John Middleton. Jonathan Swift: A Critical Biography. New York: The Noonday Press, 1955. Nussbaum, Felicity. The Autobiographical Subject: Gender and Ideology in Eighteenth-Century England. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1989. [Oxford Scholar]. The Parallel; or, Pilkington and Philips compared. London, 1748. Phillips, Teresia Constantia. An Apology for the Conduct of Mrs. Teresia Constantia Phillips. 3 vols. London, 1748–49.

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Pilkington, Laetitia. Memoirs of Laetitia Pilkington. Ed. A. C. Elias Jr. 2 vols. Athens and London: The University of Georgia Press, 1997. Ponsonby, Lord. “Letitia Pilkington (1712–50)—A Curiosity of Literature.” English 1.4 (1937): 297–306. Pope, Alexander. The Poems of Alexander Pope. Gen ed. John Butt. 11 vols. London: Methuen, 1939–69. Relke, Diana M. A. “In Search of Mrs. Pilkington.” In Gender at Work: Four Women Writers of the Eighteenth Century, ed. Ann Messenger, 114–49. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1990. Seidel, Michael. Satiric Inheritance: Rabelais to Sterne. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1979. Smith, Sidonie. A Poetics of Women’s Autobiography: Marginality and the Fictions of Self-Representation. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1987. Spacks, Patricia Meyer. Imagining a Self: Autobiography and Novel in Eighteenth-Century England. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1976. Stanton, Domna C. “Autogynography: Is the Subject Different?” In The Female Autograph, ed. Domna C. Stanton, 5–22. New York: New York Literary Forum, 1984. Swift, Deane. An Essay upon the Life, Writings, and Character of Dr. Jonathan Swift. 1755. Reprint, New York: Garland Publishing, 1974. Swift, Jonathan. The Complete Poems of Jonathan Swift. Ed. Pat Rogers. London: Penguin Books, 1983. ———. The Correspondence of Jonathan Swift. Ed. Harold Williams. 5 vols. Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1963–65. ———. A Tale of a Tub. Ed. A. C. Guthkelch and D. Nichol Smith. 2d ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1973. Turner, Cheryl. Living by the Pen: Women Writers in the Eighteenth Century. New York: Routledge, 1992. [Vane, Frances Anne, Viscountess]. The Adventures of Peregrine Pickle in which are included Memoirs of a Lady of Quality. Ed. James L. Clifford. Rev. PaulGabriel Boucé. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1983. Wagner, Peter. Introduction to Fanny Hill: or, Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure, by John Cleland, 7–30. New York: Penguin, 1985. Williams, Harold. “Swift’s Early Biographers.” In Pope and His Contemporaries, ed. James L. Clifford and Louis A. Landa, 114–28. 1949. Reprint, New York: Octagon Books, 1978. Woolf, Virginia. Collected Essays. 4 vols. 1925. Reprint, New York: Harcourt, Brace, and World, 1967.

Elizabeth Carter’s Self-Pun-ishment puns, pedantry, and polite learning

Juliet Feibel

D

espite her renowned critical acumen and love of classical literature, Elizabeth Carter was reputed to have no great regard for satire. Her nephew, Montagu Pennington, assures us that Carter, upon reading Alexander Pope, did not believe that vice was ever much depressed, or virtue elevated, by the efforts of any Satirist. One reason for which she hints . . . [is] that all satiric writers of every age and country extol those who are their friends, or their own party, while they hold up to ridicule and abuse not only those who are really vicious, but all those who differ from themselves. (Carter, Memoirs 84) This polite but pointed response to Pope’s arrogant satire ‹ts well with the literary reputation of Carter promoted by her contemporaries. Her literary career and public character helped establish the possibility of a pious and virtuous woman writer, an unimpeachable ‹gure held to be utterly unlike previous generations of racy authoresses who shamelessly wrote for money and public prestige. Carter’s highly visible “Ode to Wisdom,” published conspicuously in Clarissa; the famously patronizing remark made by Samuel Johnson that praised both her puddings and her Greek translations; and her Memoirs, written and edited by Pennington, construct an authorial ‹gure that Pennington, at least, considers “truly feminine” (Carter, Memoirs 103): pious, domestic, and aloof from worldly concerns and “vicious” cavils of satire. A brief piece of prose by Carter, however, contradicts this irreproachable authorial image. Her Proposals for Printing by Subscription a Most Useful and Curious Work, Entitled THE WHOLE ART AND MYSTERY OF PUNNING (1742–44) is a satire in the form of a mock proposal for the publication by ‹ve female pedants of a ‹fteen-volume treatise on punning.1 This piece not only belongs to the Augustan satiric tradition she reputedly disliked but also illustrates one of Carter’s attempts to de‹ne herself within the heavily masculinized world of classical scholarship. This “jeu 69

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d’esprit,” as Pennington condescendingly calls it, uses satire as a playful but necessary form of self-discipline. Rather than satirize others, Carter turns her satire onto herself as a corrective measure designed to form a socially respectable identity as a classical scholar. Although she lacks the university degree representing the rigorous education reserved for males, Carter playfully demonstrates to herself and her readers that she, too, can suffer the humiliation and agony considered integral to a classical education. I shall show that The Whole Art satirizes puns as a feminine form of language and as evidence of pedantry. In mocking both puns and herself as a scholar, Carter’s unusual foray into satire works to de‹ne herself as a properly respectful and respectable classical scholar. As a classical scholar of the mid–eighteenth century, Carter was faced with a peculiar academic problem: whether to conduct “modern” scholarship or to rely on more traditional, “ancient” methods for studying the classics. Thanks largely to Swift, we know this era in the history of ideas as the “Battle of the Books,” in which classical scholarship was understood to belong either to the philological and archaeological school of the “Moderns” or to the reverenced tradition of the Ancients, the urbane, “polite education” that held classical literature as a sacrosanct source of moral and political guidance. In a broad sense, one could use one’s Greek and Latin either to appreciate the classics as handbooks for social leadership or to criticize them scienti‹cally with the new methods that were, in the hands of such ‹gures as Richard Bentley, rapidly changing classical scholarship. The choice was not only scholarly but social.2 The Whole Art and Mystery of Punning demonstrates Carter’s choice to style herself along the lines of the Ancients, adapting the classical tradition most viable for a woman scholar. Carter’s only possible role model as a female Greek scholar, Madame Dacier, was herself of the school of the Ancients (Levine 136). The Ancients’ accusations that the Moderns were rude, arrogant pedants, and their assertion that their own classical learning was polite, respectable, and properly modest, help us understand what was at stake for Carter as a woman and a classicist. As depicted in Dryden’s translation of Juvenal’s Sixth Satire, a female pedant was “the greatest” “of all the plagues” of womankind, a veritable monster of learning (575). The clear cultural injunction against a “booklearned wife” (576)—not to mention the forbidding of rhetoric to women in the ridiculed ‹gure of a “mood and ‹gure bride” (593)—posed Carter with an apparent choice between feminine politeness and classical education. Claudia Thomas argues that Carter’s feminine, pious Christianity allowed her to achieve both (143). I add that Carter’s construction of a literary self within an “Ancient” model of classical scholarship encouraged male authors to accept her as a polite scholar, despite her gender.

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The Whole Art and Mystery of Punning is a satiric exercise necessary to the commencement of her translation of Epictetus. i. puns The Whole Art brie›y proposes the publication of a ‹fteen-volume treatise on punning, written by a group of female pedants, “Mrs. A__ B__ S__,” “Mrs. S__ L__,” “Mrs. E__ B__,” “Mrs. E__ C__,” and “Mrs. E__ H__.” As historic ‹gures, none of these people are identi‹able, except for Mrs. E__ C__, who appears to be Elizabeth Carter herself. Mrs. A__ B__ S__ is the author of the work, and the preface is written by Mrs. S__ L__, who is an expert not only on puns but also on “conundrums” and the “acrostick”; her expertise is attributed to her “travels among the libraries of the Boeotians, Croatians, Laplanders, Crim Tartars, and other polite and ingenious nations” (463). Mrs. E__ B__, “a student in ‹ne speeches,” writes the postscript, and Mrs. E__ H__ writes the appendix. Mrs. E__ C__, appropriately enough, writes the dedication. Carter uses no other personal details to depict these characters: their recognizable form as female pedants, accompanied by summaries of their absurd knowledge, suf‹ces for description. In form and content, The Whole Art imitates the satires and writings of some of the most prominent literary ‹gures of Augustan England: Joseph Addison; Alexander Pope; and, most prominently, Jonathan Swift. The gesture of a satiric proposal itself clearly derives from Swift and his delight in theoretical plans for intellectual “projects,” as in the list of “Treatises Wrote by the Same Author” in A Tale of a Tub, which includes “A general History of Ears” and “A Panegyrical Essay upon the Number THREE” (264). Likewise, her satiric vision of pedantry originates in the mad narrator of A Tale of a Tub. The Swiftian pedant, like Carter’s cabal of female pedants, generates a ceaseless ›ow of worthless criticism that Carter describes as “corrections, re›ections, observations, annotations, alterations, mutilations, restorations, commentations, and obscurations” (463)—endless verbiage that feeds on an unfortunate text and saddles it with an impossible weight of pedantic commentary. The Whole Art also partakes in the well-worn tradition of mocking punsters and their puns. In neoclassical literary criticism, punning is considered a weak, foolish, and lowly form of wit. Puns, in proportion to their presence in the language, occupy an overly large place in late seventeenth- and eighteenth-century critical discourse. Swift wrote not only “A Modest Defense of Punning,” in response to a satire against puns that was most likely written by Pope, but also the longer and more extensive Ars Punica. I believe Carter had read Swift’s Ars Punica: her imaginary school of female pedants, industriously studying nonsense, recalls a sim-

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ilar vision in the Ars Punica. Swift’s in›uence, however, appears most clearly in Carter’s diction regarding puns. At the conclusion of the Ars Punica, Swift adds an advertisement for “a ‹nall Treatise of Conundrums, Carriwhichits, and Longe-Petites, together with the Winter-Fire’s Diversion; The Art of making Rebus’s” (emphasis mine). He also uses the word “carrywhitchit,” in a variant spelling. Carter picks up on Swift’s diction when she describes “the rise, progress, and perfection of a carrywitchet, together with a learned and elaborate dissertation of rebusses and conundrums” (emphasis mine). Pennington footnotes “carrywitchet,” explaining that “of this word the Editor knows neither the derivation, nor the meaning. It was probably some cant expression in use at that time.” I suggest that Carter’s anachronistic use of the word results from her reading of the Ars Punica. Swift was joined in his mockery of puns by many of his contemporaries. Addison employed an entire Spectator (no. 61) to identify puns as “false Wit.” Pope and Dennis, critical archenemies, agreed that puns were lowly and used them as ammunition against each other. Pope mocked them in both The Dunciad and Peri Bathos. In “Letter To a Friend,” dedicated almost wholly to the subject, Dennis (who was himself known to pun, especially about Pope) accused Pope with great vehemence of punning in The Rape of the Lock, of which Pope was in fact guilty. Many of the most serious critics of punning indulged themselves in it nonetheless. Two of the “greatest” English authors, Shakespeare and Milton, punned with immense delight. Dr. Johnson believed, as we shall see, that Shakespeare’s puns were the greatest ›aw in his plays (273). Those ancient writers upon whom neoclassical literary criticism based itself were not themselves terribly concerned about puns. Aristotle, in The Art of Rhetoric, does not distinguish true puns as a separate form of metaphor; he only cautions the user of such devices to make sure to direct them to an appropriate audience who would be likely to appreciate the humor. Quintilian, who takes a slightly more critical stance, merely calls a pun “a poor jest” and, after recounting many successful and delightful puns, rests content to warn his reader against them (487). William Guthrie, who translated the Institutio Oratoria in 1751, apparently felt that Quintilian’s stance against puns was not strong enough. He adds a cautionary footnote to Quintilian’s warning, saying that “the low Manner, here taken Notice of by our Author, ought to be very carefully handled” (II.293). Other forms of plays on verbal resemblance equally disliked by classical writers—homoeoteleuton, for example—did not generate the same vehement and proli‹c criticism as puns did in neoclassical discourse. Since the neoclassical dislike of puns is not especially classical in its origins, we need to ‹nd the motivation of the impassioned criticism and

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satire against them. A few reasons suggest themselves. First, puns were considered a weak form of rhetoric in that they direct attention away from the subject at hand: Quintilian contrasts “the highest gifts” (maximis viribus) of “straightforward eloquence” and the “circuitous and indirect methods [that] are merely the refuge of weakness” (423). Second, puns, especially in Shakespeare criticism, were considered to be the mark of low social status. Frequently used in sexual language, they were part of “bawdy” or “low” humor. This association explains their use as the primary evidence in many cases of violations of decorum; Addison’s greatest complaint about Shakespeare’s puns is that Hamlet speaks in them, thereby using low rhetoric totally inappropriate to a royal tragic hero (316). Many of the puns in Swift’s Ars Punica work from the assumption that puns are a low-class form of rhetoric. These puns work off of the occupational vocabularies of tradesmen and apprentices. Rule twentyseven, “The Professionary Rule,” concerns puns on one’s livelihood; recalling Pope’s assertion from The Dunciad that “he that would Pun, would pick a Pocket” (354), Swift imagines the arrest of a pickpocket in the public square and the proper responses from tradesmen: The Bookseller, Bind him over. The Saddler, Pummel him. The Farmer, Thrash the dog. (18) The Ars Punica itself is a joke on social protocol. It consists of thirty-four rules about how to pun politely, while puns, to put it simply, are never polite and never genteel. But these mockeries give no original reason for the low status of puns. The logic is tautological: puns are low because they have always been low. To understand the speci‹c quality of puns that so disturbs neoclassical criticism, we need to examine how a pun works. In structuralist terms, puns allow one signi‹er to point to two signi‹eds: two meanings for one word. In other words, puns split signi‹cance: the word splits and doubles into two meanings. Although both must be present, neither meaning is permanent; to a neoclassical critic, puns hint at the slippery possibility that no meaning is stable and lasting. Punning was often compared to the splitting of a bird’s tongue, after which it sings twice as much, as the ›ow of meaningless babble is doubled.3 In Swift’s prefatory verses to his Ars Punica, he imitates the original two-sexed human described by Aristophanes in Plato’s Symposium. Swift describes the mythological birth of a pun as a double-sexed creature whom Jove eventually splits with a thunderbolt in an attempt to silence it. Unsurprisingly, the “Thing” merely “PUNN’D as much again” (56–57), as Jove relates to Pluto:

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And ever since, your Men of Wit, Until they’re Cut, can’t PUN a bit. So take a Starling when ‘tis Young, And down the middle slit the Tongue, With Groat or Sixpence, ‘tis no matter, You’ll ‹nd the Bird will doubly chatter. Upon the whole, dear Pluto you know, ‘Tis well I did not split my Juno! For had I done’t when e’er she’d scold me, She’d make the Heavens too hot to hold me. (60–65) Jove seems to have considered “splitting” Juno with one of his thunderbolts when she last scolded him, but he realizes that, like the bird’s tongue, her scolding might be doubled. Thus Swift links the double language of a pun with the volubility of a woman. The “splitting” of a woman, arguably visible in her genital structure, doubles her garrulity just as the splitting of a word into a pun doubles its signi‹cance. Johnson’s famous description of “quibbles” in Shakespeare also genders puns as feminine: A quibble is to Shakespeare, what luminous vapours are to the traveler; he follows it at all adventures, it is sure to lead him out of his way. . . . It has some malignant power over his mind, and its fascinations are irresistible. . . . A quibble is the golden apple for which he will always turn aside from his career, or stoop from his elevation. A quibble, poor and barren as it is, gave him such delight, that he was content to purchase it, by the sacri‹ce of reason, propriety and truth. A quibble was to him the fatal Cleopatra for which he lost the world, and was content to lose it. (273) With its solemn repetition of syntax, Johnson’s warning portrays Shakespeare and his works as a tragic example of the inability of a masculine author to resist a pun and its feminine temptations. The sexual process by which Shakespeare is ruined by puns is progressive and subtle, beginning with gender-neutral comparisons to “vapours” and “malignant power.” But in the comparison of Shakespeare to Atalanta and her golden apples, Shakespeare is feminized in his inability to keep to his course when distracted by the pretty bauble of a pun. In the next sentence, as Johnson moves from description to warning, the gender roles shift again, as Shakespeare and puns are aligned with Marc Antony and Cleopatra. The sonorous, sermonlike tone emphasizes the necessity to resist the pleasures of the pun; the bewitching temptations of such luxury are made “other” to the masculine author. The “fatal” seduction of Cleopatra, an Eastern temptress, ruined Marc Antony, but Marc Antony actively sought her

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out “at all adventures.” Such feminine deviance and luxury must be made foreign to the masculine community that is, in theory, destroyed by it (Williams 23–24). By analogy, puns are not an inherent part of Shakespeare’s authorship; he had to “turn aside from his career, or stoop from his elevation” to permit their seduction and his own ruin. Boswell constructs Johnson’s literary character as properly resistant to the feminine temptations of punning. The pun that Boswell inaccurately claims to be Johnson’s only such lapse occurs when Johnson goes shopping for a new “pair of silver buckles, as those he had were too small.”4 We stopped again at Wirgman’s the well-known toy-shop, in St. James’s-Street, at the corner of St. James’s-Place, to which he had been directed, but not clearly, for he searched about for some time, and could not ‹nd it at ‹rst; and said, “To direct one only to a corner shop is toying with one.” I suppose he meant this as a play upon the word toy: it was the ‹rst time that I knew him to stoop to such sport. (404) As if it were “the moving Toy-shop” of Belinda’s heart in “The Rape of the Lock” (I.100), the feminine desire for silver buckles leads Johnson astray and into punning. Frustrated by the elusive shop and by the triviality of his own quest—Boswell records his grumpy negotiations with the clerk—Johnson can only express himself by condescending to a pun, used scornfully as the appropriate curse to such a feminine endeavor. Boswell expresses Johnson’s anxiety over the event by assuring the reader that the purchase of silver buckles was not Johnson’s idea: “Probably this alteration in dress had been suggested by Mrs. Thrale, by associating with whom, his external appearance was much improved” (404). Encouraged by a woman in this endeavor, Johnson allows himself to be feminized not only by a new concern with outward appearance but, more importantly to Boswell, by the lowly “sport” of a pun. Diogenes’ great pun on the word pupil, the most famous pun of classical antiquity, hinges upon a feminine subject. Swift relates the anecdote as a mock precedent for punning and, following his own “Rule of Retaliation” (that one pun must always be followed by another), heaps his own pun on top of that of Diogenes: Didymus (not Didymus the Commentator upon Homer, but a famous Rake among the Ladies of Athens) having taken in hand to cure a Virgin’s Eye that was sore, had this Caution given him by Diogenes. Take care you do not corrupt your Pupil. The word cora signifying both the Pupil of the Eye and a Virgin. (Ars Punica viii) This anecdote is related ‹rst by Diogenes Laertius in his Lives of the Philosophers, a work well known and often quoted by Carter. For Dio-

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genes’ pun to function as he intended, the Greek word should have been corh (korë): this word indeed signi‹es both a young female virgin and the pupil of the eye. But Swift cannot leave the pun as it is and, to create another Greek pun, substitutes a similar word in its place. He explains this exchange as unavoidably erroneous typography. We are so unfortunate in this kingdome, not to have Greek Types suf‹cient for such an undertaking: For want of which I have been put to the necessity in the word, Kora, of writing an Alpha for an Eta. Swift’s new pun shifts between korë and, for the reader well versed enough in Greek to recognize the joke, chora. As Julia Kristeva notes, Plato’s use of the term chora (kwra) in the Timaeus signi‹es the “receptacle,” the “nurse of all Becoming,” the elemental feminine “space” that can be “likened to plastic material,” constantly shifting into new and changing forms (Plato 56). This nonentity “appears to possess different qualities at different times” only as it is “changed and diversi‹ed by the things that enter it.” In itself, it cannot be said truly to exist. In its eternal shifting and lack of a true existence, the chora is strikingly akin to Pope’s concept of the “Character” of women, “Matter too soft a lasting mark to bear” (“Epistle II” 3); neither the chora nor the female character has any signi‹cance in itself.5 The clumsiness of Swift’s setup to his pun on korë and chora results from his insistence that the reader get the joke: in its constant shifting from one meaning to another, a pun is a verbal chora, an “ever-moving semblance of something else” (Plato 61).6 The neoclassical anxiety over puns thus results from an apprehension of puns as a feminized, disruptive force that must be controlled in order to maintain a stable language. As a weak and lowly form of rhetoric, puns connote effeminacy: a feminized ‹gure, unlike the maximis viribus of “straightforward eloquence” (Quintilian 423). When Quintilian proposes that rhetorical ‹gures resemble the various positions of a body (351), one can imagine what kind of body a pun represents. By necessity, it would be feminine and multiple: in the words of Irigaray’s description of female sexuality, a pun, “always at least double, goes even further: it is plural” (28). Worse, a pun is also “poor and barren,” as Johnson terms it. While the true threat of a pun is its multiplicity, the accusations leveled at it generally involve its lack of meaning, its refusal to generate any important signi‹cance. Like Cleopatra, a pun is a whore, a sexual object who can never appear as a mother. Punning is a form of unproductive labor. Unlike the singular signi‹cance of “straightforward eloquence,” puns require a form of literary control that Carolyn Dinshaw calls “reading like a man,” whose purpose is

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to impose a structure that resolves or occludes contradictions and disorder, ful‹lls the need for wholeness. It is to constrain, control, or eliminate outright the feminine—carnal love, the letter of the text—in order to provide a single, solid, univalent meaning ‹rmly ‹xed in a hierarchical moral structure. (51) In neoclassical criticism, this literary control of the unstable feminine takes the form of vehement and repeated attacks against punning. The authors of the critical treatises, by disparaging punning, establish themselves as free from such effeminacy. By grappling with this slippery and dangerous topic and implying that they have exorcised the worse form of “false Wit” (Addison’s phrase) from their own language, they place themselves outside the reach of criticism. Carter’s career as a translator offers further reasons for her choice of puns to establish her own literary authority. Whether or not the reader suspends his belief in Swift’s “real” authorship, the name of the author of Ars Punica, Tom Pun-Sibi, informs us that he both satirizes and “puns himself.” The awkward translation between English (“Pun-”) and Latin (“Sibi”) necessary to get this joke reminds the reader of the linguistic connections between puns and translation. Since a pun depends for its humor upon a sound coincidentally shared by two different words in a single language, it is extremely unlikely that two different languages will share such an aural similarity. Addison explains earnestly that translation of any “piece of wit” into another language will betray a pun: “if it bears the test you may pronounce it true; but if it vanishes in the experiment you may conclude it to have been a pun” (319). Two languages cannot share a pun. On the other hand, Swift suggests that “Punning is Free of all Languages” (Punica 19) and can move freely from Latin to French to English; he is, in fact, theoretically correct. A pun shifts the meaning of one word onto another; it is part of the concept of metaphor that Quintilian calls translatio (348–51). The act of translation substitutes one language for another, just as a pun substitutes one meaning for another. Thus a pun may be imagined as translation within a single language. Carter’s own translations resist any temptations to substitute one meaning for another. In her Epictetus, she decided to leave as many technical terms in the original Greek as possible, since “every new Expression would have been apt to raise a new Idea.” She apologizes for the resulting “Uncouthness” of “a Translation pretty strictly literal,” but this apology is a modesty trope: she is justi‹ably proud of her ability to differentiate between her own interpretations and Epictetus’s original meanings (Epictetus xi). When Carter adds her voice to the criticism against punning, she does not attempt to masquerade as a man in literary discourse. Instead, she

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establishes that her language, too, is free from weak rhetoric and uncontrollable meaning. That these ›aws are constructed as feminine only increases the necessity of her proclaiming her freedom from them. To this extent, we can understand Carter’s satire as an unusually loud assertion that she, too, is one of the boys and would never, ever pun herself. Unlike Swift’s Ars Punica, The Whole Art is free of puns. At the same time, the fantasy premise of the piece depicts a subversive community of female pedants quite happily engrossed with studying la langue féminine of puns and, worse, expecting to earn quite a bit of money at it. The gusto, if not the mere existence of the piece within Carter’s writings, indicates an undeniably mischievous delight in the scenario she depicts. She is both author and object of the satire, an explicit blurring of boundaries that a more conventional satirist like Pope would never have dared to make. In the end, the piece denies the division between masculine satire and feminine wordplay; its humor depends upon both. ii. pedantry Carter’s satire has another subject matter other than the linguistic qualities of puns and other forms of false wit such as “circumlocution”; “conundrums”; and Addison’s other great foe, the “acrostick” (463). The satire concerns itself primarily with the female pedants who attempt to defend the pun in their proposed works. When she mocks the design of the authors “to lay down rules, to divide, subdivide, compound, recompound, decompound, rack, torture, strain, and quodlibeti‹cate any word into a pun by nineteen several ways of false spelling” (463), she mocks not so much their puns as she does their pedantry. Methodological attention to such trivial details as spelling was the mark of a pedant, as illustrated by Pope’s hilarious portrayal of Lewis Theobald, Richard Bentley, and Martin Scriblerus earnestly debating the proper spelling of “Dunciad” (I.1). Carter attacks the phenomenal amounts of painful labor required for this kind of useless “learned lumber,” to use Pope’s phrase, in both the image of herself as subsisting “entirely on dust and cobwebs,” employing “incredible pains and industry” to create an entirely specious dedication (464), and by the agony suffered by language at the “rack, torture, and strain” of her female pedants. The pedant, like the pun itself, uses language laboriously and pointlessly, exerting the greatest amount of energy to say the least. Punning was more explicitly linked to pedantry by the ostensible enemies of the latter.7 No less a ‹gure than Richard Bentley, an irascible scholar who embodied, for his enemies at least, the arrogant pedantry of the “Moderns,” was accused of punning. In the last few years of the seventeenth century, Bentley had employed philological methods to disprove the authenticity of the Epistles of Phalaris, sparking the Battle of the

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Books in England. Swift includes Bentley in the Ars Punica as a famed English punster: Let any Man but consult Bentley’s Horace, and he will see what useful Discoveries that learned Gentleman has made by the Help of this Rule. (21) While there are no glaring puns in Bentley’s edition of Horace, the suggestion that he might include them in the pages of the most sacred ancient writer is telling. Addison bewails the eventual return of the pun to acceptable taste at a time when “pedantry and ignorance shall prevail upon wit and sense” (318). Puns and pedantic annotation share a similar reputation for being extraneous, useless, and tasteless. Unsurprisingly, the aesthetic qualities of such ornamental language were gendered feminine. An alumnus of the Westminister School, the educational grounds for gentlemen of polite learning, remembers that the students were “strictly forb[idden] the Use of Notes, and for our Greek and Latin authors, we had nothing but the plain Text in a correct and chaste Edition” (Felton 48). Like “straightforward eloquence,” the “plain Text” implies that the language of the ancient writers expresses its exemplary meaning entirely on its own terms. Annotations, like puns and other weak “ornaments in discourse” (Addison 317), corrupt the “chastity” of the text. The sarcasm in Swift’s description of Bentley as a “learned Gentleman” points to another element in the eighteenth-century construction of pedantry. In the “Digression Concerning Critics” from A Tale of a Tub, Swift sneers at the working-class status of a pedant: A True Critick is a sort of Mechanick, set up with a Stock and Tools for his Trade, at as little Expence as a Taylor; and . . . there is much Analogy between the Utensils and Abilities of both. (316) The Biographia Britannica of 1747, a relatively unbiased source of information about Bentley and his circle, describes Bentley’s father inaccurately as “either a Tanner, or a Blacksmith, at Wake‹eld” (734). William King describes his conversation with Bentley in terms of class distinctions: “I thought we were talking of Books in the way of Scholars, whereas He answers me like a Bookseller; and as if he dealt in MSS, instead of Reading them” (136–37). Pedantry is a professional trade that pro‹ts off of the classics, while the disinterested appreciation of such literature is the mark of a gentleman.8 When Carter mocks puns as “wellbred conversation,” she points to the subtle signi‹cances of social class in literary studies. The pedantry of Carter’s female punsters is, quite notably, for sale. Polite appreciation of classical literature, on the other hand, was carried out in the name of moral and political guidance, with-

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out monetary pro‹t.9 Alexander Pope’s Moral Essay exempli‹es this pose, especially in the “Epistle to Bathurst” and the “Epistle to Burlington,” in which Pope, in the guise of Horace, encourages his friends toward greater public efforts on behalf of England. As Claudia Thomas observes of Carter’s poetry, Carter’s prose adopts and adapts Pope’s language to her own purposes. Carter invokes Pope’s authorial presence in The Whole Art to support her satire of professional pedantry. As a proposal for printing, the satire points to the growing institutionalization of literature and the resulting class divisions within literary culture. A proposal for subscription demonstrates the necessity for books to participate in a market economy: unlike patronage, subscription requires many monetary transactions and a dependence upon the general reading public. The closing of Carter’s satire paraphrases a couplet from Pope’s “Epistle to Bathurst” describing a man’s estate lique‹ed by his son into a destructive river of money: In lavish streams to quench a Country’s thirst, And men and dogs shall drink him ‘till they burst. (Pope, Poems, 177–78) Carter’s pedants promise to furnish their reading public with a similarly unstable and dangerous ›ow of language: The sweet nepenthe of nonsense in such copious streams, as to water the face of the whole earth; so that men, women and children, may suck it in, and drink till they burst. (464) Carter’s lines share in Pope’s simultaneous dread of and participation in a mercantile literary economy, where language is bought and sold like any other commodity. Subscription held an uneasy place between Grub Street and the aristocratic patronage system; as Ian Watt describes it, subscription required one to turn one’s friends into publishers instead of patrons (19). Much like Carter’s own social status, subscription maintained a middle ground between quickly disappearing aristocratic institutions and the growing swell of what Pope and Swift perceived as hack writers, hopelessly mercantile in their dullness. Swift himself was secretary to Sir William Temple, one of the most prominent defenders of a polite, gentlemanly tradition of classical scholarship. In Swift’s role as executor of Temple’s literary estate, in both a practical and a public sense, his early career may have seemed to Carter one of the last vestiges of patronage. Pope, on the other hand, took the relatively new institution of subscription by storm. Through dedicated marketing of both himself and his Iliad, Pope made an unprecedented ten thousand pounds and permanently ensured his lit-

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erary and personal independence (Mack 266–72). In the publication of her Epictetus, Carter followed Pope’s example in both publishing by subscription and achieving success. Before the undeniable success of her translation, however, Carter was reluctant to undertake a subscription. As Pennington writes: To that mode of publishing, however, she had strongly objected, and considered it in the light of laying a tax upon her friends; and therefore she positively refused to mention it to any person whatever. Even her father’s advice . . . could not get the better of this delicacy. (Carter, Memoirs 141) Pennington interprets Carter’s anxiety over the prospect of her friends purchasing her writing as resulting from her feminine “delicacy,” an abhorrence of public economic transaction, not to mention monetary transactions between the friends who were likely to subscribe, that even “her father’s advice” could not overcome. Yet her paraphrase of Pope’s “Epistle to Bathurst” suggests that her anxiety resulted less from feminine “delicacy” than from a polite dislike for professionalized literature, a dislike summed up neatly in King’s opposition of “Scholar” to “Bookseller.” “Mrs. E__ C__,” in a gesture imitative of Swift’s dedication to Lord Somers in A Tale of a Tub, lampoons the combination of servility and monetary greed that characterizes the writer for hire. For the person kind enough to serve as dedicatee of her work on punning, she has extracted a quintessence of all manner of good qualities, which are now offered to any person, who will take the greatest number of subscriptions. (464) Like puns themselves, this study of them is promiscuous, available to “any person” who can provide suf‹cient money for its purchase. The ‹fteen volumes of The Whole Art and Mystery of Punning, “in folio, on ‹ne imperial paper,” are outrageously expensive at two guineas apiece; this price doubles the one guinea per volume asked by Lintot for Pope’s Iliad (Mack 266). Carter’s satiric publisher also acts as a wholesale merchant, informing the potential subscriber that “proper allowances shall be made to such as take them by the hundred to send abroad” (462). Lique‹ed by the ›ow of monetary transactions, the “copious streams” of this “nonsense” will indeed “water the face of the whole earth” (464). While personal reservations may have certainly played a part in Carter’s reluctance to publish her Epictetus, her self-presentation within public and private literary circles relied heavily on the distinction between a polite classicist and the scholar for hire who prostitutes her learning.

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iii. polite abuse and self-punishment Above all, by satirizing herself in The Whole Art, Carter enacts the institutional experience of achieving a classical education. Perhaps the most notable aspect of a traditional classical education was the cruel physical discipline that was exercised on the student, most often by the whip, or “ferule.” For Carter and her contemporaries, the whip of the classics master was associated most conspicuously with the famous rod of Dr. Richard Busby at Westminister School in London, the same teacher who insisted upon a “correct and chaste Edition” of the classics. “Flogger Busby” apparently believed that corporal punishment was the most effective way of learning Latin (Winn 41), a sentiment quite common to eighteenth-century educators. Roger de Coverly spoke most admiringly of Busby: Dr. Busby, a great Man! he whipped my grandfather; a very great Man! I should have gone to him myself if I had not been a Blockhead; a very great man! (Quoted by Levine 54) The birch was only one of the physical hardships involved with acquiring a classical education: students were required to assemble at extremely early hours; lived under constant supervision by proctors; and suffered very strict rules of behavior, often including conversation only in Latin (Ong 5). Separated from mothers and sisters and living almost entirely among other boys and men, the male student, in theory, would develop a strong sense of a masculine community of classical letters (Williams 38–39). After enduring the physical and emotional hardships of a classical education, students would be then rebuilt into men of “polite learning.” The process was generational: a father, or the father ‹gure of a Latin master, would subject his son to severe discipline, enabling him to turn obedience, resignation, and love into meritous achievements (Williams 34). As indicated by de Coverly’s regret for being a “Blockhead” and his inability to take his proper place underneath Busby’s whip, the process of becoming a man of “polite learning” requires a position in this symbolic chain of fathers. Each generation disciplines the next to inculcate proper respect for one’s elders and for the ancient writers. The ‹gure of the pedant, however, lacks this generational respect: the charge of bad manners that rested upon pedants resulted primarily from their arrogance and lack of respect for their superiors. King describes a pedant as an “irreclaimable Usurper,” who will never be convinced that the “Ferula is not a Scepter, and his Habit the Imperial Purple” (4). Although he himself wields the ferule, the pedant himself has not bene‹ted from its lashings. He attempts to usurp an authorial position

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belonging rightfully to his elders; he has not yet learned the lessons of obedience and respect necessary to “polite learning.” King writes: Good Education was formerly believed a rational and sure Method to soften Men’s Tempers, and to take the edge from their Passions; and he who had not sacri‹ced to the Graces was hardly allow’d any Pretensions of Acquaintance with the Muses: But of late a Sett of Men are started unwiser than their Forefathers, who scorn to tread in the Old Paths, who covet By-ways never walkt in before. (1–2) The distinctions made by King rest upon social ranks, not upon knowledge. As if classical education were a drawing room, those visitors who have not suf‹ciently “sacri‹ced” themselves to social “Graces” have no grounds for their “Pretensions of Acquaintance” with classical learning. King’s sarcasm contrasts pedantic education with polite education; whatever else he may know, the pedant did not acquire the “Good Education” required to soften his “Temper.” Without the paternal discipline of a polite education, the pedants disregard the ways of their “Forefathers” and attempt new methods of attaining knowledge. For King, the fact that these paths have never been “walkt in before” proves that they never should be. Philological and archaeological methods, some of the distinguishing marks of pedantry, undermine the importance of the “Old Paths.” Such pedantry threatens to upset the status quo of classical learning.10 Clearly the ‹gure of a pedant, overturning the values of his “Forefathers,” required corrective action at an earlier age. The discipline of a Busby-style education, in theory, would have inculcated obedience and respect in the student of classics and insured his immunity from the arrogance of pedantry. But literary satire presents itself as the ideal substitute for physical discipline for the pedants suffered by a gentleman each day. In his Spectator on punning, Addison tells his reader, “If we must lash one another, let it be with the manly strokes of wit and satire” (318). In the disciplining of a pedant, the symbol of false wit and false knowledge, satire substitutes for the whip of a Latin master. Like the hardship of a classical education, the “manly” corrective power of satire forms an obedient, respectful, and polite scholar instead of an upstart pedant. In The Whole Art, Carter turns her satire on herself, symbolically enacting the rite of passage into the gentlemanly world of classical knowledge. In relation to her professional career, the piece functions as a harsh correction intended to cure herself of any “natural” tendencies toward pedantry. As a woman, Carter could not attend Westminister or Oxford and establish herself as polite through submission to a Latin master. While she was educated by her father, his pedagogy was of a gentler style than Busby’s. In fact, the pain and hardship of Carter’s classical

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education were entirely self-induced. Pennington explains that “her unwearied application injured her health, and probably laid the foundation of those frequent and severe head-aches” (Carter, Memoirs 6); she suffered from an almost complete lack of physical exercise (Carter, Memoirs 71–72). Carter also deprived herself of sleep. In order to prolong her studies, “which she frequently protracted during great part of the night,” she took snuff, to which she became painfully addicted (Carter, Memoirs 6), and resorted to more drastic measures “to keep herself awake, to the great injury of her health.” Pennington records that besides the taking snuff, she owned she used to bind a wet towel round her head, put a wet cloth to the pit of her stomach, and chew green tea and coffee. (Carter, Memoirs 15) She arranged an elaborate system with the village sexton to pull a packthread, threaded through a crack in her window to a bell by the head of her bed, to wake her up between four and ‹ve each morning, an hour earlier than that suffered by the students at Westminister (90–91). The Whole Art and Mystery of Punning re›ects these self-corrective measures. Lacking a disciplinary ‹gure to insure her “polite learning,” Carter must turn her wit against herself to establish the credentials of her own scholarship. Without the evidence that she, too, has suffered in her education, her writings are more vulnerable to critical dismissal. When she mocks herself and her fellow female writers as pedants, the worst of all monsters, and as devotees of a disparaged and feminized form of rhetoric, she promotes the group as a whole to the elite realms of those who have been suf‹ciently abused and may now aspire to true politeness. Her satire against puns is, in the end, a self-pun-ishment. The Whole Art, thoroughly indebted to the writings of Swift, Pope, and Addison, bids for a place among the polite and witty writers of a generation before, whose perceptions of a classical education remained current. That generation’s public battles over how classical knowledge should be conducted seemed to have been won by the proponents of polite, gentlemanly learning, at least in the circles where manners mattered more than digammas (Levine 84). Elizabeth Carter’s classical scholarship re›ects their momentary victory in the name of “chaste editions.” All the Works of Epictetus offers a bare minimum of annotation, limiting itself to one or two notes, at most, at the bottom of each page. Even these notes, however, merely gloss historical and biographical referents that would be obscure for a reader new to Epictetus. Her translation itself would have been considered chaste: the useless ornaments that characterize both pedantry and femininity are purged from her writing. The extraordinarily high critical acclaim awarded to her translation demonstrates Carter’s success in her attempts to minimize the differences between herself and the all-male

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coterie of polite education. By lashing herself with the “manly strokes of wit and satire,” Carter demonstrates that she, too, has acquired the same polite learning as their own. notes 1. The Whole Art appears only on pages 462–63 of The Memoirs of Elizabeth Carter, hereafter cited by page number. Pennington notes that “it was certainly written between the years 1742 and 1744” and that Elizabeth Montagu was “much pleased with it, but differed from some of Mrs. Carter’s friends, who wished her to publish it in the same volume with her Poems” (462). Montagu clearly sensed that the satire would be violently out of place in Carter’s decorous and pious verse. 2. For the best description of the various social and scholarly ‹elds at stake in the Battle of the Books, see Joseph Levine, The Battle of the Books. 3. Another example of the link between puns and the tongue of a bird can be found in Pope’s comparison of a pun to the split tongue of a jackdaw in Peri Bathous (Poems 413). 4. Culler notes that Johnson also puns upon “will” in line 282 of The Vanity of Human Wishes. 5. In The Dunciad, Pope describes puns as similarly malleable and shifting: “Here one poor word an hundred clenches makes, / And ductile dulness new meanders takes” (Poetry and Prose I.63–64). 6. Like Swift, who cites him repeatedly in the Ars Punica, Carter was also partial to Plato: “I must confess I have a much higher pleasure in reading Plato than the other philosophers who wrote before our Saviour.” (Memoirs 118). 7. Due to Jacques Lacan’s heavy usage of them and their illustration of the instability of the structuralist model, puns have recently become fashionable in psychoanalytical and post-structuralist circles, both as “ornament” and subject of critical discourse. One is tempted to suggest that literary critics, who might be considered modern pedants, are actively defending themselves from the charge of creating worthless and distracting language; after all, Jonathan Culler claims that the pun is the “foundation of letters” and argues for its importance to language, psychology, and the “central formative structures of major conceptual systems”—for example, Christianity. 8. See, for example, Viscount Bolingbroke’s Letters on the Study and Use of History. 9. Down to its ‹nest details, pedantry, as the worst form of writing for hire, is closely linked with money. If we accept momentarily the “polite” con›ation of pedantry and modern scholarship, the dependence of Bentley and similar scholars upon old coins, or numismatics, for the dating and discrediting of various ancient writings may have further associated pedantic scholarly pursuits with grubby money. 10. In defense of those Moderns accused of pedantry, the crushing discipline of a “polite education” could produce a classical scholar far inferior to many of the Moderns. The Christ Church wits possessed an erratic knowledge of classical languages and culture; most of them possessed considerable Latin but little Greek, as

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the episode over the Epistles of Phalaris proved (Levine 53–65). Despite the enormous amounts of satire and criticism directed at Bentley, his belief in the falsity of the Epistles was correct, and the Ancients, despite their wit and debonair deployment, were wrong. De Coverly may have been fortunate not to have been sent to Busby, whose methods, on occasion, were suspected of creating only greater “Blockheads”: Dryden wrote in a letter to Charles Montagu that “our Master Busby, usd to whip a boy so long, till he made him a con‹rmd Blockhead” (quoted by Winn 41). It should be noted, however, that Busby was astonishingly successful with talented students; his alumni included Christopher Wren and John Locke. Yet the fact that many of the Ancients lacked a great deal of classical knowledge in their “polite learning” posed no barriers to their assertions of authority in all classical matters. works cited Addison, Joseph. The Spectator. Vol. 1. Ed. G. A. Aitken. London: Nimmo, 1898. Aristotle. The Art of Rhetoric. Trans. Hugh Lawson-Tancred. New York: Penguin Books, 1991. Biographia Britannica. Vol. 2. Ed. Andrew Kippis. 1st ed. London, 1748. Bolingbroke, Viscount. Letters on the Study and Use of History. London, 1752. Boswell, James. The Life of Samuel Johnson. Ed. Bergen Evans. New York: Modern Library, 1965. Carter, Elizabeth. Memoirs of the Life of Mrs. Elizabeth Carter, with a New Edition of Her Poems . . . To Which Are Added, Some Miscellaneous Essays in Prose. Ed. Montagu Pennington. London: Rivington, 1807. ———, trans. All the Works of Epictetus. 2 vols. 3d ed. London, 1768. Culler, Jonathan. “On the Call of the Phoneme.” In On Puns: The Foundation of Letters, ed. Jonathan Culler, 1–16. Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1988. Dennis, John. “Remarks on Mr. Pope’s ‘Rape of the Lock.’” In The Critical Works of John Dennis, ed. E. N. Hooker, vol. 1. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1943. Dinshaw, Carolyn. Chaucer’s Sexual Poetics. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1989. Dryden, John. A Critical Edition of the Major Works. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992. Felton, Henry. A Dissertation on Reading the Classics and Forming a Just Style. 5th ed. London, 1753. Irigaray, Luce. The Irigaray Reader, ed. Margaret Whitford. Cambridge, MA: Basil Blackwell, 1991. Johnson, Samuel. Selected Writings. Ed. Patrick Cruttwell. London: Penguin, 1986. [King, William]. A Short Account of Dr. Bentley’s Humanity and Justice. . . . London: Thomas Bennet, 1699. Kristeva, Julia. The Kristeva Reader. Ed. Toril Moi. New York: Columbia University Press, 1986. Levine, Joseph. The Battle of the Books: History and Literature in the Augustan Age. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1991.

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Mack, Maynard. Alexander Pope: A Life. New York: W. W. Norton, 1985. Monk, James Henry. The Life of Richard Bentley. 2 vols. 2d ed. London, 1833. Ong, Walter. “Agonic Structures in Academia: Past to Present.” Interchange 5.4 (1974): 1–12. Plato. Timeaus. Trans. John Warrington. New York: Dutton, 1965. Pope, Alexander. The Poems of Alexander Pope. Ed. John Butt. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1963. ———. Poetry and Prose of Alexander Pope. Ed. Aubrey Williams. Boston: Houghton Mif›in, 1969. Quintilian. His Institutes of Eloquence. . . . Trans. William Guthrie. London, 1751. ———. The Institutio Oratoria in Four Volumes. Trans. H. E. Butler. Vol. 3. Loeb Classical Library. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1986. Redfern, Walter. Puns. Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1984. Swift, Jonathan. Ars Punica, ‹ve Flos Linguarum; or, The Art of Punning. . . . 2d ed. Dublin, 1719. ———. “A Modest Defence of Punning.” In Prose Works, ed. Herbert Davis and Louis Landa, 203–10, vol. 4. Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1957. ———. A Tale of a Tub. In The Writings of Jonathan Swift, ed. Robert Greenbert and William Piper, 263–373. New York: W. W. Norton, 1973. Thomas, Claudia. “‘Th’Instructive Moral and Important Thought’: Elizabeth Carter Reads Pope, Johnson, and Epictetus.” In The Age of Johnson, ed. Paul Korshin, 137–69, vol. 4. New York: AMS Press, 1991. Watt, Ian. “Publishers and Sinners: The Augustan View.” Studies in Bibliography 12 (1959): 2–20. Williams, Carolyn. Pope, Homer and Manliness: Some Aspects of EighteenthCentury Classical Learning. London: Routledge, 1993. Winn, James. John Dryden and His World. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1987.

part ii

Transgressive Images

A Carnival of Mirrors the grotesque body of the eighteenth-century british masquerade

Elizabeth Hunt What was new to the eighteenth-century experience . . . was the frightening possibility that nothing stood behind decorum. No gold standard guaranteed in›ated or de›ated currency; no original preexisted the copy; no durable skeleton shored up the frail anatomy. Fashion, masquerade, theater, cross-dressing emphasized the total disagreement between seeming and being, the deliberately fabricated incongruity between exterior and interior. —Barbara Maria Stafford, Body Criticism

A lthough it was an established part of eighteenth-century life from the 1720s, the masquerade often was conceived as a threat to the very foundation of English society on the grounds that it introduced ostensibly unBritish desires and activities.1 Moreover, the masquerade continually faced condemnation from critics who understood it as a morally corrupt event frequented by vain and modish people, as evidenced in The Quarrell with her Jew Protector, plate II of William Hogarth’s The Harlot’s Progress. In the bottom left corner, a mask lies on a table, apparently having been tossed there the night before. The subtle introduction of the mask into a domestic arena now marked by eroticism and duplicity works to link the masquerade to the harlot’s debauched position. Having been compromised by the association with her protector, the harlot has few remaining reasons to protect her reputation, thereby allowing her even more sexual freedom at the masquerade, a point underlined in the print as her lover (unbeknownst to her protector) tiptoes out the door of the apartment. In the minds of critics, then, the masquerade became an intensely charged erotic arena in which participants were thought to endanger their virtue. Markedly, commentators like Hogarth expressed anxiety about women’s abandonment of traditional gender roles: Eliza

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Haywood, for example, warned that “we are transmogri‹ed into . . . a Kind of Amazonians,—half-Men, half Women” (324). Invoking the female body, challenges to the morality of the masquerade frequently present themselves as arguments for masculine reason and rationality. In speci‹cally highlighting an image of the female body who violates the boundaries of presumed gender roles, critics emphasize the way the masquerade’s sexual liberty can endanger women in particular. Within criticism of the masquerade, the result is the construction of a female body threatened (often terrorized) by the suggestion of bodily and social transgression. If, according to Mikhail Bakhtin, the grotesque body is marked by its material nature, that very physicality also becomes a strangely “feminine” attribute when Bakhtin links the ‹lth of the “bodily lower stratum” to the female body: Woman . . . is the incarnation of this stratum that degrades and regenerates simultaneously. She is ambivalent. She debases . . . and lends a bodily substance to things, and destroys; but ‹rst of all, she is the principle that gives birth. She is the womb. (240) Forcing a connection between the female body and matter rather than spirit, as Kathleen Rowe notes, women appear to “transgress in their being, through the very nature of their bodies, not as subjects” (34). There is, however, something peculiar, something too shrill, about the insistence that the female body is the grotesque (and, by de‹nition, material) body par excellence. The too blusterous tone of much eighteenthcentury discourse concerning the masquerade stands as evidence of an enduring aversion to the female body, one that continues to haunt us, it seems to me, in strangely familiar and oddly compelling ways. Arthur Kroker and Marilouise Kroker have suggested that women’s bodies “have always been postmodern because they have always been targets of power which, inscribing the text of the ›esh, seeks to make of feminine identity something interpellated by ideology, constituted by language, and the site of a ‘dissociated ego’” (24).2 Indeed, these are exactly the signs of the grotesque female body constructed by the masquerade discourse of the eighteenth century. That hysterical discourse, then, pro‹tably might be viewed not as a failed response to a material and physical female body in opposition or supplement to an “ideal woman” but instead as a discursive mirror that re›ects cultural anxieties about the dangerous invasion of interests and desires coded as “feminine.” In wild confusion huddled lies, A heap of incoherencies: So here in one confusion hurl’d,

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Seem all the nations of the world; Cardinals, quakers, judges dance; Grim Turks are coy, and nuns advance. ................................ Known prudes there, libertines we ‹nd, Who masque the face, t’ unmasque the mind. —Henry Fielding, “The Masquerade” Typically, opponents of the eighteenth-century masquerade focus on ostensible dangers to the social hierarchy, and critics argue that the mingling of classes at the masquerade signi‹ed a society in crisis. Through costume, masqueraders mingled together in unpredictable and occasionally disturbing ways, as a letter to the Spectator suggests: “We had a Judge that danced a Minuet, with a Quaker for his Partner, while half a dozen Harlequins stood by as Spectators” (Addison and Steele no. 14). Moreover, according to Benjamin Grif‹n, the masquerade permitted individuals “to be satirically rude to our Superiors, free with our Neighbor’s Wives, and talk lasciviously to the Sex in general” (22). Thus, for critics, the masquerade presented an opportunity for unnatural and unseemly relations between individuals of different social classes and stations. This was precisely the masquerade’s purpose, as Terry Castle suggests: a “distinctly ungenteel liberty was the goal, liberty from every social, erotic and psychological constraint” (Masquerade 53). In encouraging participants to differently imagine themselves, the masquerade became, Castle argues, “an almost erotic commingling with the alien . . . a form of psychological recognition, a way of embracing, quite literally, the unfamiliar” (Masquerade 62). When individuals disguised their true selves, however, the potential for misinterpretation became ever more apparent and the possibility of cultural destruction more immediate. The doubleness experienced in the activity of disguise prompted many commentators to satirize the ludicrous leveling effect found at the masquerade. James Ralph, for instance, vehemently satirizes the ill-considered choice of profession made by unlearned and frivolous young men. Rather than choosing a profession at random, Ralph suggests that young men ought to try on a variety of careers at the masquerade: Thus in a few MASQUERADE Evenings, a young Gentleman of tolerable natural Parts, by applying himself to a particular Study, may either qualify himself for any Employment or Calling, and afterwards, by exerting those Talents there, pop at once into good Business; or if he is dispos’d for universal Knowledge, carry home with him the Marrow of all Sciences, to ‹t him for the brightest Conversation, without the tedious Forms of a Scholastick Education. (190)3

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Yet the masquerade represented an even more threatening possibility when it allowed women a sexual freedom not permitted elsewhere. Tellingly, Grif‹n warns that, due to the secrecy of disguise, traditional gender roles are under attack: “each Sex is blended together, and equally free in their Deportment” (7). In Ranelagh House, A Satire in Prose, Joseph Warton thus characterizes Ranelagh House as “the Temple of Luxury, the Theatre of Madness, the Habitation of Folly” (5). Describing the female founder of masquerade assemblies, “at the origin of which all hell rejoiced,” Warton remarks that she has “an impudent masculine air” (7). While the narrator appears amused by the masculine air of this woman, remarks about the young Erminia reveal the simultaneous fear of and fascination with the surface of the female body: How demurely and soberly she looks! She is the greatest prude that ever hid Fontaine’s tales under a cushion. How her face belyes her Desires! These kind of Women are my delight: They add Hypocrisy to Lewdness: They have been compared very justly to Hammon’s Spring by Lucretius, whose waters all day were as cold as ice, but every night were boiling hot. (13) Here, the author vividly illustrates eighteenth-century understanding of the ambiguity of the female body. In appearing precise and prudent, Erminia becomes a horrifying possibility because the serene surface of her body belies the raging desires (of which she is presumably unaware) understood to exist beneath that surface. Consequently, her body is a source of profound cultural unease: because she signi‹es a disjunction between seeming and being, Erminia represents a dangerous arti‹ce that masks a threatening tension between her own desires and the self-disciplined rejection of those desires advocated by the culture at large.4 The spectacle of the swelling and ›uid grotesque body ‹gured as a woman thus became the cultural icon of the period’s con›icted attitudes concerning how far public space could be stretched to accommodate individual interests and passions. In the discourse concerning the masquerade, what is striking, however, is that critics often seem equally to be fascinated and repulsed by those hidden desires. For instance, on 1 May 1755, “Mr. Town, Critic and Censor-General” of the Connoisseur, notes that “there is something too insipid in our ‹ne gentlemen stalking about in dominos; and it is rather cruel to eclipse the pretty faces of our ‹ne ladies with hideous masks” (Colman and Thornton no. 66). In this satire, the seductive and erotic physicality of the body is brought to the fore when the author proposes a naked masquerade at which all will be revealed: women will be “costumed” as water nymphs or appear as models of the Venus de Medicis, while men will wear “the

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half-brutal forms” of satyrs, Pans, or centaurs. But if this satire reveals the tantalizing possibility of public nudity, it also suggests the threat to polite public space: when the body is exposed to public view, so too are the presumably destructive desires percolating just under the surface of that body. In 1724, a certain “P.W.” published A Seasonable Apology for Mr. Heidegger, which proposes to demonstrate the usefulness of the masquerade. Dedicating the apology to the well-known madam Mother Needham, a great “Encourager of the Liberal Arts and Sciences,” P.W. begins by citing the case of Adam and Eve as the ‹rst instance of the use of costume (9). In his satirical apology, P.W. describes history as a masquerade, whereby events such as the Gunpowder Plot and “the Masquerade at Paris, commonly call’d the Massacre” (an event that he claims saw the death of one hundred thousand Protestants), are all described as masquerades (9). Masks or disguises are then de‹ned and include, among others, such qualities as honesty, bravery, and demureness and such professions as the military, trade, medicine, law, writing, and teaching. Similarly, other eighteenth-century writers frequently linked the masquerade to the widespread social dissimulation described by P.W. Henry Fielding, for example, characterized society as “a vast Masquerade, where the greatest Part appear disguised under false Vizors and Habits” (Essay 155).5 P.W. then provides a report from the “Committee of Matrons,” ostensibly appointed by Heidegger to investigate the morality of the masquerade. The report parodies the hysteria of other masquerade critics when P.W. cites numerous instances of women who have been cured of various ills through attendance at the masquerade: 600 women cured of constipation; 137 women cured of barrenness; and 400 women who, “doom’d to the Arms of old, or otherwise, impotent Husbands, have from the frequent Use of these Entertainments, received in good Part, Relief and Supply” (23). Likewise, 55 women “too strait lac’d, or awkward, to entertain their Husbands” found that they could do so after attending a masquerade, and an “unspeakable number” of women were cured of spleen and vapors (23). Ultimately, the masquerade is touted as the panacea to separation and divorce because “if any Man dislikes his own Wife, he may there have the Use of almost any other Man’s, he ‹nds present; and likewise, the Wife to, may be furnish’d with an agreeable variety” (25). P.W. concludes by suggesting that, because of their crucial bene‹ts to English society, more masquerades ought to be instituted, two per week, “Lent excepted, when ‘tis (if ever) convenient to abstain from all Kinds of Flesh” (25). While his work successfully satirizes the masquerade for its frivolity and sexual danger, as well as commentators for their overzealous cri-

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tique, P.W.’s apology for Heidegger nevertheless explicitly highlights what is already implicit in the female body. The notion that the masquerade can cure such things as constipation, spleen, and vapors focuses attention on a female body ideally unseen in polite culture. The apology revels in the very physical nature of the female body, revealing that body as it transgresses boundaries, engages in biological functions, and over›ows into the world. Opening up the previously concealed female body of excess, P.W., then, makes this body into a monstrous spectacle as its voracious hidden sexual desires explode into the culture at large. Similarly, when Warton positions Erminia so that we may peer into the depths of her sexual nature, he constructs a representation of the belief that female bodily excess provides explicit evidence of its destructive cultural force. Yet, as if they were peeling back the ›esh of the body in order to discover its biological mysteries, both P.W. and Warton foray beneath the surface of the female body with the ultimate purpose of controlling that body’s desires. While public events like masquerades may have encouraged a certain sexual liberty and license within their walls, aftereffects were often thought to be just as threatening. In The Covt Garden Morning Frolick, an apparently wealthy woman sleeps as two men strain under the weight of her carriage (‹g. 1).6 Unaware that her dress has slipped aside to reveal her breasts, the woman sleeps peacefully as her carriage moves slowly through a laboring-class crowd, while one apparently drunken man (possibly her husband) sits atop her carriage brandishing a stick. Crowd members point and jeer at her, as the broken windows of her carriage suggest the consequence of their ridicule. Here, the female body appears as a sign of the sexual impropriety induced by the licentious space of public events: when surface slips, the individual body (over)›ows into communal space. In revealing more particulars of the individual than is prudent, this woman’s body suggests not only cultural understanding of hidden sexual desire—that it will reveal itself when one is least on guard—but also the ease with which communal space might be invaded by individual desire and caprice let loose. And when the masquerade permits this woman to indulge her hidden desires, she becomes hypervisible to the culture at large—an object to be sexually and aesthetically consumed.7 Surface appearance belied the identity of masqueraders, and for critics, herein lay a most frightening horror. Misdirection or misinterpretation of surface appearance through costume became linked to a threatening sexual and social otherness that permeates antimasquerade criticism. In Hogarth’s Masquerade Ticket, for example, two “lechorometers” on either side of the print measure the collective sexual temperature of the participants, while the antlers on either side of the room assume that

Fig. 1. The Covt Garden Morning Frolick. 1747. © The British Museum

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cuckoldry will occur inside the doors of the masquerade (‹g. 2).8 With its focused concentration on disguise and dissimulation, the masquerade placed a dangerous premium on external appearance. In response, critics charged that public events like the masquerade unnecessarily exposed otherwise polite and proper individuals to potential ridicule. Tobias Smollett’s character Matt Bramble, for instance, writes that “when I see a number of well-dressed people, of both sexes . . . exposed to the eyes of the mob . . . I can’t help compassionating their temerity, while I despise their want of taste and decorum” (85). In this situation, the surface of the body became at once an intriguing mystery for masquerade participants and a disturbing site of misdirection for critics. Because disguise altered the surface of the body, the costumed body misdirected sexual and social status. And critics saw in that altered body the threat of cultural destruction, as the logic of eighteenth-century culture was overthrown in an orgiastic frenzy of interpretation produced by disguise and dissimulation. In the end, the masquerade remained an event beyond social control or reason, and this was not only its understood cultural danger but also precisely its charm. The masquerade permitted and encouraged an exploration of what it meant to be another body, if only temporarily. In this sense, the masquerade allowed eighteenth-century people a way to imagine a society founded on distinctly different social hierarchies. For its critics, the masquerade represented at once a gleeful abdication of individual responsibility and a communal negation of social laws and proscriptions: in becoming part of an assembly of masked people, the individual was absorbed into a ›oating mass of fantasy and unreality. The masquerade, then, drew attention to the interpretation of surface by suggesting that external appearance had little to do with the distinction between self and other. For antimasquerade critics, this situation was unacceptable, because eighteenth-century society rested upon the ability of external appearance to indicate social status; should status be widely misindicated, social relationships would become confused, their ephemeral and super‹cial foundation laid bare. If today we can pause to wonder whether or not the culturally subversive aura of the masquerade in›uenced any real and material social change, its contemporary observers had no such luxury; as they were convinced of the masquerade’s enormous power of in›uence, antimasquerade sentiment became ever more strident and hysterical and, in its most vehement form, often attacked the masquerade as a return to chaos. As the century wore on, increasing political agitation and social unrest both at home and abroad suggested a connection between the sexual and social license of the masquerade and actual political insurrection. Yet this link was not new to the masquerade culture. P.W.’s apology for Heidegger, for instance, continues the British tradition of anti-Catholic senti-

Fig. 2. William Hogarth. Masquerade Ticket. 1727. © The British Museum

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ment, which made deliberate connections between historical events and disguise or dissimulation: the Gunpowder Plot “was a Masquerade of that unspeakable Usefulness to the Papists, and their Cause,” while “Popery is little else than a spiritual Masquerade” (9, 12). Moreover, visual culture consistently depicted the Pretender Cromwell’s ascension to the throne as an act of disguise or masquerade. In depicting historical events as acts of masquerade, British culture cemented an already extant tradition of understanding disguise, particularly in the carnival atmosphere, as potential motivation for political action. Carnival and costuming, according to Bakhtin, function to make individuals aware of a different mode of being, one in which the individual represents “a material bodily whole” (23). This bodily whole then moves beyond “the limits of [its] isolation,” and the private and the universal are thus blended “in a contradictory unity” (23). Bakhtin, then, conceives of the carnival and its capacity for disguise and misrule as possible motivating forces for real action. Similarly, Natalie Zemon Davis suggests that male transvestism during carnival events did indeed have an actual impact in the world. Because women were believed to be incapable of responsibility for their own actions, men could use a female persona during moments of political insurrection; disguised as women, they could then deny responsibility for their actions. In eighteenth-century England, Davis notes several instances in which female disguise served an explicitly political purpose: in May 1718, Cambridge students followed a man in women’s clothes to attack a Dissenting meeting house; and in 1720, laborers in Surrey rioted in women’s clothes (148). In this way, the doubleness of costume—its ability to blend self and other—allowed individuals access to a political subjectivity and also made dominant culture aware of an oppressive social order. The ultimate question of the masquerade, that of the distinction between self and other, became also its meaning. When the masquerade allowed its participants to assume the identity of another, it foregrounded the apparent disjunction between representation and reality. That such anxieties often were mediated through a grotesque body ‹gured as a woman underscores the ways in which surface was made to be the explicit meaning of the masquerade. In casting a female body as the sign of a travesty of polite culture, commentators used that grotesque body to probe and explore what individual interests and passions would or could mean in an emerging public sphere. As negative identity, the grotesque female body, then, stood in for all desire that threatened to ›ow into and possibly overwhelm a culture extremely anxious about the integrity and ef‹cacy of public space. The demise of the masquerade during the late eighteenth century does attest to the triumph of its critics in their struggle for the establishment of

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a public sphere unencumbered, for the most part, by the ambiguous forms and hybrid modes of being presented by the masquerade. The widespread anxiety about surface in the masquerade culture, however, suggests that cultural fears turned less upon the moral status of the masquerade than they did upon the question of how to regulate the ostensibly dangerous desires represented in the image of the grotesque female body. But, as in The Covt Garden Morning Frolick, when the grotesque female body slipped and revealed the enticing and erotic nature of the eighteenth-century masquerade, that image forfeited an ability to function reliably as negative identity and, therefore, undermined the culture’s ability to defend itself against the seductive quality of its own very “interested” desires. Within the space of the masquerade, then, the spectacle of the grotesque female body ultimately became the re›ective surface of a mirror that the culture tremulously held up to itself.

The postmodern monster is no longer the hideous other storming the gates of the human citadel, he has already disrupted the careful geography of human self and demon other and he makes the peripheral and the marginal part of the center. Monsters within postmodernism are already inside—the house, the body, the head, the skin, the nation—and they work their way out. —Judith Halberstam, Skin Shows

Writers who wished to represent the decayed civilization of eighteenthcentury England not surprisingly often chose the masquerade as the emblem of society gone horribly wrong. From a distance, we may note the irony of such a choice. The masquerade culture was predicated on the ability to misindicate social and bodily status. In calling attention to the very notion of surface, the masquerade suggested that the surface of the body itself was merely spectacle, rather than a reliable indicator of social or bodily distinction. Castle argues that “the anti-masquerade rhetoric of the period offered a clue to the masquerade’s ultimate demise when it exposed the masquerade as a threat to bourgeois decorum and rationalist taxonomies” (Masquerade 107). And the use of a grotesque female body to ‹gure anxieties about an unregulated heterogeneity speaks directly to those rationalist taxonomies: the very surface about which the culture was so anxious—the grotesque female body—was constructed as the only defense against the contagion that threatened to explode from the culture’s interior. In The Female Grotesque, Mary Russo invokes a childhood phrase heard often in my own childhood: “She . . . is making a spectacle out of herself” (53).9 According to Russo, such women-spectacles are the possessors of “large, aging, and dimpled thighs displayed at the public

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beach, of overly rouged cheeks, of a voice shrill in laughter, or a sliding bra strap—a loose, dingy bra strap especially” (53). In some implicit sense, then, the female body indecently exposed to public view already is linked to anxieties about a disturbing physicality that is assumed to mask a hidden and uncontrollable threat. Eighteenth-century criticism of the masquerade takes advantage of this cultural knowledge in charting its anxieties across the topography of a grotesque female body. Kubek suggests that the eighteenth-century urban London woman was understood as fragmented and overly eroticized (441). When this woman attended the masquerade, she became an overly determined grotesque body who represented a failure of self-discipline as she succumbed to her own desires and became an active consumer of the masquerade culture. As her hidden desires percolated up to the surface of her body, the woman at the masquerade signaled a dangerous indeterminacy in need of rigorous cultural regulation. This perceived need for discipline resulted in her position as an object of consumption, as the female body became the subject of scienti‹c and intellectual investigation. In another context, Carol J. Clover observes that the inner space of the body is safeguarded only by “one thin membrane, protected only by a collective taboo against its violation” (32). During the eighteenth century, however, scientists regularly violated that taboo in an effort to understand the uncontrollable desires believed to exist beneath the surface of the female body. For example, the widespread notion that women were thoroughly saturated by sexuality—mere empty space, a womb waiting to be ‹lled—prompted anxious concerns about the results of unsatis‹ed carnal desire and led to extended scienti‹c investigation of alleged cases of spontaneous combustion of the female body. Yet, as Sheila Shaw suggests, tales of elderly women who combusted reveal a pathological fear of the sexuality of old women: Their reproductive capacity gone, too old to be objects of male desire, and with no outlet for their innate carnal appetites, they implode. The ‹re that consumes them is a time-honored mode of punishment, as any sixteenth-century woman accused of witchcraft and burned at the stake might have told us. (18) And the urgency with which eighteenth-century culture approached the female body is the result of the increasingly accessible “opened” female body.10 Although the results of medical dissection and autopsies were limited primarily to their practitioners, certainly more and more people were able to learn about those results than ever before, as they might have witnessed in Hogarth’s The Reward of Cruelty, in which Tom Nero’s body is subjected to vivisection by a group of implacable doctors wielding dissecting tools (‹g. 3). That the series suggests that Tom’s

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“opened” circumstance is a result of his earlier zealous cruelty is of no small consequence for the eighteenth-century woman whose surface—literally her skin, ‹guratively her self-regulation—was the only thing that stood between her and her own equally destructive desires. Yet while scientists might explore the inner recesses of the female body, in the cultural imagination of the eighteenth century, the female body nevertheless remained unreadable and open to interpretation. Af‹liated with unregulated desires, the female body was soft, malleable, and penetrable. Understood to signify unknown mysteries waiting to erupt through the body’s skin, stretched taut over barely controlled desires, the female body thus seemed impervious to the masculine reason that might interpret it. The result of these two paradoxical impulses—the female body as ‹xed object of consumption and the female body open to interpretation—was an ambivalent overvaluation of the female body. To explain the apparent control over and passive positioning of ‹ctional eighteenthcentury women, Kubek invokes ‹lm theorist Laura Mulvey, whose work suggests the sadistic potential of the kind of fetishistic looking characteristic of eighteenth-century discourse.11 Yet while it well may describe the activity of regulating the female body in the novels described by Kubek, active scopophilia overlooks the masochistic potential implied in the eighteenth-century con›ict about whether or not the viewer could master “the image,” as image after image of the grotesque female body broke through the boundaries established by the period’s sense of decorum and aesthetics. Pointing to rampant eighteenth-century confusion regarding the impact of individual interests and passions on an increasingly polite public sphere, the grotesque female body demonstrated a multiplicity of being, a hybridity that threatened to overwhelm the rational and make the viewer subject to its image and, most important, to its desires. Foregrounding concerns about what it meant to look at something, the grotesque female body signi‹ed the impossibility of control. When any reading of it indicated that self-discipline could not be relied upon to safeguard the individual (and, by extension, the public sphere) from desire, the grotesque female body also suggested that the look or gaze of critical discourse equally was inadequate to the task of controlling—of interpreting—the body and its desires. And, rather than containing the unruly and destructive desires presumed in the female body, criticism of the masquerade ultimately placed the image of the grotesque female body in a position of potential mastery: as it encouraged identi‹cation, the grotesque female body ‹gured the hidden desires of her viewers and readers. Thus, the construction of the female body as grotesque body of record is not founded on a belief that such a body is conquerable but instead on the uncertainty over whether or not mastery is at all possible.

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Fig. 3. William Hogarth. The Reward of Cruelty (plate IV of The Four Stages of Cruelty). 1750. © The British Museum

As an example of what Barbara Creed names the “monstrous feminine,” the eighteenth-century grotesque body ‹gured as a woman ultimately signi‹ed irrational forces and ›uid desires that the culture hoped to avoid. Eighteenth-century discourse surrounding the female body— the probing scienti‹c investigations, the philosophical and moral studies, the pronouncements by religious and intellectual leaders—so heavily

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coded the grotesque female body that its image became an “armor” that worked to protect the culture from itself.12 As the repository of negative cultural values, the female body stood as an example of the dangers of untutored individual passions and desires. When, for example, the urban woman attended the masquerade, her presumed depravity and debauchery became a source of negative identity against which both women and men ought to de‹ne themselves. Likewise, the belief that the minds of women were unduly susceptible to outside in›uence constructed excessive use of the imagination as a “feminine”—because undisciplined—failing that signaled an inability to subordinate desire to self-regulation.13 In constructing a defensive strategy based on a grotesque body ‹gured as female—the embodiment of desiring production—eighteenth-century commentators hoped to repel those unruly and destructive forces understood to exist beneath the surface of the culture at large. The masquerade’s deliberate emphasis on sensation in the presence of a massive heterogeneity suggests that it functioned as one of the period’s heterotopias, de‹ned by Michel Foucault as sites that “desiccate speech, stop words in their tracks, contest the very possibility of grammar at its source,” which then “dissolve our myths and sterilize the lyricism of our sentences” (Order xviii). The masquerade did stop language in its tracks when it created an enormous gulf between individual interests and passions and the self-discipline required by society at large. And in that gap, the masquerade produced desire. Like the Royal Society’s universal language projects, which sought to smooth over the gap between words and things, critics of the masquerade deployed the ‹gure of the grotesque female body to forestall the continued production and reproduction of desire at the masquerade.14 But if the masquerade as heterotopia undermined language, the grotesque female body was no less a force that made it “impossible to name this and that” (Order xviii). And, in this way, the grotesque female body resembles another kind of heterotopia: the mirror. Of the mirror, Foucault says: It is a place without a place. In it, I see myself where I am not, in an unreal space that opens up potentially beyond its surface; there I am down there where I am not, a sort of shadow that makes my appearance visible to myself, allowing me to look at myself where I do not exist. (“Other Spaces” 12) For eighteenth-century culture, the grotesque female body did open up beyond its surface, and what people saw there was their own hidden desire. The grotesque female body thus became a site of abjection, in the words of Julia Kristeva, a place where “meaning collapses” (2). But that site of abjection remained acutely and unmistakably personal: as a

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mirror, the grotesque female body also re›ected its viewer or reader. That image became profoundly disturbing when it revealed that the viewer or reader could not divorce him- or herself from the image in view: refusing to make the viewer/reader a refuge from its own monstrous desire, the grotesque female body demands identi‹cation. The grotesque female body, then, is not merely a supplementary opposition to the “ideal woman.” Rather, the grotesque female body is a re›ection of the ideal woman; it is where she cannot be exactly because she is already there. Certainly this image had profound and disturbing effects upon women of the period in terms of their self-regulation. And it seems clear from the evidence that masquerade critics and commentators intended the image to function in this way. What to make, however, of the choice of an image that highlights cultural anxieties about surface appearance and its interpretation at the masquerade—an arena predicated precisely on the inability to realize surface as a reliable indicator of social or sexual status? Like fashion prints and engravings of this period, the image of the grotesque female body ultimately functioned as a feint that disguised the very real danger threatened by the recognition of individual interests within an emerging public sphere dependent upon the rejection of individual desire in favor of self-discipline. The grotesque female body was deployed as negative identity in order to contain those individual passions. At the same time, however, it consistently escaped that control because it vividly uncovered the ‹ction of eighteenth-century cultural life. Ostensibly a transgressive female body beyond social and moral control, the grotesque female body stands as a sign of cultural panic in the face of an emerging marketplace and economy that understood all persons, whether male or female, as vectors for the reproduction of culturally destructive desires. When, during the eighteenth century, the grotesque female body functioned as a mirror, that image implicated all of its viewers in their own culture and suggested to them that they could escape neither its pitfalls nor its promise. And it is precisely in this knowledge that we might best approach our own ambivalence about eighteenth-century images of the grotesque female body. Certainly, we must acknowledge the profound unease we sense in the level of violence with which eighteenth-century culture approached that body. Constructed as a body that eludes even the control of language, however, the grotesque female body nevertheless explodes into the world even as critics attempt to con‹ne it. As a result, we also sense the precarious bravado and futility manifest in the transparent and unsettling attempt to map larger cultural anxieties onto that body. Mary Russo suggests an intriguing question:

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I see us viewed by ourselves and others, in our bodies and in our work, in ways that are continuously shifting the terms of viewing, so that looking at us, there will be a new question, the question that never occurred to Bakhtin in front of the Kerch terracota ‹gurines—Why are these old hags laughing? (73) Surely, the answer to her question must lie in the viewer’s identi‹cation with that body, with what the female body presumably signi‹es. In many ways, like the grotesque rendering of the Kerch hags, the eighteenth-century grotesque female body is the result of a cultural opposition between male and female bodies; yet the grotesque female body is also a result of a cultural hysteria that recognizes its own loss. When the Kerch hags laugh at the very opposition between whole and lack that makes possible their representation, they illustrate a treasonous cultural recognition of the elusive nature of the polarity between viewer/reader and image. When the hags laugh, they thus mock an attempt to see in them something other than a mirror. As Russo suggests, we might shift the terms of viewing so that the grotesque female body does not mock us as well. Many eighteenth-century images of the grotesque female body do not appear to be laughing, and it is dif‹cult to make progressive claims for work that so ruthlessly degrades the status of the female body. Nevertheless, when I approach these images, I do laugh precisely because they appear to me as both a mirror of myself and as the place where I am not. Indeed, my inability to see in them something other than a mirror dictates my response. As they did for their eighteenth-century audience, the images implicate me as a grotesque body. In fact, they suggest not that I am a grotesque body but instead that the grotesque body is me. And, in this way, we might discover in these simultaneously disturbing and familiar images something that resembles their impact on the eighteenthcentury audience. As a mirror, the grotesque female body demands that we not overlook the signi‹cance of images of transgressive women in our past, because those images have been, and continue to be, central to our understanding of gender. Then, as now, the grotesque female body stands as the cultural embodiment of anxiety about the status of the “human” body. That we may exist in a period of “panic” bodies, as Kroker and Kroker have suggested, surely underscores the importance of understanding this particular image of the female body, for it continues to name something other than the “human.” Realizing our implication in images of the grotesque female body, however, will not make understanding gender any easier, nor will it suddenly and unambiguously render the female body “nor-

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mal.” Becoming implicated in the grotesque female body, though, may make it easier to acknowledge ambivalence about that body and to laugh along with the old hags at the lack of permanence invested in their representation. And, in that shared laughter, which insists on recognition of my own treasonous desire, I see the ultimate revenge against the violence of (their) representation. notes 1. One of the persons most responsible for introducing the ‹rst public masquerades was John James Heidegger, a Swiss man who became manager of the Haymarket theater in 1713 and arranged weekly masquerades on the nights when opera was not performed. In charging admission to the masquerade, Heidegger cultivated an aura of exclusivity. A similar practice was followed by Mrs. Cornelys, originally an Italian-born opera singer, who became the main promoter of the masquerade culture during the second half of the century. Although both Heidegger and Cornelys attempted to limit access to the masquerade, admission prices were often low enough that the masquerade remained, in the popular imagination, an event to which all classes could gain entry. 2. According to Kroker and Kroker, the female body is “an early warning sign of a grisly power ‹eld that speaks the language of body invaders”; they identify a postmodern “panic” body recently invaded and subjected to the totalizing discursive power accorded to the female body (24). As Anne Balsamo observes, however, this analysis continues to designate the female body in opposition to an unmarked postmodern body (30). 3. Ralph begins his lengthy satire on the times by providing the lineage of his family, the Cocks. Among them are the foppish and fashionably dressed Halfcocks and the Nococks, who, as eunuchs, are “generally esteem’d for their ‹ne Voices” (xi). In case the reader misses his satiric point, Ralph’s critique of town diversions advocates culturally ridiculous propositions, as when he suggests that married couples would be much happier had they an opportunity at the masquerade to ‹nd out whether or not they were sexually matched. Here, the masquerade’s disguise is bene‹cial because, if the couple ‹nds that they are not sexually suited, the “Familiarities that pass’d betwixt them must remain a Secret, the Parties being utter Strangers to one another” (186). 4. According to Jurgen Habermas, this form of polite behavior increasingly marked the eighteenth-century public sphere, whereby “politeness” became both the ends of and the means to the creation of a public sphere. Other scholars, however, have suggested that this view overlooks widespread cultural ambivalence concerning the project of politeness—precisely the ambivalence that likewise marks the grotesque female body. See, for instance, Paul Langford’s A Polite and Commercial People and John Brewer’s “‘The Most Polite Age and the Most Vicious.’” 5. Even Heidegger entered the fray when he reacted to the Bishop of London’s speech, in which the masquerade was denounced as an incitement to licentiousness and effeminacy. In his retort, after noting that “‘Tis Prudence to supply

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with Art / Where Nature fails to do her Part,” Heidegger argues that “The World itself [is] a Ball” (4). Likewise, in The Rambler, Samuel Johnson condemns the rich, who live in a “perpetual masquerade, in which all about them wear borrowed clothes” (no. 75). 6. All illustrations have been reproduced with permission from the British Museum. 7. Elizabeth Bennet Kubek makes a similar point: when women participate in the urban culture of early modern London, they become objects of public consumption, a situation that leads to a rejection of London values and the construction of an image of a virtuous woman who “voluntarily limits her own consumption and commodi‹cation by avoiding urbanity” (442). 8. An early predecessor of Hogarth’s lechorometer, the weatherglass also was marked by an association with the female body. Castle suggests that the weatherglass not only rei‹ed but may have facilitated the development of the new concept of emotion and sensibility that arose during the late century (Thermometer 42). 9. Although women can “make spectacles” of themselves, there seems to be no equivalent phrase that can be applied to men. While I don’t want to belabor the point, one might suggest that, on a linguistic level, women are unable to escape their own bodies: “of spectacle,” a woman’s inappropriately exposed body reproduces her presumed impropriety. 10. Clover likewise observes that the rise of slasher ‹lms in the late twentieth century is concomitant with the development of ‹lm special effects that “let us see with our own eyes the ‘opened’ body” (32). 11. In “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema” (1975), Mulvey argues that the male viewer has two avenues of escape from the castration anxiety signi‹ed by the female body: a sadistic voyeurism that realizes the guilt of castration and subsequently subjects the female body to control through punishment or forgiveness; or scopophilia, in which the male viewer alleviates anxiety by fetishizing the female body in whole or in part (64). See also Mulvey’s collected essays in Visual and Other Pleasures. 12. In his discussion of the German Freikorps, Klaus Theweleit makes a similar argument concerning the ways in which the female body became the ultimate symbol of dissolution and annihilation that those men sought to avoid. For the Freikorpsmen, resisting the ›eshy and ›uid female body required the creation of an “armored” male body—a man “with machine like periphery, whose interior has lost its meaning” (2:162). Yet the armored body is little more than a strategy constructed to defend the male body from itself: the ultimate weakness for the Freikorpsman was the desire to become the other, to sink into the body’s own internalized desires, for “this would mean death” whereby the individual would be “devoured by the ‘primitive’ man within” (2:75–76). 13. On this point see, for example, Dennis Todd’s Imagining Monsters and Marie-Hélène Huet’s Monstrous Imagination. 14. Robert E. Stillman has argued that eighteenth-century writers such as Bacon and Hobbes were overwhelmingly anxious about the intrusion of desire into language (37). The language projector thus sought “to bridge the gap

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between words and things by substituting his own ‘law’ . . . for the imperfectly conceived laws of fallen language,” though, as Stillman observes throughout his project, many of these writers rely on exactly those rhetorical ‹gures—coded as desire—that they hoped to obviate (38). works cited Addison, Joseph, and Richard Steele. The Spectator. Ed. Donald F. Bond. 5 vols. Oxford: Clarendon, 1965. Bakhtin, Mikhail. Rabelais and His World. Trans. Helene Iswolsky. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1968. Balsamo, Anne. Technologies of the Gendered Body: Reading Cyborg Women. Durham: Duke University Press, 1996. Brewer, John. “‘The Most Polite Age and the Most Vicious’: Attitudes Towards Culture as Commodity.” In The Consumption of Culture, 1600–1800, ed. Ann Bermingham and John Brewer, 341–61. London: Routledge, 1996. Castle, Terry . The Female Thermometer: Eighteenth-Century Culture and the Invention of the Uncanny. New York: Oxford University Press, 1995. ———. Masquerade and Civilization: The Carnivalesque in Eighteenth-Century English Culture. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1986. Clover, Carol J. Men, Women and Chainsaws: Gender in the Modern Horror Film. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1992. Colman, George, and Bonnell Thornton. The Connoisseur: The British Essayists; With Prefaces, Historical and Biographical. Ed. Andrew Chalmers. 45 vols. London: J. Johnson, 1802. Creed, Barbara. The Monstrous-Feminine: Film, Feminism, Psychoanalysis. London: Routledge, 1995. Davis, Natalie Zemon. Society and Culture in Early Modern France. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1975. Fielding, Henry [Lemuel Gulliver, pseud.]. “The Masquerade.” In The Female Husband and Other Writings, ed. Claude E. Jones, 5–6. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 1960. Fielding, Henry. New Essaqy by Henry Fielding, ed. Martin C. Battestin, Charlottesville, VA: University Press of Virginia, 1989. Foucault, Michel. The Order of Things: An Archaeology of the Human Sciences. New York: Vintage, 1973. ———. “Other Spaces: The Principles of Heterotopia.” Lotus International 48–49 (1986): 9–17. Grif‹n, Benjamin. The Masquerade; or, an Evening’s Intrigue. London, 1717. Habermas, Jurgen. The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere: An Inquiry into a Category of Bourgeois Society. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1989. Halberstam, Judith. Skin Shows: Gothic Horror and the Technology of Monsters. Durham: Duke University Press, 1995. Haywood, Eliza. The Female Spectator. Vol. 1. London, 1745. Heidegger, John James. Heydegger’s Letter to the Bishop of London. 1724. Ed. Arthur Freeman. New York: Garland, 1973. Huet, Marie-Hélène. Monstrous Imagination. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1993.

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Johnson, Samuel. The Rambler. In The Yale Edition of the Works of Samuel Johnson, ed. W. J. Bate and Albrecht B. Strauss, vol. 3–5. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1958–. Kristeva, Julia. Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection. Trans. Leon S. Roudiez. New York: Columbia University Press, 1982. Kroker, Arthur, and Marilouise Kroker. “Theses on the Disappearing Body in the Hyper-Modern Condition.” In Body Invaders: Panic Sex in America, ed. Arthur Kroker and Marilouise Kroker, 20–34. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1987. Kubek, Elizabeth Bennet. “Women’s Participation in the Urban Culture of Early Modern London: Images from Fiction.” In The Consumption of Culture, 1600–1800, ed. Ann Bermingham and John Brewer, 440–54. London: Routledge, 1996. Langford, Paul. A Polite and Commercial People: England, 1727–1783. Oxford: Clarendon, 1989. Mulvey, Laura. Visual and Other Pleasures. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1989. ———. “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema.” Screen 16.3 (1975): 6–18. Ralph, James. The Touch-Stone; or, Historical, Critical, Political, Moral, Philosophical and Theological Essays upon the Reigning Diversions of the Town. 1728. Ed. Arthur Freeman. New York: Garland, 1973. Rowe, Kathleen. The Unruly Woman: Gender and the Genres of Laughter. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1995. Russo, Mary. The Female Grotesque: Risk, Excess and Modernity. New York: Routledge, 1994. Shaw, Sheila. “Spontaneous Combustion and the Sectioning of Female Bodies.” Literature and Medicine 14.1 (1994): 1–22. Smollett, Tobias. The Expedition of Humphry Clinker. Ed. James L. Thorson. New York: W. W. Norton, 1983. Stafford, Barbara Maria. Body Criticism: Imaging the Unseen in Enlightenment Art and Medicine. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1991. Stillman, Robert E. The New Philosophy and Universal Languages of Seventeenth-Century England. London: Associated University Presses, 1995. Theweleit, Klaus. Male Fantasies. Trans. Stephen Conway, Erica Carter, and Chris Turner. 2 vols. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1987. Todd, Dennis. Imagining Monsters: Miscreations of Self in Eighteenth-Century England. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995. P.W. A Seasonable Apology for Mr. Heidegger. 1724. Ed. Arthur Freeman. New York: Garland, 1973. Warton, Joseph. Ranelagh House, A Satire in Prose: In the Manner of Monsieur le Sage. London, 1747.

Lustful Widows and Old Maids in Late Eighteenth-Century English Caricatures Cindy McCreery

Clarissa’s charms poor Strephon struck; He fain would have been billing: But yet the fair the lad forsook, To show her power of killing. . . . . . . . . . . . But when old Time, with scythe so sharp, Had cross the forehead struck her, And ev’ry charm began to warp, The striplings all forsook her. Oh! then the hag began to curse, Her time she pass’d no better; Yet still before that bad grew worse, She hop’d some youth would take her. But hopes are vain when beauty’s gone; No lovers now assail her; We never into prison run, But when we like the jailor. Then, cruel fair ones, think how soon You’ll this sad case remember; The bedfellow you hate in June, Would warm you in December. (Buck’s Bottle Companion 93; verses 1, 3–6) While there is considerable academic interest in the role of women in late eighteenth-century England, few scholars have explored the extent to which single old women, namely widows and old maids, were treated as scapegoats and bogeymen, as these verses demonstrate. Such women were attacked partly for their gender, but partly too for their age, and an exploration of their treatment reveals considerable antipathy toward 112

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aging and the elderly. Engraved caricatures offer a rich and largely unexamined source of evidence for contemporary attitudes to old women. In particular, the compilation of caricatures, often reprints of earlier designs, ‹rst published by Thomas Tegg as the Caricature Magazine in 1807 provides insight into the mix of anger and crude humor that characterized many responses to old women (George 8:600). This chapter discusses several designs from the Caricature Magazine and other sources and reproduces three designs (‹gs. 4–6). This combination of written discussion and visual reproduction of eighteenth-century caricatures will help demonstrate how these engravings operated as sources of both didacticism and entertainment. Caricatures expressed anxiety about widows’ and old maids’ role within society yet at the same time revealed these women’s function as a source of mirth. By regularly reminding themselves of widows’ and old maids’ problematic status, other social groups con‹rmed their own social utility. Rapid social and economic change in England during the eighteenth century increased contemporaries’ uneasiness about women’s role in society. The dramatic growth in London’s population, the physical and psychological dislocation produced by a series of foreign wars, and later the horrifying spectacle of the French Revolution all made social stability and the sanctity of the family seem fundamentally important for national survival. Women’s status as guardians of the family seemed most valuable just when it appeared most vulnerable. Women’s behavior therefore became a source of particular public concern and comment. While both young women and old women were satirized for independent behavior that transgressed customary limits, old women received a double dose of criticism. The older the woman, the less likely it was that her unorthodox behavior would be tolerated. At a time when fears of population decline and the prospect of continued war led to the establishment of charities to preserve foundlings and to ensure the safe delivery of poor married women, the public importance of motherhood, and motherhood within marriage in particular, was heightened (Andrew 54–69; Langford 145–47, 638; Gillray, Fashionable Mamma). By giving birth to future English soldiers and sailors, young women proved their social worth. As Bridget Hill notes, old women, in contrast, not only did not help boost the population but rather drained precious social resources (Hill, Women Alone, 1). It is thus not surprising that a signi‹cant number of commentaries ridiculing independent women appeared in late eighteenth-century England. A host of newspaper and magazine articles, novels, plays, sermons, and conduct books explored the fear of women transgressing their appointed roles as obedient daughters, loyal wives, and good mothers. The social value of these traditional roles and the preference for young over old women were reinforced

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through visual representations. While there are many sentimental prints of mothers from the late eighteenth century, for example, there are relatively few of grandmothers (McCreery chaps. 5–6). Explicit criticism of women also frequently took visual form. The old argument that women’s sexual and social appeal was merely transitory was repeated in caricatures such as Beauty’s Lot. This engraving achieves dramatic effect by combining an image of a female skeleton wearing a headdress with her written warning to women: Adorn’d with Tates, I well could Boast, Of Tons and Macaronys Toast; I once was Fair, Young, Frisky, Gay, Could please with songs and Dance the Hay. Dear Bell’s re›ect Ye Mortals see, As I now am so You will be. This preoccupation with women’s vanity and their mortality was heightened by the fact that, perhaps due to their shorter average life span, in the late eighteenth century women were considered to become “middle-aged” and “old” earlier than they would today. Caricatures thus classify many women as old whom we might consider to be barely middle-aged. The author of a letter “To the Editor of the London Magazine” proposing a tax on old maids argued that no single women should be allowed to marry after age thirty-‹ve, “as at that period they shall be deemed incapable of performing any of the necessary functions incident to such happy state” (March 1777, 133). Whether or not this was intended as a serious proposal, its sentiments regarding the uselessness of single old women—in particular their presumed infertility— were widely repeated. As old women were satirized more than young women for their barrenness, vanity, and interest in men, unmarried women were censured more harshly than married women. Married women were satirized, of course, as the continuation of the long visual tradition of ridiculing domineering and unfaithful wives demonstrates. A good example is the design A Man Loaded with Mischief, or Matrimony, which shows a man bent double under the weight of a merry woman with a glass, monkey, and magpie, with the motto: “A Monkey, a Magpie, and Wife; Is the true Emblem of Strife.” This print was allegedly “Drawn by Experience. Engrav’d by Sorrow,” although in fact it is based on earlier designs, including William Hogarth’s Gin Lane (O’Connell 114–15). Yet this is a humorous design by contemporary standards, and the wife is depicted as neither old nor ugly. On the contrary, she appears young and pretty— perhaps too pretty in the opinion of her suffering husband. Other comical prints, such as the ironically titled Strephon and Chloe, depict cozy if unfashionable elderly couples enjoying each other’s company at dances

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and at meals. Such diverse prints indicate that contemporary responses to wives ranged from active resentment to deep affection. Old women without husbands, namely widows and spinsters—known as “old maids”—were treated less generously. Dr. John Gregory warned of the inappropriate behavior of old single women in his popular conduct book A Father’s Legacy to his Daughters: I see some unmarried women, of active, vigorous minds, and great vivacity of spirits, degrading themselves; sometimes by entering into a dissipated course of life, unsuitable to their years, and exposing themselves to the ridicule of girls, who might have been their grandchildren; sometimes by oppressing their acquaintances by impertinent intrusions into their private affairs; and sometimes by being the propagators of scandal and defamation. All this is owing to an exuberant activity of spirit; which, if it had found employment at home, would have rendered them respectable and useful members of society. (57–58) Instead of useful “employment at home,” single women’s “exuberant activity of spirit” is most often expressed through their brash pursuit of men. Single women’s insatiable sexual desire was probably the most common theme of caricatures of unmarried women, both old and young. In Wonders! Wonders!! Wonders!!! (Woodward and Rowlandson), a version of which was published in the so-called Caricature Magazine, the three female sources of amazement include “A modest Woman of Quality,” “A Real Maid of Five and Thirty,” and “A Woman who has continued three Months a Widow” (‹g. 4). The very title of this caricature, which is borrowed from the advertisements of the notorious contemporary quack “Dr. Katterfelto,” conveys the miraculous nature of the individuals described with more than a hint of skepticism (George 8:892). Neither old maids of thirty-‹ve nor widows of three months were believed able to survive for very long without male attention, and indeed the coy appearance of the three women in the design suggests that they are less virtuous than their captions imply. Nor for that matter were “women of quality” believed to be modest, and fashionable women’s immodesty was a stock feature of contemporary caricatures. Fashionable old women were perhaps the most troublesome group of all, as they combined the freedom of their rank with all the negative attributes associated with old women. It is signi‹cant that while the remaining seven “wonders” in this print involve men, none of them refers to sexual behavior or marital status. Rather, the men are associated with their occupations and/or social rank; thus: “An Exciseman with a Conscience,” “An Author with a second suit

Fig. 4. George Woodward and Thomas Rowlandson. Wonders! Wonders!! Wonders!!! Engraving. London: T. Tegg, [1 August 1809]. Reproduced courtesy of the Print Collection, Lewis Walpole Library, Yale University, Farmington

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of Cloaths,” “A Great Man of Common Sense,” among others. Nor are men’s ages referred to, which implies that, in contrast to women, men’s perceived social utility is largely unaffected by their age. Where men’s age is mentioned in the caricatures, it seems to make relatively little difference to men’s behavior. As is true of men in general, old men are not usually discussed in caricatures primarily in terms of their relationships with or attitudes toward women. On the whole old men’s interest in women forms just one dimension of a more broadly de‹ned character. As the engraving The Smoaking Club (Dighton) demonstrates, they are as likely to be shown jovially drinking punch and smoking pipes with their cronies as chasing young women. Even prints that show old men lusting after young women, such as The Ridiculous Match, rarely imply that they are desperate to hang onto their youth, rather merely overambitious in their sexual goals. Old men’s continuing interest in young women may appear comical and even vulgar and embarrassing, but it is widely treated in the caricatures as natural rather than unnatural or obsessive. Similarly, remaining chaste and acting appropriately for one’s age were considered much less important for men than for women in this period. The editors of the Town and Country Magazine seemed to voice general opinion when they remarked in December 1785, “We consider chastity in a man, if a virtue, as a very subordinate one” (“Histories,” December 1785, 625). It was also much easier for men to choose whether or not, and whom, to marry than it was for women. A respondent to the proposal to tax old maids published in the London Magazine defended old maids, claiming: Fidelity, tenderness and sensibility, are not inconsistent with antiquated virginity more than any other state, and surely it is highly injurious in men to insult over the condition, who may when they please enter the married state; there is no man who may not ‹nd a woman worthy his most elevated hopes, if he will give himself the trouble of seeking for her, and be contented with a wife sober, virtuous and affectionate. (“To the Editor,” April 1777, 206) The reference to men as a group—“it is highly injurious in men”—and the wistful tone of this passage suggest that its author may be female, perhaps even an old maid. By describing an old maid’s single state as “a misfortune which she herself must most severely lament,” the author assumes that old maids, like all sensible women, would prefer to be married (“To the Editor,” April 1777, 206). Yet in many ways widowhood was viewed as the most desirable status of all for women—if not for society. A “Lecture on Widows” in the Lon-

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don Magazine explained the comparative advantages of widowhood over the single or married state: A widow is a woman, who, having been freed from the restraint of a single life by matrimony, is delivered from the shackles of a married life by the death of her husband. Thrice happy being! who canst obey the call of pleasure, without following the train of a chaprone; who canst open thy doors to the ›atterer and the beau without scandal; who, at the same moment, mayest enjoy all the freedom of the married life, and receive all the homage of the virgin state! (134) Although the article then proceeds to criticize the ‹ckleness and whimsical airs of some widows, this very objection demonstrates that widows were thought to enjoy greater independence than wives or old maids. Widows who chose to remarry and thereby surrender these special freedoms were widely satirized as deluded by love—or rather lust. Like widows, literary women were both criticized and celebrated for their independence in late eighteenth-century England. While their literary creations were often admired, commentators warned of the dif‹culty women writers faced in obtaining husbands. As the narrator notes in Maria Edgeworth’s “Letter from a Gentleman to his Friend upon the Birth of a Daughter”: Literary ladies will, I am afraid, be losers in love as well as in friendship, by their superiority.—Cupid is a timid, playful child, and is frightened at the helmet of Minerva. It has been observed, that gentlemen are not apt to admire a prodigious quantity of learning and masculine acquirements in the fair sex—we usually consider a certain degree of weakness, both of mind and body, as friendly to female grace. (Letters 33) On the other hand, literary women were increasingly visible in late eighteenth-century English society and made a signi‹cant impression on contemporaries. In the “Answer to the Preceding Letter,” the respondent reminds the critic cited earlier that: You allow, however, that women of literature are much more numerous of late than they were a few years ago; that they make a class in society, and have acquired a considerable degree of consequence, and an appropriate character; how can you then fear that a woman of cultivated understanding should be driven from the society of her own sex in search of dangerous companions amongst ours? (Letters 47)

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This fear of literary women’s association with “dangerous companions” was echoed in many contemporary caricatures. Literary women who were both middle-aged and widows further complicated the picture because they enjoyed freedoms usually permitted only to men. Caricaturists’ treatment of Catharine Macaulay and Hester Thrale reveals general assumptions about widows’ gullibility, mixed with particular regret that such accomplished individuals would have to give up their literary careers on remarriage. That these women might continue to write, as both Macaulay and Thrale to a certain extent did, was apparently considered incompatible with their new marital status. Catharine Macaulay’s representation in caricatures was at once unique and typical of literary widows’ treatment. Macaulay’s extraordinary career as a radical Whig historian earned her the accolade “the Female Politician” (Hill, Republican Virago 61–77, 81). Yet those who disagreed with Macaulay’s politics criticized her, along with male Whig politicians, for misappropriating the accoutrements of liberty for the Whig cause. Thus Macaulay is linked with a group of political oddballs including the controversial Whig politician John Wilkes and the alleged cross-dressing spy the Chevalier D’eon in the engraving A French Capt. of Dragoons brought to bed of Twins, or the cause of the Chevalier’s disappearance explain’d, addressed to the Under Writers of He, and She Policies. While some caricatures treated Macaulay like a man, placing her within the tradition of Whig theorists and politicians, others could not forget that she was a woman. To an even greater extent than her fellow Whigs John Wilkes, Charles James Fox, and Richard Brinsley Sheridan, Macaulay was savagely criticized for her unorthodox personal life. In contrast to these male colleagues, Macaulay’s personal behavior seriously weakened her campaign to be taken seriously as a political thinker. Macaulay was represented, in both an article in the Town and Country Magazine (albeit through a ‹ctional persona) and the caricature A Speedy & Effectual Preparation for the Next World, as the object of Dr. Thomas Wilson’s ‹nancial and romantic support and as a vain old woman who was keen to appear younger and more beautiful than she really was (“Histories,” supplement 1771, 683). Macaulay’s close relationship with the older Dr. Wilson was seen as more humorous than scandalous because Wilson, a wealthy Anglican clergyman and Whig supporter, was regarded as Macaulay’s social (if not intellectual) equal or superior. While Wilson, a widower, was teased for his overindulgence of Macaulay’s genius (he put both his home in Bath and his library at her disposal), this bene‹cence contained a measure of authority over her. Although unconventional, Wilson’s patronage of Macaulay was largely accepted because it maintained the power relations between the sexes (Hill, Republican Virago 78–106).

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In contrast, Macaulay’s sudden remarriage in 1778 to a man both much younger and much less well established than herself or Dr. Wilson sparked savage criticism. This was not because William Graham was intellectually inferior but because as a poor Scottish clergyman he could offer Macaulay none of the ‹nancial and social security expected from a husband. The controversial reputation of his brother, the fashionable quack Dr. James Graham, who had treated Macaulay and introduced her to William, further weakened his case. Commentators agreed that the Grahams had bamboozled Macaulay with their charm in order to gain access to her money and social status (Hill, Republican Virago 108–9). Mutual affection was deemed insuf‹cient justi‹cation for a marriage of such different characters. As a letter “To the Editor of the Town and Country Magazine” from “An Admirer of Consistency” accompanying the woodcut print The Auspicious Marriage! put it: The disparity of their ages and stations, the contrast of their political notions, and prior pursuits in life, seem to be almost incompatible, and could only be reconciled by that powerful passion (perhaps upon this occasion mis-called) love. (623–24) Hester Thrale faced similar treatment to Catharine Macaulay on her remarriage. A prominent literary hostess, writer, and friend of Dr. Johnson and Frances Burney, Thrale was celebrated for her wit and hospitality throughout her union with the brewer Henry Thrale and during her widowhood. Perhaps Thrale was prized more for the support she offered her talented friends than for her own literary efforts. Certainly these friends regarded her remarriage as almost a personal affront to their intelligence and sensibility. Moreover, Thrale’s remarriage, like Macaulay’s, caused a sensation well beyond her immediate circle. There was widespread surprise that an intelligent, ‹nancially secure, middleaged widow would risk losing her established set of friends and chaste reputation by marrying a foreign musician. Thrale’s evident passion for her new husband, Gabriel Piozzi, was regarded as unbecoming, even distasteful. In addition to many written commentaries (McCarthy 34–39), this disgust was expressed through crude caricatures that left little to the viewer’s imagination. In Signor Pi__ z__ i ravishing Mrs. Thr__e, for example, Thrale sits next to Piozzi on a sofa and exclaims rapturously, “Your Music has ravished me, and your Instrument is large and delightful.” Thrale’s friend Dr. Johnson, who stands nearby, frowning, continues the sexual innuendo by commenting, “She has quitted Literature for a Fiddlestick.” A fourth ‹gure stands near a doorway and carries what appears to be a whip. He says, “She had better to have stuck to Homebrewed,” indicating that he is Thrale’s domineering (and now deceased) ‹rst husband, Henry Thrale. While Thrale’s decision to remarry is

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explained by sexual desire, Piozzi’s decision, like William Graham’s, is shown to be motivated by desire for wealth. Thus Signor Piozzi replies to Thrale, “And me like de Museek of your Guineas.” Signor Pi__z__i ravishing Mrs. Thr__e resembles caricatures published to accompany articles in the semipornographic Rambler’s Magazine. A good example is the untitled print published opposite the article “A New Curtain Lecture.” Here Thrale accuses Piozzi of marrying her for her money, while Piozzi expresses surprise at her sexual dissatisfaction: “Me did not tink, at your age—dat you had de carnal appetites.” While on one level operating as highly personalized attacks on Hester Thrale, such caricatures make a more general point. These combinations of verbal and visual argument reinforce the impropriety of literary widows’ sexual desire, while emphasizing that their new husbands are motivated purely by greed and are thus unworthy partners. Although a ‹ctional exchange, the earlier dialogue conveys the cynicism with which contemporaries viewed the remarriages of talented widows to relatively unestablished foreigners. The fact that both William Graham (Scottish) and Gabriel Piozzi (Italian) are foreign contributes to the charge that independent widows are consciously rejecting the mores of English society. In turn, society abhors such behavior: no self-respecting Englishman, the caricatures imply, would put up with such lewd and sel‹sh wives. So while the new husbands are criticized for their avarice, it is the older widows who attract the greater censure. Macaulay’s and Thrale’s overt sexual desire con‹rms that, despite their literary talents, they are fundamentally no different from other old women. Ironically, while such desire indubitably proves their feminine nature, refuting earlier criticism that they are too masculine, Macaulay’s and Thrale’s open quest for sexual ful‹llment is ultimately no more acceptable than that of any other old widow. Sexual desire was not of course limited to elderly widows, as the print Wonders! Wonders!! Wonders!!! demonstrates. Here “A Real Maid of Five and Thirty” is one of the three female “wonders.” Even more than widows, old maids were ridiculed for attempting to make themselves sexually attractive to men. One of the most explicit caricatures on this theme is Comfort for an Old Maid, which like Wonders! Wonders!! Wonders!!! was drawn by George Woodward and published in Tegg’s Caricature Magazine. In this design the old maid asks her footman, “John—how do you like my fashionable Muff and Tippett—don’t you think I look charmingly today.” The uncouth footman replies in a thick Yorkshire accent with a comical expression of horror on his face: Why Ma am I be but a Sarvant and Sarvitude they say is no inheritance—but as a Yorkshire-man I likes to speak my mind—then I do

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think you look for all the world like a Hog in Armour—and I think it a sheame an Old Woman like you should be running after the Men at your time of life—you had better think of summat else—for you look Nation Sickly that’s for sartain. The old maid in this design attracts condemnation for two reasons. Not only does she make herself ridiculous by her unsuitable dress, but by asking her rustic servant’s opinion of her appearance she violates the distinction between cultured employer and uncultured servant, and between modest and immodest women. Male horror at impudent old women is made even more explicit in the circa-1810 caricature An Old Ewe Drest Lamb Fashion, which contrasts an old woman dressed in youthful fashion with both an old beggar woman and a young, comely woman (‹g. 5). So convincing do the woman’s youthful dress and ‹gure appear from behind that it is not until the rakes following her glimpse her face that they realize they have been chasing an old and ugly woman. This “joke,” which is relayed visually (through the design) as well as verbally (through the caption), reinforces the point, which we have already noted in Beauty’s Lot, that women’s beauty is itself a mirage, easily manipulated by women to deceive men. The caption below the design emphasizes the masculine perspective of the print’s viewers: Walking fast and far to overtake a Woman, whose shape and air as viewed in derriere, you have decided that her Face is Angelic, till on eagerly turning round as you pass her—you are petri‹ed by a Gorgon. This passage reveals both the extent to which facial beauty was considered the de‹ning element of female beauty and the depth of male resentment of apparent female deception. Although the men’s predatory behavior is rude by any standard, it is the old woman who is really at fault. Rather than imitating the sexy young woman who walks in the opposite direction, the old woman should be dressed more soberly. Like her contemporary the beggar woman, the old woman would then be rightly ignored by the lustful men. Once again different conceptions of acceptable sexual behavior for men and women are linked to different attitudes to their ages. While the old woman is censured for trying to appear younger, the fact that two of the rakes who follow her do not appear to be much if any younger than she is does not mitigate her error. She is acting inappropriately for her age; the men are not. This does not prevent the design from poking fun at the men’s horror at their mistake; moreover, their own ugliness, which is comparable to the old woman’s, is also satirized. Perhaps these men deserve such an ugly female partner. Yet while laughing at the men’s misfortune, the caricature’s primary aim is to

Fig. 5. Thomas Rowlandson. An Old Ewe Drest Lamb Fashion. Col. engraving. London: T. Tegg, [25 October 1810]. Reproduced courtesy of the Print Collection, Lewis Walpole Library, Yale University, Farmington

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chastise the old woman. This masculine perspective is a common feature of early nineteenth-century caricatures. Such prints often reflect the perspective of middle-class London men. Thus Thomas Rowlandson’s caricature Miseries of London, based on James Beresford’s comical commentary the Miseries of Human Life, illustrates the disgruntled male narrator’s daily disappointments. This link between social satire and an urban masculine perspective suggests that urban men composed at least part of such caricatures’ intended audience. In turn caricatures expressed these men’s feelings of confusion and ambiguity toward the women they encountered on the streets of London. In addition to dress, caricatures depict old women relying on cosmetics to make themselves appear younger and more desirable to men. Perhaps the most powerful visual critique of an old woman’s use of cosmetics is A Speedy & Effectual Preparation for the Next World. This caricature depicts Catharine Macaulay sitting at a dressing table, applying rouge to her face. The design achieves dramatic impact through Macaulay’s complete obliviousness to the symbols of death that surround her. She looks directly into a mirror, but instead of seeing the miniature horses pulling a hearse down her high headdress or the wispyhaired skeleton representing Death (or perhaps her future self?) standing behind her holding an hourglass, she sees only her “youthful” face. Nor does she acknowledge the portrait of a clergyman, probably intended for her patron and admirer Dr. Wilson, that hangs above her on the wall to her left. These emblems may be included to emphasize Macaulay’s political and personal myopia. Macaulay was attacked by many contemporaries for excessive pride in her looks and in her intellectual abilities (Hill, Republican Virago, 97–98, 239–40). More generally, these vanitas emblems serve to remind the viewer that Macaulay is wasting her time applying rouge in the hope of appearing younger. Her time on earth is running out, and in fact it is running out more quickly due to her use of cosmetics. The recent death of one of the beautiful Gunning sisters, Maria, Countess of Coventry, was attributed to lead poisoning from cosmetics (Famous Beauties 117–19). Thus, ironically, devices employed by women to help keep them young actually hastened their death. Old women were frequently associated in caricatures with vain attempts to cheat death. Thomas Rowlandson depicted old women resisting death in several designs for the English Dance of Death series of prints and verses, most notably The Virago and The Maiden Ladies. The link made in prints among old women, appearance, and death suggests society’s anxiety about old women’s reluctance to accept their fate. Caricatures point out to old women the absurdity of their attempts to cheat death, while reassuring others that troublesome old women’s lives will in fact soon come to an end.

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As well as disguising their faces with cosmetics, women’s attempts to improve their appearance using beauty aids were ridiculed in caricatures. While young women were lightly criticized for employing cork rumps, false hair, and arti‹cial busts, old women received harsher treatment, as the caricature Celia Retiring (Woodward and Roberts) indicates (‹g. 6). This print, another George Woodward design published in Thomas Tegg’s Caricature Magazine, may or may not have been directly inspired by Jonathan Swift’s satirical poem “A Beautiful Young Nymph Going to Bed” of 1731, but it employs the same theme of female deception. In this poem, an ugly and diseased whore, as far removed from “a beautiful young nymph” as it is possible to be, returns to her room after an unsuccessful night seeking customers in Covent Garden. She proceeds to undress and in so doing reveals the loathsome nature of her arti‹cial construction. This scene is reminiscent of Swift’s description of Celia’s dressing table in his earlier poem “The Lady’s Dressing Room” and perhaps also alludes to Alexander Pope’s description of Belinda’s dressing table in “The Rape of the Lock” (I.121–44). Indeed, the name “Celia” in the caricature’s title may be inspired by the “haughty Celia” in “The Lady’s Dressing Room” who takes ‹ve hours to dress and leaves behind a trail of ‹lthy beauty aids in her dressing room. These images are repeated in the caricature, where Celia reveals the catalog of arti‹cial implements she employs to impress Lord Ban-dash in her instructions to her maid, Molly: Molly—mind what I say to you—lay my wig on the top of the drawers—take care of my bosom—and don’t rumple it—lay my eye in the dressing box, and the row of teeth by the side of it—and call in again for my eye-brows—lay every-thing in such a manner that I may easily ‹nd them in the morning as I wish to be made up by twelve precisely—in order to meet my Lord Ban-dash. This written summary of the visual evidence heightens the viewer’s disgust at the scene. With so many additives, old women, like the dressing tables in the poems, are themselves junk heaps. In addition to repulsing readers with this list of arti‹cial body parts, Celia Retiring conveys its message visually. The dramatic visual contrast between the bald, bony, and hideous mistress and the blooming, fresh-faced, young servant maid con‹rms not only the physical but the moral gap between the two women. Caricatures frequently heighten the contrast between old women’s arti‹ciality and young women’s innocence by claiming that aristocratic women are more immoral than lower-class women. Old aristocratic women such as Celia are therefore represented as less good as well as less beautiful than humble maidservants such as Molly. The mistress symbol-

Fig. 6. George Woodward and P. Roberts. Celia Retiring. Engraving. London: P. Roberts, [1803?]. Reproduced courtesy of the Print Collection, Lewis Walpole Library, Yale University, Farmington

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izes the corruption both of old women and of aristocratic society, and her servant the comparative innocence of young women and the lower classes. This contrast is repeated in J. Brett’s caricature Nature. Art., where a young woman carrying a rake is compared with an old woman painting her face. Even more pointedly, an actual aristocrat, Lady Archer, is shown literally constructing her face in a caricature entitled Six Stages of Mending a Face. The dangers inherent in exposing an innocent girl to a corrupt aristocrat are explored in Maria Edgeworth’s novel Belinda, where Lady Delacour introduces the younger, more innocent (albeit more sensible) Belinda to the temptations and horrors of her own dissipated lifestyle. While the maidservant’s indifferent expression in Celia Retiring makes it unclear what impact her mistress’s example will have on her own behavior, the caricature emphasizes that the threat of upper-class women leading servants astray is both immediate and widespread. While all old women who pretend to be younger and more beautiful than they really are risk censure, old maids are criticized especially harshly. A correspondent in the Rambler’s Magazine de‹nes an old maid in the following uncompromising manner: In short, an old maid is opposite to every thing that nature constituted amiable, generous, good, or true. She is the pest of society, a hypocrite amongst men and women, a Pharisee in the eye of Heaven and a rank putrid abomination to the deity. (“Sketch” 176) Although extreme, this de‹nition was probably not unrepresentative of contemporary fears of old maids’ in›uence within society. Unlike the categories of old wives and widows, which often tend to blend together, old maids are associated with a set of speci‹c visual characteristics and behaviors that make them easily recognizable within contemporary caricatures. These include a very scrawny, emaciated appearance; an extreme fondness for pets, in particular cats, parrots, and monkeys; and a love of music, or rather the cacophonous sounds produced by themselves and/or their menagerie. While not fully developed, the idea that old maids’ thin and scrawny bodies re›ect their physical barrenness is expressed in numerous caricatures that draw attention to their bony frames. For example, the print Parmasan Cheese compares an old woman’s long, stringy body with parmesan cheese. This trope had been employed earlier by William Hogarth in his engraving Morning from the Four Times of the Day series. Hogarth’s design contrasts the tall, narrow, and literally chilly shape of a fashionably dressed old woman on her way to church with the short, plump, and warm ‹gures of young women cuddling their lovers outside a coffeehouse on a winter morning. Thinness combined with a fondness for pets, especially cats, contribute to old maids’ witchlike demeanor, and indeed several caricatures

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depict old maids as witches. This theme is treated comically as well as seriously. In the comical print Old Tabbies attending a favourite Cat’s Funeral (Goodnight), for example, which was based on a design by the amateur Frederick George Byron, seven old maids walk through a churchyard toward a church, the pair in front carrying a small cat-sized cof‹n. The women are all tall and thin, and their hats and shawls add to their witchlike appearance. The presence of three headstones decorated with skull-and-crossbones adds to the morbidness of the scene. Yet the overall tone of the design is melodramatic. Six of the women carry live cats under their arms like lapdogs, while the seventh, presumably the mistress of the dead cat, wipes her eyes with a handkerchief and appears ostentatiously distressed. Two of the three pairs of mourners scowl angrily at each other. Their pettiness and hypocrisy undermine the solemnity of the occasion and reinforce the stereotype of the ridiculous old maid. The pointlessness of the scene is summed up by the absurd verse inscribed on a headstone in the right section of the design: O Cruel death To please thy hungry pallet Has crop’t my lettuce To make thy self a sallet One can almost hear the old maids wailing and squawking in this scene. Such a display of emotion is a perversion of mothers’ wailing for dead children or wives’ lamentations for dead husbands. While such expressions of grief are appropriate in the case of humans, they are completely unjusti‹ed in the case of animals. Such behavior demonstrates old maids’ failure to adhere to the mores of mainstream society. Indeed, the old maids’ noise is closer to cats’ squalling than human cries in its lack of harmony and good purpose. The association of music with harmony and love was a very old one; James Gillray’s pair Harmony before Matrimony and Matrimonial-Harmonics provides just two examples of many caricatures that use the metaphor of women creating harmonious and unharmonious music to convey happiness and unhappiness. Like their wizened, ugly bodies, old maids’ creation and enjoyment of harsh music re›ect their own lack of harmony and purpose in life. Thus in C. Churchill’s caricature Time has not Thin’d my Flowing Hair!! an old maid with medusalike hair strums a guitar and sings, undoubtedly out of tune, with no audience but herself. Such an image sums up the late eighteenth-century view of old maids as not only lonely and deluded women but as fundamentally isolated from society’s expectations and requirements. The idea that such women might be happy, let alone satis‹ed with their lives, was never seriously explored by contemporaries. Old maids undoubtedly received the harshest criticism of all old

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women in late eighteenth-century English society. Yet they often appear in caricatures as more ridiculous than dangerous, deserving pity rather than anger. Many designs suggest that if only old maids could be persuaded to see the error of their ways, they might end their foolish and inappropriate behavior. Moreover, old maids were not alone in being criticized for behavior inappropriate for their years. As we have seen, widows and even old wives were also attacked for their independent behavior. Old single women’s vanity, barrenness, sexual voraciousness, and quarrelsome nature were seized upon by commentators as the causes of these women’s unhappiness and of society’s frustration with them. Although frequently employing an urban male perspective, as for example in An Old Ewe Drest Lamb Fashion, caricatures of old women suggest more general uneasiness with the position of independent women in society. These anxieties about old women may of course be found in other periods and societies. Yet it was the particular combination of a well-developed tradition of graphic satire with the ongoing philosophical debate over the role of women that gave rise to such a lively genre of commentary as engraved caricatures of old single women in late eighteenth-century England. These caricatures may express old arguments, but they do so through an innovative combination of visual and written satire. Caricatures’ visual “jokes” complement and strengthen the points made in written “jokes.” Caricatures strengthen and sharpen the attacks on old single women made in newspapers and in periodicals such as the London Magazine, Rambler’s Magazine, Town and Country Magazine, and other written commentaries. While frequently crude and vicious, contemporary humor often leavens the purely misogynistic elements. Such designs seem intended to elicit smiles and chuckles from their viewers rather than muttered oaths and gritted teeth. In any case, in order to ful‹ll their commercial function such engravings would have had to capture the attention of viewers long enough for them to consider making a purchase. Eighteenth-century English caricatures of old single women represent an important element of the wider contemporary debate over women. When balanced with other types of commentaries such as newspaper and periodical as well as literary accounts, these caricatures help re‹ne our understanding of late eighteenth-century English attitudes to old women, and by extension all women. In turn these caricatures demonstrate the central role played by combinations of visual and verbal argument in late eighteenth-century English society.

works cited Andrew, Donna T. Philanthropy and Police: London Charity in the Eighteenth Century. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1989.

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The Auspicious Marriage! Woodcut. Town and Country Magazine, December 1778, 623. Beauty’s Lot. Engraving. London, 1 February 1778. In Bild als Waffe: Mittel und Motive der Karikatur in fünf Jahrhunderten, ed. Monika Arndt et al., 289. Katalog bearbeitet von Jürgen Döring. 2d ed. München: Prestel, 1985. Brett, J. Nature. Art. Engraving. London: Laurie and Whittle, 18 March 1795. Lewis Walpole Library, Yale University, Farmington. The Buck’s Bottle Companion. London, 1775. Churchill, C. [O’ Keefe?]. Time has not Thin’d my Flowing Hair!! Engraving. London: H. Humphrey, 13 July [1795?]. London, British Museum. George no. 8764. Dighton, R. The Smoaking Club. Engraving. London: Bowles and Carver, [ca. 1793]. London, British Museum. George no. 8416. Edgeworth, Maria. Belinda. 1801. Ed. Eiléan ní Chuillean á in. London: Everyman, 1993. ———. Letters for Literary Ladies. To Which is added, An Essay on the Noble Science of Self-Justi‹cation. 2d ed. London, 1799. Famous Beauties of Two Reigns, Being an Account of Some Fair Women of Stuart and Georgian Times by Mary Craven with a Chapter on Fashion in Femininity by Martin Hume. London: Eveleigh Nash, 1906. A French Capt. of Dragoons brought to bed of Twins, or the cause of the Chevalier’s disappearance explain’d, addressed to the Under Writers of He, and She Policies. Engraving. London: S. Hooper, 1 September 1771. Northumberland Album, Collection of Hon. Christopher Lennox-Boyd, Buckinghamshire. George, M. Dorothy. Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum. 11 vols. London: British Museum, 1935–54. Gillray, James. The Fashionable Mamma,—or—The Convenience of Modern Dress. Col. engraving. London: H. Humphrey, 15 February 1796. London, British Museum. George no. 8897. ———. Harmony before Matrimony. Engraving. London: H. Humphrey, 25 October 1805. London, British Museum. George no. 10472. ———. Matrimonial-Harmonics. Engraving. London: H. Humphrey, 25 October 1805. London, British Museum. George no. 10473. Goodnight, C. Old Tabbies attending a favourite Cat’s Funeral. Engraving. London: Laurie and Whittle, 12 May 1794. London, British Museum. George no. 8558. This caricature was adapted from Frederick George Byron’s earlier design. I would like to thank Professor John Riely for this information. Gregory, John. A Father’s Legacy to his Daughters. London, [1809]. Hill, Bridget. The Republican Virago: The Life and Times of Catharine Macaulay, Historian. Oxford: Clarendon, 1992. ———. Women Alone: Spinsters in England, 1660–1850. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2001. “Histories of the Tête-à-Tête annexed; . . .” Town and Country Magazine, supplement 1771, 681–83. “Histories of the Tête-à-Tête annexed; . . .” Town and Country Magazine, December 1785, 625–26.

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Hogarth, William. The Four Times of the Day, Morning. Plate I. Engraving from painting. London, May 1738. In Engravings by Hogarth, 101 Prints, ed. Sean Shesgreen, plate 42. New York: Dover, 1973. Langford, Paul. A Polite and Commercial People: England, 1727–1738. Oxford: Clarendon, 1989. “A Lecture on Widows.” London Magazine, March 1777, 134–35. Leppert, Richard. Music and Image: Domesticity, Ideology and Socio-Cultural Formation in Eighteenth-Century England. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988. A Man Loaded with Mischief, or Matrimony. Engraving. London: Bowles and Carver, ca. 1770. London, British Museum. George no. 4495. McCarthy, William. Hester Thrale Piozzi: Portrait of a Literary Woman. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1985. McCreery, Cindy. “Satiric Prints of Women in Late Eighteenth-Century England.” Ph.D. diss., University of Oxford, 1996. ———. Uneasy Fascination: Satirical Prints of Women in Late EighteenthCentury England. Oxford: Oxford University Press, in press. “A New Curtain Lecture. Persons of the Dialogue: Signor Pi__i, Mrs. Thr__e, and Betty.” Article and engraving. Rambler’s Magazine, September 1784, 321–22. O’Connell, Sheila. The Popular Print in England 1550–1850. London: British Museum Press, 1999. Parmasan Cheese. Engraving. London: S. W. Fores, 22 July 1786. London, British Museum. George no. 7074. Pope, Alexander. “The Rape of the Lock.” In The Rape of the Lock and other Poems, ed. Geoffrey Tillotson, 155–57. 3d ed. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1966. The Ridiculous Match. Engraving. Oxford Magazine, July 1768, opp. 37. Rowlandson, Thomas. The Maiden Ladies. Engraving. London: R. Ackermann, 1 July 1814. In Rowlandson’s Drawings for the English Dance of Death, intro. and notes by Robert R. Wark, plate 10. San Marino, Calif.: Huntington Library, 1966. ———. Miseries of Human Life. Engraving. London, 1807. London, British Museum. George no. 10825. ———. An Old Ewe Drest Lamb Fashion. Col. engraving. London: T. Tegg, [25 Oct. 1810]; Caricature Magazine 1.39. Lewis Walpole Library, Yale University, Farmington. ———. The Virago. Engraving. London: R. Ackermann, 1 June 1814. In Rowlandson’s Drawings for the English Dance of Death, intro. and notes by Robert R. Wark, plate 7. San Marino, Calif.: Huntington Library, 1966. Signor Pi__z__i ravishing Mrs. Thr__e. Engraving. London, [ca. 1784]. Pierpont Morgan Library. Peel Collection. Reel 2, vol. 5, no. 282. Six Stages of Mending a Face. Col. engraving. London: S. W. Fores, 29 May 1792. London, British Museum. George no. 8174. “Sketch of an Old Maid.” Rambler’s Magazine, April 1783, 176–77. A Speedy & Effectual Preparation for the Next World. Col. engraving. London: M. Darly, 1 May 1771. London, British Museum. George no. 5441.

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Strephon and Chloe. Engraving. London, 28 November 1772. London, British Museum. George no. 4755. Swift, Jonathan. “A Beautiful Young Nymph Going to Bed.” In The Writings of Jonathan Swift: Authoritative Texts, Backgrounds, Criticism, ed. Robert A. Greenberg and William Bowman Piper, 538–40. New York: W. W. Norton, 1973. ———. “The Lady’s Dressing Room.” In The Writings of Jonathan Swift: Authoritative Texts, Backgrounds, Criticism, ed. Robert A. Greenberg and William Bowman Piper, 535–38. New York: W. W. Norton, 1973. “To the Editor of the London Magazine.” London Magazine, March 1777, 132–33. “To the Editor of the London Magazine.” London Magazine, April 1777, 205–6. “To the Editor of the Town and Country Magazine.” Town and Country Magazine, December 1778, 623–24. Woodward, George, and P. Roberts. Celia Retiring. Engraving. London: P. Roberts, [1803?]; Caricature Magazine 5.80. Lewis Walpole Library, Yale University, Farmington. Woodward, George, and Thomas Rowlandson. Comfort for an Old Maid. Col. engraving. Caricature Magazine 2.64. London: T. Tegg, [ca. 1800]. Lewis Walpole Library, Yale University, Farmington. ———. Wonders! Wonders!! Wonders!!! Engraving. London: T. Tegg, [1 August 1809]. Lewis Walpole Library, Yale University, Farmington.

Sensibility and Speculation emma hamilton

Betsy Bolton

Ieventually n 1786, George Romney used Emma Hart as a model for a painting entitled Sensibility. Underscoring the odd combination of nature and arti‹ce associated with sensibility, the painting privileged feeling over context. Its background—trees, hills, and sweeping clouds— hovers between a realistic landscape and the painted backdrop for a theater; in the foreground, half kneeling on the edge of a table, the model reaches out to touch a tall but insubstantial potted plant. Both the plant and the backdrop frame and enclose nature, insisting on the arti‹ce of its reproduction—yet the wind in the background also seems real enough to lift the scarf draped over the ‹gure’s left shoulder. The mixed arti‹ce of the scenery is recapitulated in the self-dramatizing pose of Sensibility herself. Her left hand, extended toward the plant, has its ‹ngers spread; the right hand is held to her bosom. Her eyes intent, her lips parted, the performer seems fully engaged in the “attitude”—sensibility—she enacts. The title and indeed the concept of the painting were apparently suggested to Romney by William Hayley, a minor poet, playwright, patron, and biographer. In his Life of Romney, Hayley tells the story this way: During my visit to Romney in November, I happened to ‹nd him one morning contemplating by himself, a recently coloured head, on a small canvas. I expressed my admiration of his un‹nished work in the following terms:— “This is a most happy beginning: you never painted a female head with such exquisite expression; you have only to enlarge your canvas, introduce the shrub mimosa, growing in a vase, with a hand of this ‹gure approaching its leaves, and you may call your picture a personi‹cation of Sensibility.”— “I like your suggestion, replied the painter, and will enlarge my canvas immediately.” (120–21) Hayley’s account claims the sensibility of the painting as his own and goes on to tell how the painting ended up in his possession as part of a real estate deal. Of course, the attitude and “exquisite expression” that 133

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made the painting an apt personi‹cation of Sensibility might be said to have “belonged” rather to the model, Emma Hart—yet Hart’s own status as the artistic and sexual possession of a series of men remained at issue throughout the bulk of her public career. In many ways, Emma Hart—or Emma, Lady Hamilton, as she came to be—might be described as the Marilyn Monroe of the late eighteenth century. Both women constituted for their times a symbol of sexuality and embodied some crucial ingredient of national or cultural identity. Emma Hamilton captured the imagination of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries ‹rst by her “Attitudes,” moving but silent improvisations on the form of antique statues; next by her rise from humble birth and dubious morality to the exalted position of Lady and “ambassadress”; and ‹nally by her unapologetic love affair with Horatio Nelson, the “Hero of the Nile.” For a society frightened by the extreme transformations of the French Revolution, Emma Hamilton held out the promise of a social advance loyal to existing structures of nobility, as well as a model of sympathetic heroism available to all. Yet to many in the upper echelons of society, Lady Hamilton’s performative persona, transgressing the boundaries of class and gender alike, seemed vulgar and excessive. That vulgarity has never limited Hamilton’s power to fascinate audiences, however. The last thirty years have produced new biographies by David Simpson and Flora Fraser, as well as Susan Sontag’s novel The Volcano Lover; these books replace a trio of biographies published at the turn of the century and another half-dozen published since. In 1941, Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh starred as the star-crossed lovers in That Hamilton Woman, a ‹lm Winston Churchill watched three hundred times over the course of his life—or so Flora Fraser claims. While the ‹lm romanticizes the Hamilton-Nelson affair, the more recent British television show Black Adder uses Lady Hamilton as the butt of endless ribald jokes; together, the two media thus maintain the ambivalence of Emma Hamilton’s reputation while demonstrating the strength of her ongoing claim to attention. What can we learn about Hamilton’s period—and our own investment in its history—from the ‹gure of this cultural icon? First, her outrageous career marks the uncomfortable boundary between romance and vulgar economic interest. Demonstrating sympathetic engagement and evoking ‹nancial speculation, her much-acclaimed “sensibility” facilitated Hamilton’s rise from lower-class unwed mother to British “ambassadress.” On several levels, her career exempli‹es the fall of romance into economic networks and constraints; yet it also shows the romance dream of transformation surviving that fall. Second, the success of Emma Hart’s “Attitudes” (described later) suggests the importance of “attitude” and performance in a newly entrepreneurial society. Indeed, one might argue

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that the posturing and self-promotion of Horatio Nelson, the “Hero of the Nile,” merely complemented Hamilton’s performances. Finally, the caricatures that registered the return of Nelson and the Hamiltons to England sketch both the (gendered) limits of a belief in romance and the robust persistence of a desire for transformation. The caricatures worked to reestablish social structures and divisions, reclaiming for the spectator—and the hero Nelson—the mobility Emma Hamilton had temporarily enjoyed and exploited. Still, these caricatures retain an ambivalent respect for the heroine of a romance somehow larger than life. Emma Hamilton and her varied career fascinated and continue to fascinate because they so integrate romance and farce that not even a focus on her unabashed and transgressive appetites—or the canny exploitation of her own reputation for sensibility—seems able to destroy the dream of transformation she embodied. 1. speculation and domesticity Emma’s early career as artist’s model and kept mistress shows perhaps most clearly the economic constraints delimiting late eighteenth-century romance narratives, as well as the overlap of speculation and sympathy that constituted sensibility. Pregnant and abandoned by her ‹rst “protector,” Emma appealed to a young political hopeful named Charles Greville for aid. He undertook to support her, put her child out to foster care, worked to domesticate her somewhat unruly temper, and employed her as a model to the young artist George Romney. According to Hayley, Emma had “exquisite taste, and such expressive powers as could furnish to an historical painter an inspiring model for the various characters either delicate or sublime. . . . Her features, like the language of Shakespeare, could exhibit all the gradations of every passion with a most fascinating truth and felicity of expression” (Life 119). Emma’s sympathy for the characters she portrayed, her emotional investment in a wide variety of roles, helped produce impressive paintings—and ‹nancial pro‹ts. For Greville, then, Emma constituted both a ‹nancial speculation (in artwork) and a ‹gure of private property (a kept woman, a housekeepercum-mistress). Economic or ‹nancial “speculation” in the sense we understand it today came into the English language during the latter part of the eighteenth century: the Oxford English Dictionary’s ‹rst example of this meaning dates from 1774. Adam Smith described the phenomenon in The Wealth of Nations (1776): The speculative merchant exercises no one regular, established, or well-known branch of business. . . . He enters into every trade, when he foresees that it is likely to be more than commonly

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pro‹table, and he quits it when he foresees that its pro‹ts are likely to return to the level of other trades. . . . A bold adventurer may sometimes acquire a considerable fortune by two or three successful speculations; but is just as likely to lose one by two or three unsuccessful ones. (1:116) Speculation, associated with the faculty of sight on the one hand and with theoretical or abstract thought on the other, must have seemed a logical term to apply to this new mode of economic acquisition. When Smith speaks of “philosophers or men of speculation, whose trade is not to do anything, but to observe everything” (1:11), he means speculation in the sense of abstract thought—but one might also say of those who speculate on the market that their trade is “not to do anything.” They live on the abstractions of ‹nance rather than on the more familiar forms of labor or trade. At the same time, early forms of speculation found one objective correlative in the form of paintings. The Oxford English Dictionary’s ‹rst example of the word suggestively mingles the visual and ‹nancial: Horace Walpole wrote in 1774 that “next to gaming, which subsides a little from want of materials, the predominant folly is pictures—I beg their pardon for associating them with gaming. Sir George Collbroke, a citizen, and martyr to what is called speculation, had his pictures sold by auction last week. A view of Nimeguen by Cuyp, not large, and which he had bought very dearly for seventy guineas, sold for two hundred and ninety!” (23:569) Walpole brings out the extent to which speculating on a commodity market almost always means gambling on public taste and often on the intersection of ‹nancial and aesthetic values. Walpole’s friend Sir William Hamilton—and Sir William’s nephew Charles Greville—were also “martyrs to speculation.” The two men collected paintings, sculpture, “minerals” (precious and semiprecious stones), and the art of antiquity. Uncle and nephew alike supported their expanding collections by selling various pieces at a pro‹t: speculating in artwork. When, against his better judgment, Greville took as mistress a young woman already pregnant by another man, he was quick to put the affair on a businesslike (and speculative) footing. He asked for young Emily Lyons’s considered agreement to a plan of domestic self-restraint—in a letter that oddly con›ates sexual and ‹nancial extravagance. He begins by scolding her for past imprudence— “it was your duty to deserve good treatment, & it gave me great concern to see you imprudent the ‹rst time you came to G: from the country . . . [T]o prove to you that I do not accuse you falsly I only mention 5 guineas, & half a guinea for coach.” Where one would expect to ‹nd a description of ›irtatiousness or loose living, Greville instead offers an example of extravagant spending—

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which may in turn stand in for a more sexual transgression. After this opening scold, he explains, “if you mean to have my protection I must ‹rst know from you that you are clear of every connexion, & that you will never take them again without my consent. . . . [I]f you do not forfeit my esteem perhaps my Emily may be happy” (Morrison 1:126). Happiness and protection are the rewards of restraint, but the threat of forfeiture remains ever present. Greville reined in Emma’s inclinations toward ‹nancial extravagance by putting her in charge of a stringent housekeeping budget: “Emma Hart’s Day Books” of domestic accounts offered such a pretty performance of domesticity-in-training that they were preserved years later by both Greville and Hamilton (Sichel 58). At the same time, Greville tried to turn a pro‹t on his new acquisition by having his mistress serve as model to the up-and-coming young painter George Romney: the artist recorded over three hundred sittings between 1782 and 1786. Emma’s education under Greville’s direction thus followed two contradictory trends: on the one hand, she was asked to conform to a model of stable, reserved, domestic femininity. At the same time, however, she was also asked to be a changeling, to transform herself into a vengeful Medea, a powerful Circe, an abandoned Ariadne. These two separate models of performance intersected most vividly as Romney used Emma to illustrate William Hayley’s The Triumphs of Temper. Written in six cantos and explicitly modeled on Pope’s “Rape of the Lock,” Hayley’s mock-heroic lady’s epic presented a kind of conduct book in verse. The poem used allegorical extravagance to promote domestic self-restraint: cantos alternate between allegorical dream sequences and more “realistic” episodes demonstrating the need for feminine self-control. While the mock epic promises to reward good behavior with domestic bliss, however, the heroine’s marriage opportunities are repeatedly linked to the possibility of her attendance at a masquerade—and the masquerade is loosely equated in turn with the mutability of the female character or condition: She’s everything by starts and nothing long, But in the space of one revolving hour Flies thro’ all states of poverty and power, All forms on whom her veering mind can pitch, Sultana, Gipsy, Goddess, nymph, and witch. At length, her soul with Shakespeare’s magic fraught, The wand of Ariel ‹xed her roving thought. (Hayley, Triumphs I] The heroine Serena’s roving thoughts about the masquerade, ›ying through “all states of poverty and power,” suggest a certain savvy about the marriage market, a grasp of how speculative her own ‹nancial situa-

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tion might be. Yet the poem disavows this speculative wisdom: the allegorical cantos work to domesticate the mobility of masquerade costumes by using the trappings of costume and spectacle to preach the virtues of domestic self-restraint. Hayley’s Triumphs of Temper was popular with a substantial female audience—which suggests that the tension between domestic selfrestraint and the necessary mobility of ‹nancial and marital speculation was on some level familiar. Certainly Emma Hart, Lady Hamilton-to-be, took this fable very much to heart. Years later, she would write Romney to “tell Hayly I am always reading his Triumphs of Temper; it was that that made me Lady H., for God knows I had for ‹ve years enough to try my temper, and I am affraid if it had not been for the good example Serena taught me, my girdle wou’d have burst, and if it had I had been undone; for Sir W[illiam] minds more temper than beauty. He therefore wishes Mr. Hayly wou’d come, that he might thank him for his sweettempered wife” (Morrison 1:199). Hart had a temper that she worked hard to control, especially in these early years: she learned to bow to Greville’s authority with good grace, as he clearly held all the cards—yet she seems to have learned allegorical extravagance as well as domestic selfrestraint from Hayley’s poem. When, as a long-awaited treat, Greville took her to Ranelagh Gardens, Hart was carried away by the favorable attention she was receiving: she burst into song and gave an impromptu performance. The spectators were delighted, Greville furious. Upon their return home, Hart used emblematic display to show that she had taken Greville’s point. She dressed herself either in “a plain cottage dress” or, according to John Romney, in the uniform of a lady’s maid and tearfully begged Greville to take her in this fashion or to abandon her forever (Sichel 60; Romney 183). Greville’s attempts to improve his mistress opposed the demands of reserved domesticity to those of ‹nancial and artistic speculation, but these two modes of educating Hart remained largely inextricable. Exploiting her beauty and self-dramatizing sensibility in his business arrangement with Romney, Greville also domesticated and thus limited the availability of his newly acquired commodity by asking Hart to “live retired.” Greville’s next move further exposes the arti‹ciality of any distinction between domesticity and speculation: he began to market his mistress to his uncle both as a domestic convenience and as a piece of “modern virtu” (Morrison 1:136). The young entrepreneur had decided he would do better economically through marriage to an heiress and would advance faster in his political career were he either married or single rather than tied to an obscure mistress. Enacting quite literally the traf‹c in women, Greville presented Hart to his uncle, Sir William Hamil-

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ton, as a ready-made mistress, better than a wife for Hamilton’s needs. He suggested that Hart’s sensibility made her both malleable and ›exible: “She is naturally elegant, & ‹ts herself easily to any situation, having quickness & sensibility” (Morrison 1:134). And in a letter to Sir William dated 5 May 1785 Greville articulated the economic terms of exchange he desired, invoking only the dim subterfuge of third-person reportage: Your brother spoke openly to me, that he thought the wisest thing you could do would be to buy Love ready made, & that it was not from any interested wish, as he was perfectly satis‹ed with the fortune he had, that it was enough for his family, & that he should be very glad to hear you declare openly your successor, & particularly so if you named me; I write without affectation or disguise. (Morrison 1:137) In the person of Hart, Greville had “Love ready made” conveniently and inexpensively for sale: he asked only that he be declared Sir William’s heir. Greville presented Hart primarily as a model of domestic comfort and convenience—yet in his sales pitch, even her domesticity seems a performance not unlike her modeling sessions with Romney: She has avoided every appearance of giddiness, & prides herself on the neatness of her person & the good order of her house; these are habits both comfortable & convenient to me. She has vanity & likes admiration; but she connects it so much with her desire of appearing prudent, that she is much more pleas’d with accidental admiration than that of crowds which now distress her. (Morrison 1:137) Hart’s desire for admiration had been harnessed to a performance of controlled domesticity (the neatness of her person and the good order of her house). If giddiness had not in fact been replaced by prudence, her appearance of giddiness had given way to a desire to appear prudent. Greville’s language emphasizes the element of spectacle, of illusory seeming, at work in Hart’s performance of feminine virtue. The virtues of sexual restraint and domesticity appear practically indistinguishable from Hart’s status as modern “virtu,” a work of art or a theatrical performer. In hawking “Love ready made,” Greville continued to invoke the ideas of value, pro‹t, and economic interest as he outlined Hart’s virtues and personal appeal. On 3 December he wrote: She likes admiration, but merely that she may be valued, & not to pro‹t by raising her price. I am sure there is not a more disinterested woman in the world, if she has a new gown or hat, &c. . . . [A]s I consider you as my heir-aparent I must add that she is the

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only woman I ever slept with without having ever had any of my senses offended, & a cleanlier, sweeter bedfellow does not exist. (Morrison 1:142) The uninterested lover highlights Hart’s “disinterestedness” at almost the same moment his pimping becomes unmistakable. In context, “disinterested” clearly means inexpensive, easily bought: rather than demanding marriage, Hart would settle for a new dress. Wishing to be declared Sir William’s “heir-apparent,” Greville declares his uncle his own heir apparent in Hart’s favors. Hart’s recognition of her economic vulnerability, her lack of security, developed only belatedly. In the spring of 1786, Greville sent Hart off to Sir William under false pretenses, suggesting to his uncle that Hart had accepted his protection and telling Hart he would come to get her in a few months’ time. Sir William was left to break the news of the exchange. Hart responded in a series of letters to Greville, ‹rst by negating the exchange as she understood it: “I belong to you, Greville, and to you only I will belong, and nobody shall be your heir apearant” (Morrison 1:150). Hart’s direct echo of Greville’s proposal (“I consider you as my heiraparent”) suggests Sir William showed her the letters, laid bare the terms of exchange. Certainly Hart went on to articulate clearly and logically the economic insecurity the deal represented for her: I am poor, helpeless and forlorn. I have lived with you 5 years, and you have sent me to a strange place, and no one prospect, but thinking you was coming to me. Instead of which, I was told I was to live, you know how, with Sir William. No, I respect him, but no never. Shall he peraps live with me for a little wile like you, and send me to England. Then what am I to do? What is to become of me? (Morrison 1:152) The proposed exchange made clear to Hart her own status as object and the cost of her willing subordination to men. Her struggle to submit to Greville’s terms had brought no long-term bene‹ts; it merely deprived her of the power to chart her own course. Greville responded only in August, evidently advising her to make the best of her situation and take Hamilton as a lover. Hart’s retort offers a verbal, emotional pre‹guration of the shifting “Attitudes” that would make her famous. Her letter begins by reiterating once again the extremity of her romantic passion and domestic submission: “I have received your letter, my dearest Greville, at last, and you don’t know how happy I am at hearing from you, however I may like some parts of your letter. . . . But I submit to what God and Greville pleases.” Submission rapidly gave way to economic bargaining, accompanied by a careful articulation

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of the value offered: “Onely consider, when I offer to live with you on the hundred a-year Sir William will give me, what you desire. And this from a girl that a King, &c., is sighing for!” Hart here translates the admiration of men like the King of Naples into a claim for her own intrinsic value—as she managed to translate Sir William’s admiration into the more concrete offer of “a hundred a-year.” Telling Greville to consider what he desires, Hart offers him the opportunity to satisfy his sexual desires without cost. This offer is limited to him only, she insists, as she moves into a performance of the virtuous woman insulted: As to what you write me, to oblige Sir William, I will not answer you. For oh, if you knew what pain I feel in reading those lines where you advise me to W[hore]. . . . Nothing can express my rage! I am all madness! Greville to advise me!—You, that used to envy my smiles! Now with cool indifference to advise me to go to bed to him, Sir Wm! Oh! that is the worst of all. But I will not, no, I will not rage. If I was with you I wou’d murder you and myself booth. . . . [N]othing shall ever do for me but going home to you. If that is not to be, I will except of nothing I will go to London, their go into every excess of vice till I dye, a miserable, broken-hearted wretch, and leave my fate as a warning to young whomen never to be two good; for now you have made me love you, you made me good, you have abbandoned me; and some violent end shall ‹nish our connexion, if it is to ‹nish. Having painted the dire consequences of abandoning her, she returns to the language of romantic love, arguing that those consequences need not apply: But oh! Greville, you cannot, you must not give me up. You have not the heart to do it. You love me I am sure; and I am willing to do everything in my power, and what will you have more? And I only say this is the last time I will either beg or pray, do as you like. Moving through “attitudes” of romantic passion and domestic submission, economic bargaining, an assertion of her own value to others and to herself, threats for the future, and a ‹nal entreaty, Hart pulls out all the emotional stops in the course of the letter. Her most potent threat, however, appears in the postscript: “Pray write for nothing will make me so angry [as silence]. . . . If you affront me, I will make him marry me.—God bless you for ever” (Morrison MS. 153, 1 August 1786). In this virtuoso display of emotional versatility, Hart bases her appeal to Greville most strongly on the fact of her newly created ‹nancial value, on the economic independence Sir William’s generosity provided—and on the potential damage she could do to Greville’s hopes of his uncle’s fortune. Her

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apprenticeship with Greville left Hart with a ‹nely tuned if somewhat belated sense of the relationship between speculation and domestic femininity—as well as a grasp of how that relationship might be managed to her benefit. 2. developing an attitude At this stage in her career, Emma Hart was nothing if not a realist. By 26 December 1786, her affections seem to have been fully transplanted (Morrison 1:157), and Greville’s speculation in portraits had begun to give way to new combinations of entrepreneurship and art. Hart’s letters to Sir William during a separation that lasted through the middle of January already contain the seeds of what would come to be known as “Emma Hart’s Attitudes.” On 10 January, Hart described another woman’s praise of her own beauty: “‘We may read your heart in your countenance, your complexion, in short, your ‹gure and features is rare, for you are like the marble statues I saw, when I was in the world.’ I think she ›attered me up, but I was pleased” (Morrison 1:160). And on 18 January, Hart recorded the response of a male admirer who claimed I frightened him with a Majesty and Juno look that I receved him with. Then he says that whent of on being more acquainted, and I enchanted him by my politeness and the maner in which I did the honors, and then I made him allmost cry with Handels; and with the comick he could not contain himself, for he says he never saw the tragick and comick muse blended so happily together. He says Garrick would have been delighted with me. (Morrison 1:163) Within this brief period of eight days, Hart’s letters to Sir William, apparently unprompted, present her both as a marble statue and as a marvelous combination of comedy and tragedy. Hart’s “Attitudes,” often described as the art of bringing antique statues to life, were consistently attributed to Sir William’s ingenuity and interests—or to Romney’s coaching (see Hölmstrum). Yet these letters suggest that Hart herself at least planted the idea of bringing together her statuesque beauty with her emotional versatility. In the eighteenth century, attitude referred either to the disposition of a ‹gure in statuary, painting, drama, or dancing; or to “a posture of the body proper to, or implying, some action or mental state” (Oxford English Dictionary). “Attitudes” thus mediated between body and mind, between passion and expression. Emma Hart’s “Attitudes” presented a series of mute tableaux, each of which characterized a different ‹gure from antiquity and (perhaps more importantly) a different passion. Dressed in simple “Greek” garb, Hart used a shawl to de‹ne each character and to mark the transition from one scene or attitude to the next.

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Hart’s “Attitudes” seem to have worked through a thematics of animation, a dialectic between statuesque ‹xity and graceful motion: while visual records of these Attitudes, like those of Frederick Rehberg, necessarily show Hart frozen in position, in practice observers were taken by her graceful and striking movements. Perhaps the most famous (and earliest) description of Hart’s Attitudes is that recorded by Goethe on 16 March 1787: The spectator . . . sees what thousands of artists would have liked to express realized before him in movements and surprising transformations—standing, kneeling, sitting, reclining, serious, sad, playful, ecstatic, contrite, alluring, threatening, anxious, one pose follows another without a break. She knows how to arrange the folds of her veil to match each mood, and has a hundred ways of turning it into a head-dress. . . . [A]s a performance it’s like nothing you ever saw before in your life. (199–200) Goethe’s list begins with postures and ends with passions; his account also emphasizes the limited materials from which Hart produced her representations. Hart’s Attitudes were striking in part because of these material constraints: the performer seemed able to abstract an entire character and situation into a gesture, the fold of a shawl. At the same time, however, each gesture was overcharged with emotional connotations, with passion. The resulting Attitudes produced an aesthetic oddly combining excess and restraint—even as Hart’s earlier career as artist’s model and kept woman emphasized the paradox of an idealized femininity composed of allegorical extravagance and domestic restraint. Her semipublic performances framed Hart’s own position in society through a similar combination of mobility and constraint. Conducted in Sir William’s private house, for the pleasure of himself and his friends, Hart’s Attitudes also drew attention to her role as a “public woman,” a mistress and model rather than a wife. Yet they remained amateur performances, the work of a dilettante rather than a professional actress— and the preservation of amateur status kept alive the ambiguity of Emma’s social status. Accounts of the Attitudes highlight the role of social context in their success. The Comtesse de Boigne, for instance, described one typical Neapolitan scenario in which she as a child acted with Hart: She grabbed me by the hair with a movement so brusque that I came back to myself in surprise and even a little fear, which made me enter into the spirit of my role—for she brandished a poignard. The passionate applause of the artist-spectators made themselves heard with exclamations of: Bravo la Medea! Then pulling me

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toward her, she hugged me to her breast with the air of disputing against the fury of heaven for me, she tore from the same voices the cry of: Viva la Niobe! (53) This account of the Attitudes as a kind of high-toned intellectual game of charades marks the outer limits of Hart’s stage performances. Her Attitudes were consistently applauded by upper-class audiences, apparently for creating a group experience of sympathy, a temporary community of shared passion—but the passionate and vociferous applause of the artistspectators remained as important as Hart’s own portrayal of passion. As long as she remained silent, verbally absent from the scene, the actress could be accepted by the spectators around her. Outdoing the art of portraiture, she could move, bringing statues to life, but she could not speak without destroying the illusion. Lady Holland recorded one such break in the performance: “Just as she was lying down, with her head reclining upon an Etruscan vase to represent a water-nymph, she exclaimed in her provincial dialect: ‘Doun’t be afeard Sir Willum, I’ll not crack your joug.’ I turned away disgusted” (Holland 1:243). The restraint imposed by silence seems to have obscured the underlying economic relations of the spectacle (Sir William probably was worrying about the safety of his Etruscan vase, and Hart remained dependent on his generosity) and to have licensed Hart’s emotional extravagance: what could not be spoken in upper-class society (at least not in a lower-class accent) could be silently performed. If in Hart’s early career, restraint overbalanced social mobility, her Neapolitan Attitudes seemed to privilege mobility over restraint. Perhaps as a result, English responses to Hart and her Attitudes remained ambivalent at best. Two weeks before Hart’s marriage to Sir William, for instance, Horace Walpole remarked “on Mrs. Hart, Sir W. Hamilton’s pantomime mistress—or wife, who acts all the antique statues in an Indian shawl. I have not seen her yet, so am no judge, but people are mad about her wonderful expression, which I do not conceive, so few antique statues having any expression at all—nor being designed to have it” (11:337). Walpole’s remark about the “Indian” shawl undercuts any claim to authenticity in this portrayal of antiquity—even the “wonderful expression” acclaimed by spectators seems out of place in a reproduction of Greek statues. Walpole captures the problem with Hart’s public and private attitudes alike: almost always, she has a little too much expression for the role. Acclaimed for bringing antique statues to life, Emma was poorly suited to remaining stone: unmoved, cold, and to temptation slow. What observers tended to celebrate in Hart’s performances was her ability to transform herself and—as Goethe’s account makes clear—to

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shift rapidly from one portrayal, one passion, to the next. What observers deplored in Hart’s person was her inability (or unwillingness) to transform herself into a proper representation of upper-class femininity in private life. As a result, spectators repeatedly distinguished between the identity of the performer and the success or beauty of the performance. The Comtesse de Boigne summarizes the reception of Hart’s Attitudes in these terms: She brought the statues of antiquity to life and without servile copying, recalled them to the poetic imaginations of the Italians by a sort of improvisation in action. Others have sought to imitate the talent of Lady Hamilton; I don’t believe any have succeeded. . . . Outside of this instinct for the arts, nothing was more vulgar and common than Lady Hamilton. After she had shed the antique costume to wear ordinary clothes, she lost all distinction. (54) Such conclusions were generally accepted. For Lady Elizabeth Foster, “Lord Bristol’s remark seems to me so just a one that I must end with it: ‘Take her as anything but Mrs. Hart and she is a superior being—as herself she is always vulgar’ ” (quoted in Stuart 202). Hart’s lack of progress in re‹ned manners suggests one boundary for her capacity for self-transformation. Throughout her days of glory, Emma Hamilton prided herself on remaining “humble” and “simple”—her heroic performances (both her Attitudes and her appearances on what she clearly saw as the stage of history) were roles she saw as somehow integral to her own character. Violently opposed to the French Revolution and republicanism more generally, she nonetheless shared with her ideological enemies a belief that heroism and high spirits recognize no class boundaries. And when she turned from performing domestic piety to performing politics, Hart’s excesses took on a subversive violence similar to that of the Revolution itself. Surprisingly, perhaps, Hart’s pervasive vulgarity failed to halt her social climb. If Hart’s upper-class audiences contrasted the superiority of her Attitudes with the vulgarity of her everyday persona, Sir William’s letters to Greville emphasize Hart’s domesticity as a counterpart to her social success. On 18 December 1787, Sir William wrote: “We are here as usual My Dear Charles and I am out almost every day on shooting parties but I ‹nd my house comfortable in the Evening with Emma’s society” (Morrison 1:134–35). The comfort of his house remained a primary objective with Sir William, and he paid much more generously than his nephew had for Hart’s work as housekeeper and hostess (Morrison 1:185). By the end of the year, Greville apparently had heard enough about the Hamilton household and their coming visit to England to war-

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rant a letter of advice to Hart. She responded in January 1791, in terms more likely to alarm than to reassure him: “You need not be affraid for me in England. . . . I don’t wish to attract notice. I wish to be an example of good conduct, and to show the world that a pretty woman is not allways a fool.” The tone of the letter veers oddly between “properly feminine” submission (“I wish to be an example of good conduct”) and an underlying delight in the revenge that was a long time coming (“a pretty woman is not allways a fool”). Greville apparently warned her against ambition and advised separate lodgings for their stay in England. She responded: All my ambition is to make Sir William happy, & you will see he is so. As to our seperating houss, we can’t do it, or why should we? You can’t think 2 people, that has lived ‹ve years with all the domestic happiness that’s possible, can seperate, & those 2 persons, that knows no other comfort but in each other’s comppany, which is the case I assure you with ous, tho’ you bachelors don’t understand it. . . . We will lett you into our plans and hearths. (Morrison 1:189) Greville, a bachelor by choice, is invited to regret his decision ‹ve years earlier to part with a woman his elders and betters have begun to idealize. When Hart promises, “We will lett you into our plans and hearths,” the (presumably unintentional) confusion of hearts and hearths is nonetheless telling. Passion and domesticity, hearts and hearths, seem to have been easily confused and with some dif‹culty resolved in the complementary affairs of Sir William and his nephew. Hart learned from Greville the powerful appeal of domesticity; she was slow to forget the lesson. Yet when Heneage Legge, a friend of both Greville and Hamilton, attempted to persuade her to remain Mrs. Hart, she simply refused to listen: “I have all along told her . . . she was a happier woman as Mrs. H. than she would be as Ly H., when, more reserved behaviour being necessary, she would be depriv’d of half her amusements, & must no longer sing those comic parts which tend so much to the entertainment of herself & her friends. She does not accede to that doctrine” (Morrison 1:190). A success in Neopolitan society even with her comic songs and rough manners, Hart refused to see why her present performance as the lady of Hamilton’s house could not simply be legalized and legitimated. After ‹ve years of admiration in Naples, Emma Hart had developed an attitude. 3. the pantomime ambassadress To commemorate the 1791 wedding of Emma Hart and Sir William Hamilton, Romney painted a portrait of Emma commonly known as The

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Ambassadress. The title of the portrait captures some of the ambiguity of her new role: she was neither an of‹cial ambassador nor entirely without in›uence. Over the next few years we might imagine the persona of the ambassadress vying with that of the “pantomime mistress—or wife” for dominance. Yet the two roles remained less distinct than observers might have hoped. The real scandal of Emma, Lady Hamilton, lay not in her marriage to an English nobleman but in her subsequent career, her more informal striking of heroic attitudes and their in›uence over an English ambassador, a Neapolitan queen, and a British naval hero. Still, her political ascendancy developed slowly. As the Napoleonic wars moved ever closer to Naples and the royal family, Sir William’s health became increasingly uncertain, and Hamilton’s political role increased correspondingly. She nursed her husband in his various illnesses, helped him in his diplomatic correspondence, and acted as an informal conduit between the queen and the British ambassador—a role of some importance given the limited capacities of the king and the political dominance of the queen. Historians continue to dispute Emma’s actual importance in Neapolitan politics of the period: Brian Fothergill, for instance, argues that she was no more than a go-between for the queen and the ambassador and that had Emma not ‹lled this role, some other person would have. The same, of course, could be said of the ambassador himself: the potential for replacement or substitution does not undo the potential in›uence of Hamilton’s mediation. Reports of a lesbian relationship between Emma Hamilton and Maria Carolina, queen of Naples, have been dismissed by most of Lady Hamilton’s biographers. These reports may have originated with Napoleon; at the very least, they were supported by him and others in Republican France. Yet whether or not a physical relationship existed between Emma Hamilton and the queen, the terms of their friendship were at times unmistakably romantic, recalling older traditions of courtly love. In 1795, Emma commanded Greville: “Send me some news, political and private; for, against my will, owing to my situation here, I am got into politicks, and I wish to have news for our dear much-loved Queen, whom I adore. Nor can I live without her, for she is to me a mother friend and everything” (Morrison 1:263). Playing the role of devoted cavalier, Emma sought to answer all of her lady’s needs and desires. Her letters idealize the queen in courtly and unrealistic language: “If you cou’d know her as I do, how you wou’d adore her! For she is the ‹rst woman in the world; her talents are superior to every woman’s in the world; and her heart is most excellent and strictly good and upright” (Morrison 1:263). Emma had long presented English ladies to the queen; at times, she seems to have done the same for diplomatic gentlemen. In February 1796, for instance, she wrote to Lord Macartney:

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I have been with the Queen this morning, and she desires so much to see you that I have appointed to carry you to her this evening at half past seven. She will be alone, and you will see her in her family way. You will be in love with her, as I am. Sir William is to go with us; shall we call on you or will you drink tea with us?—let me know. . . . We will go to the opera to-morrow, but I would give up all operas for my Queen of Hearts. She expects you with impatience. (Morrison 1:275) Assurance and idolatry vie for the upper hand in this note: as in the tradition of courtly love, Emma’s service to the queen seems to have increased her status in the court more generally. At the same time, Emma’s adoration models for Macartney the proper (masculine?) response to the queen: “You will be in love with her, as I am.” For her part, the queen seems to have accepted the devotion of this female cavalier within the conventions of courtly love. During the year(s) of crisis in Naples, the queen’s frequent letters to Emma, written in awkward French, occasionally cast “the ambassadress” in a masculine role. In April 1798, she wrote to Emma: “Vous en étes le maître de mon coeur, ma chère milady, ni pour mes amis, comme vous, ni pour mes opinions ne change jamais” (quoted in Sichel 199). And in June 1798, Maria Carolina proclaimed Emma “mon ministre plénipotencier” (quoted in Sichel 142). The “ambassadress” made use of these plenipotentiary powers in the interests of the British navy. Earlier that year, the young Commodore Nelson, wanting to engage Napoleon off the coast of Alexandria, had told the king, the queen, and the Hamiltons he needed assurance that he would be able to water and provision his ships at need along the coast of Naples and Sicily. Hamilton appears to have been in›uential in obtaining this assurance. John Mitford, a retired navy man, later summarized the popular mythology surrounding this affair: It is a well-con‹rmed fact, that French in›uence operated so powerfully at the Court of Naples, that Ferdinand had written to the Governor of Syracuse to withhold all supplies from Nelson’s ship, and compel him to leave that port. The Queen, at Lady Hamilton’s instigation, took the dispatches from the King’s pocket, opened them, inserting directions for supplies to be granted; and resealing them, deposited them again from whence they were taken. The sagacious monarch sent them off next morning. The ›eet was promptly supplied with provisions, without which they could not have gone to Egypt, and the enemy’s ›eet would have escaped destruction. . . . The dotage of Sir William Hamilton prevented him from being an ef‹cient agent for the interests of his country; but the distinguished talent and unwearied zeal of his consort made ample

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amends for all his mental imbecilities. England never was better represented at a foreign Court than by this Female Ambassador. (264 n.) This account was much disputed and the truth presumably far more pedestrian—but Nelson and to a lesser extent Sir William consistently supported Hamilton’s claim to have in›uenced the queen decisively in this affair. Indeed, the emperor of Russia, acting on Nelson’s advice, eventually awarded Emma Hamilton the title of “Chanoiness of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem” for this intervention in the war, thus formally acknowledging her role as courtly cavalier. Captain Ball, made a commander of the same order for his heroism in battle, subsequently addressed her as “her Excellency la Chevalière Hamilton” (Morrison 2:478). Nelson’s subsequent defeat of the French ›eet off the coast of Egypt seemed the ‹rst turning point of the war. News of his victory in the “Battle of the Nile” reached Naples in September 1798. On hearing of the victory—and of Nelson’s loss of an arm and an eye—Hamilton fell to the ground in a faint, bruising herself badly. Next she draped herself, not in a shawl but in Nelson himself. She wrote the “Hero of the Nile” to tell him: “My dress from head to foot is alla Nelson. Ask Hoste. Even my shawl is in Blue with gold anchors all over. My earrings are Nelson’s anchors; in short, we are be-Nelsoned all over. I send you some sonets, but I must have taken a ship on purpose to send you all written on you” (quoted in Sichel 491). Hamilton responded to Nelson’s victory by quite literally taking it on herself, dressing herself not only “alla Nelson” but also as Nelson, or in Nelson. Hamilton next received Nelson’s performance as if it were a production of her own “Attitudes.” Renowned for bringing statues to life, she visualized her hero preserved in a statue of gold: “What a day will it be to England when the glorious news arrives! Glad shou’d I be to be there for one moment. Your statue ought to be made of pure gold and placed in the middle of London” (quoted in Sichel 499). Hamilton’s hyperbole at once objecti‹es and idealizes Nelson: “If I was King of England I wou’d make you the most noble present, Duke Nelson, Marquis Nile, Earl Aboukir, Vicount Pyramid, Baron Crocodile, and Prince Victory, that posterity might have you in all forms” (quoted in Sichel 496). Even as these imagined honors memorialize and thus to some extent ‹x the form of victory, the multiplicity of forms imagined reproduces the kind of metamorphosis associated with Emma Hamilton’s own Attitudes. In her letters to Nelson, Hamilton subsumes heroic masculinity within her own feminine performance of excess. Hamilton’s informal performances of Nelsonian attitudes blurred the line between public stage and private identity, between spectacle and

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spectator, producing an indeterminacy of identity and a mobility of position that might seem either threatening or exhilarating. In relation both to Nelson and to the queen of Naples, Hamilton largely erased the distinction between actor and spectator by taking on and modeling the role of sympathetic audience for each: admiring Nelson, she also imitated his rhetoric and attitudes before the queen; loving the queen, she modeled for Nelson the appropriately chivalric response to royalty in distress. After this ‹rst great victory, her letters to Nelson show Hamilton involving the queen in a contagious celebration of Nelson’s virtues: “The Queen yesterday said to me, the more I think on it, the greater I ‹nd it [the battle], and I feil such gratitude to the warrior, the glorious Nelson, that my respect is such that I cou’d fall at his honner’d feet and kiss them” (quoted in Sichel 499). The hyperbole of this declaration at ‹rst seems more like Emma than the queen, but the ambassadress goes on to explain: “You that know us booth, and how alike we are in many things, that is, I as Emma Hamilton, and she as Queen of Naples—imagine us booth speaking of you. We touch ourselves into terms of rapture, respect, and admiration, and conclude their is not such another in the world” (quoted in Sichel 499). Here, the queen and her female cavalier appear equally accountable for the fervent response, mutually “touching” themselves into terms of rapture. At other moments, however, Hamilton clearly worked to “touch” the queen more unilaterally; she seems to have done so by playing Nelson, this time taking on not his victory but his mannerisms, rhetoric, and body language. In October 1798, for instance, Hamilton worked to persuade the queen to send a Neapolitan army against the republican forces in Rome. She wrote to Nelson: I ›atter myself WE SPUR them on, for I am allways with the queen and I hold out your energick language to her. . . . [W]hile the passions of the queen were up and agitated, I got up, put out my left arm, like you, spoke the language of truth to her, . . . that she was sure to be lost if they were inactive, and their was a chance of being saved if they made use of the day and struck now while all minds are imprest with the Horrers their neighbours are suffering from these Robbers. In short there was a Council, and it was determined to march out and help themselves. (Add. MS. 34.989; quoted in Sichel 8–9) Here, the “language of truth” and the physical recollection of heroism— Emma puts out, like Nelson, her left arm, for the hero of the Nile had lost his right arm in winning the battle—translate performance into policy. Yet Hamilton’s performance of Nelson’s attitudes for the queen led to bloody consequences that damaged the reputations of almost all involved. By December 1798, Republican armies were marching on

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Naples; Nelson and the Hamiltons helped develop plans for a royal escape to Sicily. These plans—which included secret passageways, midnight ›ight, secreted jewels—were carried out in early January. The members of the royal family were conducted safely to Nelson’s ship, only to ‹nd themselves in the midst of a horri‹c storm. Hamilton, one of the few good sailors in the group of civilians, nursed the others through violent bouts of seasickness; yet despite her efforts, the six-year-old Prince Albert died in her arms. Though Hamilton’s next letter to Greville reiterated her devotion to “my dear, adorable queen, whom I love better than any person in the world” (Morrison 2:370), the royal ›ight resulted in the loss of most of Maria Carolina’s power: Ferdinand, mistrusting his queen, took the government of Naples and Sicily back into his own hands, while the queen and Lady Hamilton apparently turned to gambling in the notoriously decadent city of Palermo. By November 1799, old acquaintances writing to ask for news found it necessary to state explicitly, “we still retain the same friendly sentiments” (Morrison 2:435). When the fortunes of war began to turn, and the Royalist army seemed capable of retaking Naples, Nelson sailed to support the effort from the sea. Emma and Sir William accompanied Nelson as envois respectively of the queen and king. What resulted was a scene of legendary carnage: bodies and body parts piled high on street corners. When Admiral Caracciola, who had ‹red on his own ›agship as he abandoned the Royalists to join the Republican forces, fell into Nelson’s hands, he was given a summary naval trial and (with dubious legality) hung from the yardarm of that same ›agship. His body was left to hang, visible from the shore from 5:00 P.M. until sunset, before it was cut down and thrown unceremoniously into the sea; weeks later, the body ominously resurfaced. A garrison that surrendered to Nelson was similarly massacred under questionable circumstances. The king, arriving intent on vengeance, soon had traitors and Jacobins slaughtered wholesale. Emma’s presence on this scene was scandalously unfeminine, suggestive of blood-thirst and a monstrous character. Her more sympathetic biographers work especially hard to show that Emma’s role (and that of the queen) was properly feminine—that of pleading for mercy and trying to slow the slaughter. At the same time, however, Emma continued to act as the queen’s cavalier, persuading Nelson to arm the Lazzaroni, the artisan-peasants of Naples, in order to form a “queen’s party” and work against Maria Carolina’s unfavorable image. By the beginning of August, Emma felt entitled to inform Greville: We return with a kingdom to present to my much-loved Queen. I have allso been so happy to succeed in all my campanes, and everything I was charged with. . . . There is great preparations for our

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return. The Queen comes out with all Palermo to meet us. A landing-place is made,—balls, suppers, illuminations, all ready. The Queen has prepared my cloathes—in short, if I have fag’d, I am more than repaid. I tell you this, that you may see I am not unworthy of having been once in some degree your élève. (Morrison 2:417) Hamilton means to suggest she has surpassed her master—yet her return to Palermo remained almost as scandalous as her apparent participation in the royalist slaughter. No longer willing to remain a passive object of speculation, she had developed a great fondness for the abstractions of gaming. Her fondness for play, for Nelson, and for the queen—all drew harsh comments, as did her apparent inability to distinguish between “play” and tragedy. An object of others’ speculation, Hart had embodied domesticity; speculating in her own right, that Hamilton woman became a ‹gure of monstrosity, both for her gambling and for her participation in slaughter. One of her naval favorites, Troubridge, ‹nally wrote to warn her against gambling and her progressive loss of reputation; she acknowledged the advice and promised to play no more (Morrison 2:441). Yet by the time Nelson and the Hamiltons left Palermo, accompanying the queen on her way to Austria and then continuing overland for England, the damage to Hamilton’s reputation was irreparable. Returning to England, she would pay for her hubris—both through the tragedy of Nelson’s death and through the farce and caricatures that pilloried her during his lifetime and beyond. 4. upstaging romance Emma Hamilton’s Attitudes, her allegorical modeling for Romney and others, and her political engagement—all were attuned to the conventions of heroic romance. But in returning to England, Hamilton lost control over the representation of her actions—her return inaugurated a generic shift in her career from the conventions of romance to those of farce. Caricatures by Isaac Cruikshank, Thomas Rowlandson, and James Gillray worked to reestablish the social divisions threatened by the Hamilton-Nelson ménage by separating the trio into a more acceptable though still scandalous sexual con‹guration of one couple plus the odd man out. They also worked to separate Nelson’s self-consciously heroic performances in battle from his self-dramatizing affair with Emma Hamilton. In other words, the caricatures participated to some degree in the impossible task of creating a model of national patriotism purged of vulgarity. They did so with varying degrees of success. Cruikshank’s A Mansion House Treat: or Smoking Attitudes!, printed 18 November 1800 (just

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seven days after the trio returned to England), managed only to pillory the adulterous lovers for their sexual and social transgressions. The print displays Hamilton smoking like a man, along with Sir William, Nelson, Pitt, and others; the dialogue included in the print offers little more than a crude witticism: Emma: “Pho the old man’s pipes allways out, but yours burns with full Vigour.” Nelson: “Yes Yes I’ll give you such a smoke. I’ll pour a whole broadside into you.” Rowlandson’s Lady Hxxxxxxx’s Attitudes, also produced in November 1800, succeeded in separating Nelson and Hamilton—but only by looking back in time to Hamilton’s early, disreputable career (‹g. 7). The print features a woman modeling nude for a young painter while an elderly, bespectacled connoisseur peeps from behind a curtain. The two men are linked by their interest in the woman’s belly and the glass (monocle and spectacle, respectively) through which they survey her. The print traces a crude and somewhat questionable sublimation of sex into art: in the left front of the picture are two heads, Jupiter and a nymph kissing; back behind the artist on the right stands the statue of a nymph and a satyr embracing. The posture of Hamilton’s upper body seems to echo that of the nymph: the model holds a bearded black satyr mask in roughly the same way as the nymph reaches up to touch her satyr’s head. The satyr has been removed from the scene—the female model stands alone—but the satire on two men obsessed with a common woman’s sexuality remains. Yet Rowlandson, in leaving Nelson out of this scene, also revised the context, the kind of voyeurism Emma in her younger days endlessly inspired. The spectacle she presented most successfully to a mingled company of artists and voyeurs was not nudity and sex but rather an oscillation between domesticity and extravagance. Her later performances—both public and private—focused on questions of grandeur, heroism, and tragedy, while maintaining the vulgar excesses that marked her class origins. Reducing Hamilton’s Attitudes and in›uence to sexual exhibitionism and manipulation, this print redomesticates the threat Hamilton posed by reinserting her into a world once again balanced between allegorical speculation and domestic restraint. Gillray’s ‹rst caricature on the Hamilton-Nelson ménage, published on 6 February 1801, tackles the problem of patriotic heroism more directly (‹g. 8). The print features Hamilton as Dido in Despair and attributes to this modern Dido the following lines: Ah where & ah where is my gallant Sailor gone? He’s gone to ‹ght the Frenchmen, for George upon the throne,

Fig. 7. Thomas Rowlandson, “Lady Hxxxxxxx’s Attitudes.” November 1800. © British Museum (BM Sat 9571).

Fig. 8. James Gillray, “Dido in Despair.” February 6, 1801. © British Museum (BM Sat 9572).

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He’s gone to ‹ght ye Frenchmen, t’loose t’other Arm & Eye, And left me with the old Antiques, to lay me down & Cry. The antiques most immediately visible are those scattered on the ›oor in the bottom right corner of the scene, below Emma’s dressing table—but there is another “antique” lying in the bed beside (or behind) her. Sir William’s presence is overshadowed by Hamilton’s histrionics, as his scandalously sexual antiquities remain a step below Hamilton’s foreign makeup (“rouge à la Naples”) and liqueur (“Maraschino”). Nelson appears only in the ›eet seen through the open window on the left, sailing away. On the window seat—a liminal space that both separates and links Nelson and Hamilton—rests one of Hamilton’s shawls, along with a book entitled Studies of Academic Attitudes taken from the Life. Recalling Rowlandson’s print, this open book features a reclining female nude with draperies above and below her—but none actually on her body. By far the most striking feature of this caricature, however, is Hamilton’s ludicrous size. Her obesity, along with the vulgarity of her verses and the ubiquitous, rather tawdry insistence on sex, turns the whole affair into tasteless mock heroics. Gillray uses Hamilton’s obesity to rewrite romance by re-presenting her vulgarity in bodily form. Hamilton’s physical condition at the time suggests a slightly different revision of romance: on 18 January 1801, she had given birth to the child eventually named Horatia Nelson: the child was promptly put out to nurse, and Emma Hamilton presented as godmother rather than biological mother. Obscene and obese mock heroics—or illicit reproduction on an ideological as well as a biological level? Dido in Despair focuses the critical energies of caricature upon the self-dramatizing ‹gure of “Dido” but refrains from a parody of the absent Aeneas. Indeed, the caricature as a whole works to separate “arms and the man” from the femme fatale who might be viewed as a threat to the nation’s glorious destiny. Nevertheless, Nelson’s own heroic persona remained indistinguishable from the kind of self-dramatization this caricature attributes strictly to Hamilton. Linda Colley has argued that Nelson’s calculated exhibitionism, this theatre, . . . embarrassed and appalled many of his more genuinely patrician contemporaries. For it seemed to caricature to a vulgar degree the very style and strategy that they themselves were increasingly adopting. Splendidly, unabashedly and utterly successfully, Nelson did what the majority of the men who dominated Great Britain sought to do more elegantly and discreetly: use patriotic display to impress the public and cement their own authority. (Colley 183)

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What embarrassed the patricians in Nelson, that element of unconscious and unintentional parody, could be displaced onto Emma Hamilton through the carefully designed caricatures of Gillray and others. But not even Hamilton could be ridiculed wholeheartedly: some of the posturing, the attitudes shared by Nelson and Hamilton, must have seemed necessary to maintain the illusions and the new mythology of patriotic fervor. Gillray’s second caricature on the Nelson-Hamilton imbroglio, published on 11 February 1801, records some of the public ambivalence this produced (‹g. 9). Entitled A Cognoscenti Contemplating ye Beauties of ye Antique, the caricature features Sir William rather than Hamilton at its center: on the wall above and behind the ambassador is a picture of his beloved Vesuvius erupting. As in the previous print, Sir William seems to rule the right-hand side of the caricature: he ‹gures there both as the portrait of Claudius (the Roman emperor known, like Sir William, in part for his enjoyment of food) and as the grotesque statue entitled Midas immediately below that painting. The portrait’s frame is topped with a pair of horns that registers Sir William’s status as cuckold even as those horns might recall his frequent hunting parties with the king of Naples. Sir William is thus portrayed as the cuckolded husband who nonetheless continues, in the role of Midas, to hold the purse strings. To the Claudius of Sir William, however, Nelson plays Mark Antony, while Hamilton is, inevitably, Cleopatra. The portraits of Antony and Cleopatra are grouped together to the left of the volcano—again, Gillray seems to resist on a visual level the intermingling suggested by this scandalous ménage à trois. Nelson/Antony is quite a handsome ‹gure in full naval regalia; on the other hand, Cleopatra’s breasts are exposed, and she holds a bottle labeled “Gin” in her right hand. Like the ‹gure of Dido in the ‹rst caricature, Gillray’s use of Antony and Cleopatra is clearly mock-heroic. Yet in this mythic recasting of the Hamilton-Nelson affair, Nelson appears almost as vulnerable as Hamilton. As Antony abandoned his ›otilla in the midst of a sea battle to ›y to Cleopatra’s side, so Nelson was thought to have shirked his duties in order to remain with Hamilton in Naples and Sicily. Yet Antony and Cleopatra remain in cultural memory as legendary lovers, beyond any simplistic apportioning of blame. Gillray’s caricature captures some of the ambivalence with which Hamilton’s capacity for self-transformation was received—and the extent to which Nelson’s own performance of heroic patriotism could be seen as tainted by the sensual temptations of the modern Cleopatra. The most poignant element of this caricature, however, remains the confrontation between Sir William and the dis‹gured bust of an “antique beauty.” The ‹gure, boasting thick dark hair and large, wide-set eyes, seems an image of the young Emma Hamilton. Indeed, with the pearls

Fig. 9. James Gillray, “A Cognoscenti contemplating ye Beauties of ye Antique.” February 11, 1801. © British Museum (BM Sat 9753).

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around her throat and in her hair, this bust is strikingly similar to a portrait of Hamilton by Madame Vigée-Le Brun that Sir William sold to raise cash in 1801. Nelson, furious with Sir William, wrote to Hamilton, “I see clearly, my dearest friend, you are on SALE” (Morrison 2:128)—by July 1802, he had purchased the portrait himself. Sir William had a miniature copy of the portrait made and willed it to Nelson with the words: “The copy of Madame le Brun’s picture of Emma, in enamel, by Bone, I give to my dearest friend Lord Nelson, Duke of Bronte; a very small token of the great regard I have for his Lordship, the most virtuous, loyal, and truly brave character I ever met with. God bless him, and shame fall on those who do not say ‘Amen’” (Morrison 2:424). The aggressiveness of this closing remark suggests some of the impact of Gillray’s caricature. Here, the bust is dis‹gured, its nose and mouth broken off, perhaps in reference to Hamilton’s adultery: in the seventeenth century, rakes would cut the noses of women accused of adultery (Barker-Ben‹eld). Sir William, hunched, gaunt, and hollow eyed, peers intently at the bust, which, despite its dis‹gurement, seems younger and livelier than he. The cognoscenti holds up to his eyes a pair of spectacles, as if to see more clearly, but he holds them up backward. This reversal may be designed to suggest that Sir William now sees less clearly than ever, but it could also be read in terms of an uneasy reciprocity: Sir William trying to see things as if from Hamilton’s perspective—or asking her to look at him more closely. Recalling yet again the indeterminacy of spectacle and spectator created by Hamilton’s Neapolitan Attitudes, I think the glasses could also be read as a visual pun: spectacles dominate the only relationship between Sir William and his wife the caricaturist is able to envision. Yet the print also disavows Hamilton’s intense physical appeal: the romance heroine appears in this print not in the ›esh but only as a damaged statue and a damaging portrait. Gillray’s caricature immobilizes Hamilton’s shifting performance of romance in a monument to ›awed and broken beauty. Together, Cruikshank, Rowlandson, and Gillray all suggest that in eschewing domestic restraint, Hamilton opened herself up to the social, sexual, and ‹nancial speculation of the men around her. While this may be a fair reading of her career, the prints also present a forced choice between two ‹xed alternatives, suggesting that Hamilton abandoned the role of domestic subject for that of sexual object—and that no other roles exist. Focusing on Hamilton’s body, the caricatures either ignore or parody the importance of “attitude” in her career—and in the careers of the in›uential men and women whose lives and power she shared. In particular, contemporary caricatures repeatedly focused on Emma Hamilton’s sexual exhibitionism in an attempt to limit the charges of political exhi-

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bitionism made against Nelson’s heroic reputation: Hamilton’s body could be used to exclude both her own and her lover’s excesses from Nelson’s claims to heroism. Greville once remarked of Hamilton that “anything grand, masculine or feminine, she could take up, & if she took up the part of Scaevola, she would be as much offended if she was told she was a woman as she would be, if she assumed Lucretia, she was told she was masculine” (Morrison 1:156). Contemporary caricatures and social criticism alike worked vigorously to reapply the limits of gender and class to this enormously appealing but dangerously ungrounded model of heroism as theatrical performance. works cited Baily, James. Emma, Lady Hamilton: A Biographical Essay with a Catalogue of Her Published Portraits. London: W. G. Menzies, 1905. Barker-Ben‹eld, G. J. The Culture of Sensibility: Sex and Society in EighteenthCentury Britain. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992. Bowen, Marjorie. Patriotic Lady: Emma, Lady Hamilton, the Neapolitan Revolution of 1799, and Horatio, Lord Nelson. New York: D. Appleton-Century, 1936. Colley, Linda. Britons: Forging the Nation, 1707–1837. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1992. de Boigne, Comtesse. Memoirs. Trans. S. de Morier-Kotthaus. London: 1956. Fothergill, Brian. Sir William Hamilton: Envoy Extraordinary. London: Faber and Faber, 1969. Frankau, Julia. The Story of Emma, Lady Hamilton. London: Macmillan, 1911. Fraser, Flora. Emma, Lady Hamilton. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1987. Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von. Italian Journey. Trans. W. H. Auden and Elizabeth Mayer. New York: Schocken/Pantheon, 1968. Hamilton, Gerald, and Desmond Stewart. Emma in Blue: A Romance of Friendship. New York: Roy Publishers, 1958. Hayley, William. The Life of George Romney, Esq. London: T. Payne, 1809. ———. The Triumphs of Temper. London: Cadell, 1780. Holland, Elizabeth, Lady. Journal of Elizabeth, Lady Holland. 2 vols. Ed. Earl of Ilchester. London: n.p., 1908. Hölmstrum, Kirsten. Monodrama, Attitudes, Tableux Vivants: Studies on Some Trends of Theatrical Fashion, 1770–1815. Stockholm: Almquist and Wiksell, 1967. Jeaffreson, John Cordy. Lady Hamilton and Lord Nelson. London: Grolier Society, n.d. Lofts, Norah. Emma Hamilton. New York: Coward, McCann and Geoghegan, 1978. Meynell, Esther. Nelson’s Lady Hamilton. New York: Brentano, 1908. Mitford, John. The Adventures of Johnny Newcome in the Navy: A Poem in Four Cantos, with Notes. 3d ed. London: Sherwood, Neely and Jones, 1823. Moorhouse, E. Hallam. Nelson’s Lady Hamilton. New York: Brentano’s, 1908. Morrison, Alfred. The Collection of Autograph Letters and Historical Docu-

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ments Formed by Alfred Morrison. Second Series, 1882–93. The Hamilton and Nelson Papers. 2 vols. Privately printed, 1893. Rehberg, Frederick. Emma Hamilton’s Attitudes. Cambridge, Mass.: Houghton Library, 1990. Romney, John. Memoirs of the Life and Works of George Romney, etc. London: Baldwin and Cradock, 1830. Russell, Jack. Nelson and the Hamiltons. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1969. Sichel, Walter. Emma Lady Hamilton: From New and Original Sources and Documents. 2d ed. London: Archibald Constable and Company Ltd., 1905. Simpson, Colin. Emma: The Life of Lady Hamilton. London: Bodley Head, 1983. Smith, Adam. An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations. 2 vols. Ed. Edwin Cannan. 3d ed. London: Methuen, 1904. Sontag, Susan. The Volcano Lover: A Romance. New York: Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 1992. Stuart, Dorothy M. Dearest Bess: The Life and Times of Lady Elizabeth Foster, Afterwards Duchess of Devonshire, from her Unpublished Journals and Correspondence. London: Methuen, 1955. Walpole, Horace. Correspondence. 48 volumes. Ed. W. S. Lewis, Warren Hunting Smith, and George Lam. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1967. Warner, Oliver. Emma Hamilton and Sir William. London: Chatto and Windus, 1960.

part iii

Transgressive Acts

“Every Like Is Not the Same,” or Is It? gender, criminal biographies, and the politics of indifference

Jessica Kimball Printz

IofnNewgate the winter of 1679, Samuel Smith, the of‹cial chaplain or “Ordinary” prison, had some explaining to do. Fourteen of his most notorious charges, men convicted of “popish” plots against the king, declared their innocence and went to their deaths with a “Cheerfulness” and peace of mind that only penitents were supposed to possess. For Smith, who routinely represented the difference between penitent and impenitent prisoners with the starkness of a morality play, such a travesty demanded a lengthy response.1 In a forty-six-page pamphlet that he published in addition to his regular serial account, Smith cataloged the men’s “Abominable Untruths” (An Account 30); in case these failed to expose the men’s hypocrisy, Smith also advised: If Jesuits may express an Arti‹cial Magnaninity [sic] in suffering Exquisite Torments for the Reputation of their false Religion; Then let it be a seasonable Caution, not to justify Imposters, because in their death, they may seem to parallel the real Zeal and Constancy of Protestants. Every Like is not the Same. (38) Smith warns his readers here about an illusory “Sameness,” a confusion of moral categories that awaits readers who fail to recognize the ‹ner distinctions between the penitent and impenitent, between the truly innocent and merely unresponsive, and between the saved and the lost. Despite Smith’s “seasonable Caution,” however, his successors and fellow crime writers were often blamed for creating such confusion. Exactly what “Nearer Dif‹nition” these writers gave “Between the Darlings and the Sons of Shame,” if any, became a subject of public contention, or public contentiousness at any rate.2 Crime writers were routinely accused of prostituting their praise for “lucre” and “ranking” the “Rabble” with “Just and Honest Men” (History 52; Defoe 74–75). In turn, crime writers labeled their critics’ alleged powers of discrimination as blatant misreading or mean-spirited divisiveness.3 165

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While the specter of sameness between “sheepstealers” and “saints” provoked the defensiveness of crime writers and the ire of their critics, another occurrence of sameness—between representations of male and female penitent criminals—elicited neither strident defenses nor public outcry.4 It would seem that, in the more lengthy accounts of those condemned for violent crimes against the family, every like was the same, presenting a uniform picture of penitence that went without overt justi‹cation or comment.5 According to these representations, contrite men and women passed through identical spiritual steps. They wrestled with horror, guilt, self-loathing, and despair; underwent the painful yet freeing process of confession; and experienced a rebirth of faith, joy, and peace through divine mercy. They dispensed prayers, cautionary speeches, corrective accounts, and scriptural recitations and allusions; they attested to both their longing for death and the justness of their earthly penalty. Again, according to these representations, the penitents’ ful‹llment of these steps apparently included no traits, images, or expressions that categorically distinguished men’s and women’s penitence from each other. Although we might expect uniformity of this nature in ordinaries’ accounts, given their brevity and source, its unacknowledged pervasiveness within detailed and lengthy accounts by multiple authors invites speculation: what can we make of this uniformity, and what does its tacit acceptance by criminal biographers and their critics alike tell us about its function within the genre?6 Does the uniformity merely indicate the formulaic qualities of the genre? Or does it simply re›ect the principled generosity of men practicing what they preached, awarding a “sameness” of representation to those penitent souls whom their “God” would apparently reward with a “sameness” of salvation?7 My response to the last two questions is a decided “no.” I think that the absence of gender distinctions in penitential narratives means something more; that it is not, in fact, the insigni‹cant matter it is made out to be. This chapter argues that the apparent indifference that penitential narratives display toward gender difference registers an ideological investment, one that is every bit as signi‹cant as the investment that we typically locate within a culture’s binary representations of gender difference. An indifference to gender difference occurs in these texts because it meets a speci‹c need in the convergence of cultural expectations about the condemned criminal as speaking subject. Pursuant to these concerns, the chapter is divided into five parts. The ‹rst part provides a brief introduction to the genre of criminal biography and its critical reception and what that reception offers to this study. The second and third parts explore the factors that compelled criminal biographers to represent, in some fashion, the speaking role of condemned criminals and penitent criminals in particular: popular expectations of gallows speeches and the

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speci‹c concept of penitence to which the biographers themselves appealed. The latter included a biblically authorized pedagogical role for penitents, one that had potentially troublesome implications where female penitents and lower-class male penitents were concerned. The fourth part shows how indifference to gender difference operates as a conservative narrative strategy for occluding these troublesome implications; it then demonstrates what such an “indifference” looks like in the texts. The ‹nal section of the chapter considers the “indifference” that feminist scholars in particular have shown to these texts and what that indifference, and the “interest” it complements, can tell us about how we ourselves invest gender with meaning. criminal biography and its critical context To identify the “need” addressed by indifference to gender difference in penitential narratives, we might ‹rst look to previous scholarship on criminal biography, which offers many insights into the emergence of the genre and the function of religious discourse within it.8 In Restoration and eighteenth-century England, especially in the burgeoning economic and cultural center of London, crime as a general phenomenon inspired ever-increasing public concern.9 As part of what several scholars have seen as the period’s obsession with news, a real hunger for accounts of crimes of all types developed, and prison chaplains and hack writers responded accordingly.10 Nevertheless, for much of the literate public, violent crime was an uncouth reality in need of special, substantial, and speci‹c explanation, particularly when that crime violated those intimate bonds between members of a household.11 As one biographer remarked, referring to a wife who poisoned her husband, “But of all Murders, none so plainly discovers the inherent Cruelty and Enmity which Sin has lodged in Human Nature, as those committed by private Persons . . . in the private Murder of the Dearest Friend they have” (True Relation of Four 2). The extended accounts of the ‹nal hours of men and women convicted of such crimes—criminal biographies—arose to meet this demand, to make some sense of a seemingly senseless brutality that hit a bit too close to home for the “‘middling sort’” of people who “made up the largest part of the market for the popular literature of crime”: “tradesmen, artisans, merchants, [and] lower-ranking professionals, (to say nothing of people of higher means)” (Faller 47).12 To accomplish this goal, criminal biographers gravitated toward scriptural and religious discourse—a logical move considering the explanatory power allocated to these discourses within the culture at large.13 As Lincoln Faller suggests, such discourses and the vision of penitence they evoked provided a comfortable and morally gratifying method of managing “the bare, ugly, and anarchic facts” of crimes that, as “act[s] of radical rebellion against the

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discipline of the family,” “threatened, or seemed to threaten the very foundation of all social order” (Faller 50, 22). By focusing on the “hard work” of “Heart-work” undergone by each penitent criminal, criminal biographies capitalized on the cathartic effects of penitence; they negotiated both the violence of the crime and the drastic measure used to restore social order (capital punishment) by recourse to the narrative of a sympathetic and cooperative victim (Q[uick] 58). These observations are invaluable for situating the texts at hand. Nevertheless, I would argue that, in and of itself, the previous scholarship’s acknowledgment of the role of scriptural and religious discourses in shaping these accounts does not adequately explain—or treat as worthy of explanation—the genre’s erasure of gender distinctions in the application of those discourses. Just because men and women are subjects of the same discourse, it does not necessarily follow that they will be, to borrow Althusser’s terminology, “interpellated” by that discourse in the same way or even represented as such by the culture itself.14 We need only recall the distinctly and overtly gendered models of piety found in conduct manuals of the period to realize that such discourses were often used to construct and justify substantially different pictures of men’s and women’s spiritual life and behavior. In contrast, the biographies of penitent offenders are characterized by an absence or erasure of sexual difference—by a lack of authorial acknowledgment of any difference an offender’s gender might make to the practice of his or her penitence. This discursive “absence” is all the more surprising given how often in letter and in practice the legal system of the time did distinguish between offenders on the basis of gender.15 Clearly, something must be at stake in the texts’ collective indifference to gender difference, but that “something” remains obscure. One article, by historian J. A. Sharpe, at least holds the promise of illuminating the politics of sameness in penitential narratives, although it does not consider gender sameness per se. Sharpe points out the “striking similarities” between the scaffold speeches and pious behavior of the Earl of Essex and those of lower-class offenders (“‘Last Dying Speeches’” 157). He interprets the transcendence of class boundaries in these representations as part of the “attempts by the authorities to exert ideological control, to reassert certain values of obedience and conformity” through the spectacle of public execution (158). The fact that “the state was so anxious that even lowly felons should, in their ‘last dying speeches,’ demonstrate how far they had achieved this ‘internalization of obedience’” illustrates the state’s real dependence on ideology, rather than widespread physical coercion, to maintain order (159). While Sharpe’s reading of sameness as manifestation of state power seems plausible enough, it still doesn’t account for the speci‹c reasons behind the emer-

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gence of “sameness” in this context: that is, why “sameness” (between classes or between genders), rather than difference, would be used to express ideological control here. As Foucault suggests, “Anything can be deduced from the general phenomenon of the domination of the bourgeois class [or, in this case, the “state”]. What needs to be done is something quite different. . . . We need to see how these mechanisms of power, at a given moment, in a precise conjuncture and by means of a certain number of transformations, have begun to become economically advantageous and politically useful” (101). Sharpe’s more generic idea of state power tells us little about the “local” circumstances or concerns that compel criminal biographers in particular—not just as any mouthpiece of dominant values—to employ certain kinds of representation and eschew others.16 And so the question remains: why do criminal biographers consistently represent the penitence of men and women using identical terms and images? Indifference to gender difference arises in these texts as a conservative narrative strategy for counterbalancing and enervating the potentially troublesome implications of public speech acts—speci‹cally, those speech acts that played an integral part in the actual spectacle of executions and were encouraged by the concept of penitence that criminal biographers themselves promoted. In the following discussion, I contextualize these speech acts, identify their troublesome implications, and show how “indifference to gender difference” works to quell those implications. I then consider the implications this “indifference” has for some of our own expectations of the way “gender” operates in texts. compelling circumstances, i: popular expectations of gallows speeches Two factors compelled criminal biographers to represent, in some fashion, the speaking role that condemned criminals played in their own executions: popular expectations of gallows speeches and the speci‹c concept of penitence to which biographers directly appealed. The existence of the former is not that hard to imagine: as several contemporary writers and modern historians have noted, public executions functioned as a cheap source of popular entertainment during the period; they drew crowds from all classes and professions.17 At the executions of “familiar” criminals as well as more mundane offenders, part of the expected spectacle was an explanation of crime and its consequences that came directly from the criminals themselves.18 In the ‹nal hours of the arsonist Margaret Clark, strangers called out for her to tell them “how it is with you, and how you came to be here,” while “divers others” mobbing the execution platform asked her “what induced her to do this” (Warning 29). Similar prompting occurred at Francis Nicholson’s execution, where the

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crowd was particularly inquisitive about what made him implicate an innocent coachman in the murder of his fellow servant (Confession 4). The popular demand for ‹rsthand testimony often impinged on the lives of both penitent and impenitent criminals even before their execution day. Greedy prison keepers and a curious paying public insured many condemned criminals a steady stream of visitors, who came to talk and gawk, to listen to as well as to behold the “Monsters” capable of such crimes.19 While some laymen apparently had higher aims in mind, quizzing the criminals on the spiritual impact of their crimes, their knowledge of applicable scripture, and their emotional state, others ›ocked for the stories themselves.20 When it was “being told about town” that the condemned highwayman Valentine Carrick was telling “all the adventures of his life, with the same air and gaiety as if he had been relating them at some gaming ordinaries,” it “drew still greater heaps of company upon him, which he received with the same pleasantness” (“Life of James, alias Valentine Carrick” 89); a similar public response apparently encouraged John Shepherd to “glor[y] in rehearsing” his crimes to audiences during his imprisonment instead of repenting of them (“Life of the Famous” 187). Of course, the public’s expectations of ‹rsthand explanations of crime were not always ful‹lled, particularly on the actual day of reckoning. Even Samuel Smith once conceded that, despite the common “expect[ation] that an Account should be given” and his own efforts to “bring the dying Malefactors unto” such a speech at their executions, “they are som[e]what Averse to it there” (True Account 1). Many criminals, like the pirate Philip Roche, were struck dumb with fear and “consternation” or suddenly realized, at least according to their biographers, the importance of silent introspection in their ‹nal moments (“Life of Philip Roche” 132; also see, e.g., Fair Warning 2; B[oreman] 34). Physical exhaustion thwarted other criminals, despite their conscientious preparations for the task: having written out his farewell speech beforehand, Nathaniel Butler “proceeded to read it; but being tired and spent before the end, he did not ‹nish it” (“Life of Nathaniel Butler” 10). Sometimes the sheer commotion of the crowd itself seemed largely to blame. Although John Stern “intended to make a short Exhortation on the Cart,” “when he came to the place, the noise was so great there, that he said he would speak nothing, but left it to [the author] to publish what [he] knew he had intended to say” and only read a few prayers and hymns.21 Still others disappointed their audiences by giving impertinent, unresponsive, or incomprehensible remarks. Yet even when popular expectations of gallows speeches were not met, or seemed likely to be disappointed, the criminals themselves often recognized their in›uence. In composing and writing down their “dying

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speeches” well before their execution date, Butler, Stern, and many other criminals tacitly acknowledged these expectations, even as they realized they might have to settle for “speaking beyond the grave” instead.22 Granted, several of such speeches that were published both before and after executions undoubtedly have questionable origins; the of‹cial reprimand and eventual dismissal of the ordinary himself in 1700 for manufacturing and doctoring confessions render any claims of authenticity suspect.23 Still, criminal biographers’ frequent apologies for the “indigestedly Penned” and unlearned nature of the dying speeches they published suggest something other than false modesty; at some level, criminal biographers were having to come to terms with the voices of the criminals themselves and their efforts to ful‹ll those expectations.24 And in their published speeches, criminals often referred to these expectations as well, even when they didn’t ful‹ll them. Although he eventually gives a typical farewell speech, the murdering minister Robert Foulks initially apologizes that “he intended not, nor did he hope they expected any long Speech there, but that he had otherways taken care that his Confession should be printed and published at large” (“Life of Robert Foulks” 49). James Turner may have provoked the wrath of the sheriffs and the ordinary with his irrelevant, long-winded tales of life in the army, but he countenanced them by repeatedly assuring his audience he knew what was “expected” of him as a “dying man” (Speech 4, 7, 13). While the public demanded explanations from the criminals themselves, it did not necessarily value them as literal truth.25 Although many a murderer like Thomas Savage effected “a great moving upon the affections of those, who stood by, and many tears were drawn from their eyes by his melting speeches,” the speeches of others elicited anything from laughter to contempt, from raucous merriment to rage.26 The purportedly autobiographical stories that men like Valentine Carrick and John Shepherd told obviously “entertained all who came with the greatest gaiety that could be,” as no doubt did Turner’s antic verbal harassment of the hangman immediately before his execution (“Life of the Famous” 187; Speech 20). Barbara Spencer’s mercurial expressions of half-hearted penitence, on the other hand, inspired only jeers and worse; the crowd pelted her with rocks as she claimed to forgive them (“Life of Barbara” 34). Regardless of whether their last words were taken as “Signal Example[s]” of piety and truth, foci for pent-up frustration, or mere sideshow banter, however, they were accorded value by the popular belief that the condemned criminal should have something to say worth listening to; that their words had some insight to impart, expression to amuse, or personal ›aw to expose (Warning 11). The same public that thronged executions and expected gallows speeches would then come to the reading of criminal accounts anticipating more of the same. These expectations thus

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compelled criminal biographers to represent the voices of the criminals. And, judging from the brisk trade in these accounts, their reissue in contemporary anthologies, apparent circulation in coffeehouses, and ability to attract a market large enough to sustain multiple versions of the same story, we could reasonably conclude that criminal biographers successfully met the representational demands of their audience.27 Of course, the representational demands of an execution-loving audience couldn’t have been all that dif‹cult to ful‹ll. People clearly expected to hear what criminals had to say for themselves, but most of the time they don’t seem to have been all that particular about what was being said; any criminal who made a speech at the appropriate moment, however silly or sincere, could potentially be a real crowd pleaser. Nevertheless, the men who wrote about these criminals had more speci‹c ideas about these speeches in mind, ones determined by the very concept of penitence that they themselves promoted. I have already noted the ideological import commonly attributed to spiritual discourse in these texts: to reinforce the authority of the state and provide a comforting method of explaining crime and justifying punishment. But what did this concept of penitence entail, and how did it compel biographers to grant a substantial speaking position to the criminals in question? compelling circumstances, ii: the “exterior marks” of penitence Given the short time allotted to most criminals between conviction and execution, it is not surprising that the men who ministered to and wrote about the condemned placed so much emphasis on oral expressions of penitence. While the remorse of men guilty of lesser evils might be measured by their subsequent charitable deeds, changes in lifestyle, or practical efforts toward restitution, the situation of the condemned afforded few such opportunities: proof of their penitence had to be quickly produced and readily identi‹ed. From time to time, criminal biographers— particularly when they were troubled by doubts about a criminal’s sincerity or mental health or the circumstances of the crime itself—might openly concede that God “only can judge[,] who is acquainted with the secrets of all hearts and who, as He is not to be deceived, so His penetration is utterly unknown to us, who are con‹ned to appearances and the exterior marks of things” (“Life of Barbara” 34). The occasional disclaimer, however, did not diminish the explanatory and organizational power assigned to “appearances and the exterior marks” of penitence. The sayings of the condemned provided a logical place for biographers to locate outward signs of penitence. Verbal expression was not only a skill almost everyone possessed but one that could be demonstrated and

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assessed despite the logistical and epistemological constraints imposed by incarceration and swift executions. Criminal biographers’ decision to focus on the verbal signi‹ers of penitence was undoubtedly pragmatic, even compulsory, on a conceptual level as well. Regardless of their individual religious persuasions, the men who wrote these texts all believed that “penitence” necessarily involved acknowledging some personal responsibility in one’s own spiritual life. What better way to show the condemned accepting such responsibility than through their own ostensible remarks to that effect, especially given the constraints mentioned earlier? So, too, many of the basic components of penitence espoused by criminal biographers intrinsically required that they accord some articulateness to the condemned. Praying, confessing, reciting and alluding to Scripture, rectifying spurious accounts of their actions and motivations, and giving counsel and cautionary speeches— all of these activities could not be made to signify “penitence” without criminal biographers offering at least an illusion of the criminal’s voice— of the criminal’s direct participation in discourse. In a moment, I shall return to criminal biographers’ representations of some of these activities to demonstrate the absence of gender distinctions within them. Right now, I will focus on the role of the condemned as counselor and advisor. This role demands a “sustained and speci‹c explanation” all its own, for within it lies the central dif‹culty, the “trouble” that indifference to gender difference, as a strategy of representation, works to occlude and efface. Although criminal biographers based their concept of penitence on a variety of biblical passages and ecclesiastical traditions, no other single source achieved the prominence of Psalm 51.28 Among its many clearly in›uential concepts, the biblical passage sets a precedent for the penitent criminal’s advisory position over others. After acknowledging the extent of his sins and his remorse for them, the speaker of the psalm implores God, “Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation: and uphold me with thy free spirit. / Then I will teach transgressors thy ways, and sinners shall be converted unto thee” (Ps. 51:12–13). In criminal biographies, this pedagogical component of penitence showed itself in two often intertwined forms: cautionary speeches directed toward a general audience; and advice that was tailored to speci‹c individuals and people grouped according to class, gender, occupation, or familial relation. Of course, while considering these forms, we should keep in mind that these are, after all, representations of what penitent criminals said, not necessarily what they said. Regardless of the suspect origin of these representations, however, the biographers’ own concept of penitence obliged them to acknowledge this advisory position.

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In the ‹rst form of speech, the condemned explicitly set themselves up as negative examples, offering a kind of laymen’s expository sermon on the “text” of their sinful lives. At his execution for the murder of a fellow servant, Francis Nicholson turned his life into a typical cautionary tale, exclaiming, “Oh that you all would take warning by my Death; and pray take heed of breaking the Sabbath, and ill company, and drinking; for it was Sabbath breaking ‹rst, and then ill company, and drinking, which brought me to do this great wickedness” (Confession 3). Pride, greed, promiscuity, and profanity (both verbal and behavioral) rounded out the usual laundry list of sins that criminals confessed to and warned their audience against. In concentrating on seemingly “minor” sins rather than the actual violent crimes for which they were condemned, penitent criminals posited an audience that, while not yet guilty of insurmountable sins, still had something to learn about its own spiritual state from seeing and listening to those “brought to an Examplary [sic] shame and punishment, yet coming to a true sense of their sins and vileness through the operation of God’s grace infused into their Hearts” (Mather [3]). As dramatically literal proofs that “the wages of sin is death,” penitent criminals were licensed to impart advice on the deadly aspects of more mundane sins. Nevertheless, penitent criminals did not restrict their pedagogical remarks to prohibitions based on their own avowedly poor choices. They also instructed people on proper Christian living, giving advice on a variety of topics to multiple, speci‹cally de‹ned audiences. The murderous apprentice, Nathaniel Butler, not only stated his hopes that his “Counsel” on “the beginnings of sin” “might reach the Ears and Hearts of every rebellious and disobedient Child and Servant in this Great City, and the whole Nation”; he also “addressed himself to Masters and Servants, advising them and pressing them earnestly to be vigilant and careful in their several Capacities” (“Life of Nathaniel Butler” 11, 17). Before being executed for the murder of her maid, Jane Grif‹n advised her only daughter to “obey God and Learn that Charity, Love, and meekness which our blessed religion teaches”; she also had a few things to “teach” her spouse as well: “She exhorted her husband with great earnestness to the practice of a regular and Christian life, begged him to take due care of his temporal concerns, and not omit anything necessary in the education” of their daughter (“Life of Jane Grif‹n” 14, 13). The reluctant hit man and soldier John Stern left detailed advice for everyone from governors, kings, and “great men,” to sailors, drunkards, and fellow prisoners (Burnet and Horneck 17–21). Robert Foulks, convicted of murdering his bastard child, was full of good counsel—not only for the wife and legitimate children he left behind (advising them on piety, child rearing, sources of spiritual consolation, kindness, and obedience) but even for

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his parishioners and for “him that should succeed him in his Vicarage.” He tells the former to “love and forgive one another” and informs the latter about “how he ought to reprove them . . . and what Method of Discipline and Teaching would be most suitable to their Constitutions” (“Life of Robert Foulks” 47, 48). To modern readers, this last example undoubtedly seems the most disturbing of the lot. The idea that a “baby-killing” parson, no matter how apologetic, could pretend to propound the wisdom of Dr. Spock at the gallows offends even jaded sensibilities. For criminal biographers, however, advice directed the way Foulks directed his was the least of their worries. Penitent parents counseling their children, husbands instructing their wives, servants addressing fellow servants—all speeches delivered in such a manner reinforce traditional vectors of power; they maintain the status quo. The real problem arises in the other vectors of power made possible by the recognition of the penitent criminal’s pedagogical position: penitent women telling men how to live their lives, as Jane Grif‹n did; drapers’ apprentices advising their social superiors, as Robert Maynard did; and rank-and-‹le men like John Stern telling generals what to do. If criminal biographers concede, as they do, that penitent criminals express and instruct others in “the ways” of God, and even speak the words of God himself, that concession allows potentially troublesome implications of authority to accrue to women and the lower class as speaking subjects.29 Criminal biographers point to God’s working through such “miserable vessels” as a testimony to his omnipotence. But in a society deeply invested in gender and class hierarchies, a danger lurks in such a reading: the possibility that certain connotations of “power” might rub off on the vessels themselves, on those whose authority, if they are admitted to have any at all, is to be strictly con‹ned to their station in life. In this context, the images of women and lower-class men as speaking subjects threaten to take on socially subversive connotations; that is to say, they threaten to become meaningful in ways incongruent with the essentially conservative aims of criminal biography, where conservative means being geared toward comfortable and morally gratifying ways of managing the divisive implications of crime. the “sameness” solution Together, then, the public’s expectations of gallows speeches and the concept of penitence that the biographers themselves espoused compelled criminal biographers to offer some sort of representation of penitents as speaking subjects. The convergence of these two discourses, in effect, demanded that the genre of criminal biography assign some value and meaning to the public utterances of penitent criminals and recognize their ministerial function. Yet in compelling biographers to assign such impor-

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tance and spiritual authority to the words of homicidal serving maids, disgruntled orderlies, innkeepers, and citizens’ wives, these demands also open the texts up—at least potentially—to undesirable speculations about the “power” they sanction to that segment of the population. Of all the possible misconstructions of criminal biographers’ work, this was one they could least afford; it could not only alienate their most devoted audience, the “middling sort” of readers, but also undermine the central purpose of these texts: to put things comfortably back in their places. Nevertheless, the key word here is potential. Ultimately, these alternative meanings can only be called potentially troublesome because of the sheer success of the representational strategy that criminal biographers use to eradicate them: the strategy of indifference to class and gender as categories of difference. Since the indifference to class has already been demonstrated by Sharpe, and arises from the same motivations as the latter, I will concentrate on the “indifference” shown toward gender in these texts.30 I should point out, however, that the indifference to class difference in these texts is not quite as uniform as Sharpe suggests. Criminal biographers were willing to recognize how someone’s class position affected their penitence, so long as that effect recon‹rmed the traditional estimations of that position. They occasionally observed, for example, that the penitent speeches of some criminals were crippled by their lack of formal education and the natural “amazing dullness of [their] intellects”; such distinctions were clearly tied to their lower-class origins.31 In contrast, criminal biographers make no distinctions between penitent speeches based on gender; collectively, they neither explicitly nor implicitly represent the penitence of women as somehow qualitatively different from that of men. By making gender seem “not to matter,” criminal biographers erase any potentially troublesome connotations of agency and authority that might otherwise accrue to penitent female offenders. If all penitents are represented as “the same,” possessing no gendered identity as penitents, then whatever “power” a female offender appears to have as a speaker is conceptually rendered unexceptional, unremarkable. Her “authority,” if it can even be called that, is made out to be merely that that all penitents possess: a function of her identity as a penitent, not as a woman qua woman. By adopting an “indifferent” stance toward gender in penitential narratives, then, criminal biographers ‹nessed the dif‹culties created by the images of penitence they were compelled to present. They glossed over the imperfect ‹t between the standard vectors of power they wished to reinforce and the pedagogical role of the female penitent. Paradoxically, by leveling the distinctions between male and female penitents in their representations, criminal biographers insured that dominant notions of gender difference went unchallenged on a fundamental level: they fore-

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stalled unwanted speculations about what women’s assumption of authority over men might mean when divorced from its penitential context; they obfuscated what that assumption might mean to a society deeply invested in sexist hierarchies of power. By routinely, effectively, and silently divesting the images of penitent female criminals of any gendered signi‹cance, criminal biographers presented them as unremarkable components of the genre’s familiar fare. The images were probably taken as such by their faithful readers as well. Predisposed to ‹nd comfort within biographers’ depictions of criminals and inundated by penitent lives that all offered more of “the same,” contemporary consumers of the genre might very well not have noticed the seams of this “sameness” at all—the “trouble” that was excised or the strategy behind what remained. So far, I have discussed the speci‹c circumstances that compelled criminal biographers to represent penitent criminals as speaking subjects, the potential problems created in the process, and the ideological function of “sameness.” But what does this “sameness” consist of? How is it manifested in criminal biographies’ representations of penitence? First of all, it is important to remember that I have used “sameness” here as shorthand for an absence of categorical distinctions based on gender, not an absence of distinctions in general. In their representations of penitents, criminal biographers neither explicitly nor implicitly assign one group of images, traits, and expressions to women and another group to men; in other words, they do not differentiate between male and female penitents as members of a particular sex. The absence of this type of differentiation does not mean that variation doesn’t occur at all in penitent lives but that the variation that does occur is never attributed to gender difference. For example, to describe their relationship with God or express their remorse, some male penitents quote Ezekiel, while some female penitents quote Romans. But, according to the way these moments are represented in the texts, whether a penitent quotes from one book or the other has nothing to do with whether that penitent is male or female: there are female penitents who quote Ezekiel but not Romans, and male penitents who quote Romans but not Ezekiel. Similarly, the order in which a penitent passes through the set of spiritual steps may vary; most penitents experience an unbroken if arduous path to spiritual enlightenment, but some have the occasional setback; some penitents lead prayers while others are content to recite ones composed for them—but none of these instances of difference, either individually or taken together, identify or suggest gender as the source of this difference. The point is that criminal biographers represent such variation as something that occurs between men and women (or men and men, women and women) as individual

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penitents, not as a register of differences between men and women as “men” and “women.” As an absence of categorical distinctions based on gender, “sameness” pervades every aspect of the penitent lives that criminal biographers purport to represent. There is, apparently, nothing about being a woman that makes a female penitent experience or express the “pricks of conscience”—her guilt, horror, sorrow, despair, and feelings of self-loathing about the crime—any differently from her male counterpart. Men bear no special relationship to God that might shape their “full and ingenuous Confession[s]” differently than women’s confessions; their masculinity does not give rise to a unique set of concerns and issues about their “offending so gracious a God, and depriving a fellow creature of his life.” And the same may be said about the way penitents ful‹ll other spiritual steps: the prayers and Bible studies they lead and participate in; the scripture they recite; the corrective accounts they offer; the peace, faith, and joy they experience through Christ’s mercy; the satisfaction they express in their own execution and their longing for death; and the cautionary speeches they give. According to criminal biographers’ representations, none of these activities distinguishes men and women from one another. To appreciate how this “sameness” operates, we need only compare the representations it generates with those that we might expect had we been reading funeral sermons instead of criminal biographies.32 Take, for example, the penitent criminals’ practice of identifying themselves with speci‹c characters from the Bible; the biographers themselves used this method of typology to describe the penitents as well. In funeral sermons, the idea of typology is expressed through two distinct sets of comparisons. With the exception of Christ, who for obvious reasons is hailed as a model for both sexes, these sets divide along gender lines: pious women are compared to strong and irreproachable biblical women like Hannah, Deborah, Esther, Ruth, the virtuous wife of Proverbs, the virgin Mary, Elisabeth the mother of John the Baptist, and Lydia; pious men are compared to ‹gures like Moses, Joshua, David, Ezekiel, Paul, and Timothy. If the same strategy of representation operated in criminal biography, we would expect to see penitent women comparing themselves to a chastened Miriam, who opposed Moses’ authority, was stricken with leprosy by God, and repented; or Mary Magdalene, whom a popular extratextual tradition during the century identi‹ed as a prostitute reformed by Christ; or even to Israel, which is frequently personi‹ed in the second half of the Old Testament as a wayward and chastised woman. We would expect to see penitent men comparing themselves exclusively to biblical men suffering and remorseful for their sins: David as adulterer and murderer, whom God deprived of his infant son’s life because of his wickedness but later forgave and blessed; Paul, who was stricken with blindness for his persecution of the Jews and subsequently converted; or the thief

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on the cross, forgiven by Christ himself. What we actually ‹nd in criminal biographies, however, is an absence of identi‹cation patterns that align themselves according to a two-sex model. Instead, both women and men appeal indiscriminately either to a set mixed-sex grouping of biblical penitents or just to the thief on the cross. This lack of distinction thus creates moments of typology that would never occur within funeral sermons’ more familiar methods of handling difference. Within the context of the set grouping “Manasseh that was a great sinner, and Mary Magdalen, and Paul, that were great Sinners, and the Thief upon the Cross,” men like Thomas Savage and Edmund Kirk compare themselves to a female prostitute. Women like Ann Evans, on the other hand, liken themselves exclusively to a man: “For the Thief upon the Cross found mercy from our Saviour at the last hour, and I Question not, that he my Savior hath mercy for me.”33 When placed within the context of how gender difference is treated in funeral sermons, the real remarkableness of that “sameness” criminal biographers employ becomes apparent. Moments like the ones I mentioned earlier jump out at us, and we can perceive that there is more to this strategy of representation than meets the eye. But in fact, within the texts themselves everything is geared toward making this “sameness” invisible, dulling readers’ senses toward the strangeness of it. Criminal biographers painstakingly made an absence of gender distinctions seem a familiar and comfortable concept. The circumstances under which their efforts were made point to the high ideological stakes involved in this disappearing act. As the popularity of funeral sermons suggests, other more inherently unremarkable—and supremely marketable—representational strategies for dealing with gender were readily available to criminal biographers. Had they chosen to acknowledge or exaggerate gender difference, they would have had an instant captive audience: contemporary readers were bombarded by plays and periodical essays, ballads and books, and civil laws and traditions that accustomed them to thinking of men and women as categorically different beings in many ways. That criminal biographers would risk alienating readers and take on the dif‹cult task of passing off an absence of gender distinctions as a run-ofthe-mill occurrence underscores the “trouble” that absence was meant to efface. Only dire implications and compelling circumstances could have steered criminal biographers away from the usual methods of representing gender. the site of our indifference: penitential narratives and feminist scholarship By all indications, the disappearing act that criminal biographers performed in penitential narratives—making gender difference and the absence of that difference seem insigni‹cant—was successful. None of

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their detractors remarked upon, much less objected to, the biographers’ apparent indifference to gender as a category of difference. Since these same critics did not hesitate to accuse biographers of depraved indifference in other matters (namely, in relation to the “truth” and the spiritual welfare of the condemned), the “success” of this particular indifference probably had more to do with the critics’ own predilections than the biographers’ consummate skill as writers. Despite their numerous objections to the biographers’ motivations and methods, critics would have had no more reason to call attention to the authority of the penitent woman qua woman, with its potentially troublesome implications, than the biographers they criticized. Their uniform silence concerning this indifference suggests their tacit approbation of its purpose: to insure the unremarkableness of the female penitent’s “authority.” That the biographers’ critics appeared indifferent to the gender indifference in penitential narratives is thus understandable; their apathy denotes a speci‹c conservative agenda that, in this context, they share with the writers of penitent lives. But what about the indifference that modern scholars of gender in early eighteenth-century studies have shown toward these texts? Given the temporal and cultural gulf that separates modern readers from these texts and the unique “compelling circumstances” that gave rise to gender indifference within them, it seems highly unlikely that our indifference stems from the same agenda that the biographers shared with their critics. Still, I would argue that our indifference to these texts is linked to our own “predilections” as feminist scholars, to what we value and expect to see in the texts we study and in our own work. Recognizing how and why the treatment of gender in these texts does not ‹t our usual conceptual frameworks—and becomes the site of our own indifference—can help us not only develop a more nuanced understanding of gender in the period but appreciate how we ourselves invest gender with meaning. To be sure, many period scholars, not just those who profess an interest in gender studies, could be held accountable for ignoring the treatment of gender in penitential narratives; feminists certainly do not intrinsically bear more responsibility for addressing such issues than those who claim to have more “universal” or “traditional” concerns. The dearth of scholarship on these narratives in general might also lead us to conclude that the indifference of feminist scholars is nothing remarkable, that it merely re›ects a widespread lack of scholarly interest in the material. What sets their indifference apart from the obliviousness of other scholars, however, is the interest they have taken in the narratives or “rogue biographies” of impenitent female criminals from the same period. While impenitential narratives are by no means a hotbed of eighteenth-century studies, they have attracted the attention of, among others, such well-

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respected scholars as Margaret Doody and Janet Todd, the latter of whom has also collaboratively produced one of two recent collections of primary source material on impenitent criminals.34 The current feminist revamping of Defoe studies also holds the promise of renewing interest in impenitential narratives. Although criminal biographies have long been recognized as an illuminating context for Defoe, recent work on Moll Flanders and Roxana informed by feminist theory has rede‹ned women’s impenitential narratives as a distinct subset of those biographies, a context worthy of consideration in its own right.35 Given this burgeoning feminist interest in impenitential narratives, we might well expect to see an accompanying interest in—or at least an appreciation of—penitential narratives. They are the most obvious cultural counterpart to “rogue” biographies; that fact alone suggests their relevance to the study of those biographies. And if the number, editions, and price range of extant penitential narratives is any indication, they were not an illusory counterpart; penitential narratives were just as popular with contemporary readers as the impenitent ones.36 While neither type of narrative has been reprinted extensively in modern times, penitential narratives are certainly, on the whole, no less accessible than the handful of impenitential narratives that feminist scholars have chosen to study. There are thus few archival barriers to exploring the connections between the two types of narrative. Nevertheless, apart from brie›y acknowledging their existence, feminist scholars have not addressed penitential narratives. Why is this the case? What consigns penitential narratives to an “indifferent” fate in feminist scholarship? The key to understanding this indifference lies in the “interest” feminist scholars have shown in impenitential narratives: not simply in the existence of that interest but in the type of texts and details it selects and the meaning it assigns to them. The scholarship characterizes these narratives as “the embodiment of women’s voices and women’s lives on the page, where women ‹gure as victims, witnesses, accessories, but most interestingly and disturbingly as agents” (Doody, “Law” 130). Although most scholars acknowledge that these voices “reach us strangled, altered, [and] distorted” through this medium, they continue to view the narratives as “still some of our richest resources for recovering those voices”; they gear the recovery project toward those aspects or moments of texts that purportedly demonstrate or “facilitate resistance” and “possibilities for agency” (Dolan, Dangerous Familiars 5). For example, one scholar ascribes cultural savvy and agency to a particular murderer, arguing that her language, behavior, and dress, as they were recorded in such narratives, indicate her ability to “wr[ite] herself back into her society along acceptable romantic plot lines”; she also sees calculated “de‹an[ce]” in another murderer’s “mentioning the unmentionable” subject of menstru-

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ation while stating her defense (Doody, “Law” 157, 144). Another scholar interprets a 1663 narrative about Mary Carleton, the infamous impostor and thief, as a demonstration of “the female power of literary self-selling” (Todd, “Marketing” 83). Although she discusses how the social scripts available to women constrained the permutations of this power, she brushes aside a potentially signi‹cant complication to her argument, the question of authorship, with reasoning as circular as that of the unidenti‹ed “critics” she criticizes : “This is an adroit and stylistically pro‹cient pamphlet, to some critics suggesting collaboration, as though a convincing female picture must be male-drawn. But Mary Carleton’s obvious cleverness and linguistic skills argue her authorship of much if not all of the work.”37 Through the details it dwells upon and the ones it silently omits, then, feminist scholarship on impenitential narratives valorizes a concept of female subjectivity that af‹rms women’s potential and achievements as “transgressive,” “resistant,” or “subversive” agents, as subjects who manage to negotiate some kind of power in spite of or within societal strictures. Underlying this concept is a tacit assumption that within these texts, something of this subjectivity remains and can be identi‹ed as unique to women, rather than just any criminal; that the “resistance” or agency they demonstrate not only causes women to be represented differently from men by the writers of impenitential narratives but requires a critical approach that capitalizes on this apparent gender speci‹city. It is the inapplicability of these ideas to penitential narratives that insures their virtual neglect by the very scholars whose work they might bene‹t the most. The depiction of women in penitential narratives leaves little room for attributing agency to them, at least not the transgressive, resistant sort of “agency” that scholars have identi‹ed and deemed valuable in impenitential narratives. For those inclined to see subversive or empowering drama in representations of female subjectivity, a female penitent accepting her punishment and spiritual guidance can have none of the allure of a woman rebutting testimony by displaying her dirty linen. The collective indifference of penitential narratives to gender as a category of difference also frustrates any attempts to assign a genderspeci‹c meaning to details in the way impenitential narratives have been read; if the texts represent male and female penitents as “the same,” as possessing no gendered identities as penitents, they offer little to con‹rm that interpretive method and thereby capture the “interest” of those who employ it.38 In short, because penitential representations of gender entail “resistance” only in the sense that they resist being read the way we would like to read them, they have become a site of our indifference. I say “our indifference” here—even though only the few scholars who

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study impenitential narratives are directly implicated in it—because I think these scholars are not alone in their predilections. Together, their responses to the two types of narrative emblematize the direction taken by many modern studies of women novelists of the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. Even though both pioneering and recent literary histories have established the contemporary popularity of apparently more innocuous writers like Penelope Aubin, Elizabeth Rowe, and Jane Barker, work on early women novelists has stagnated on readings of the so-called naughty triumvirate, Aphra Behn, Delarivière Manley, and Eliza Haywood.39 Like feminist scholarship’s treatment of criminal biographies, the current “interest” in the second group of novelists and indifference to the ‹rst group seems tied to, at least in part, expectations of a “subversiveness” that would appeal to modern sensibilities. Scholars have been drawn to the conniving and lascivious heroines of Behn, Manley, and Haywood as powerful examples of female agency that also re›ect the “real-life” resistant spirits of the writers themselves as notorious women of their day.40 Occasionally, they have also considered the virtuous female characters drawn by the authors they champion, but only as necessary plot devices to dramatize the machinations of the more compelling female characters or, more rarely, as characters that are “subversive” as well.41 Given the logic that inspires the biographically in›ected criticism of these novelists, we might well expect more scholars to see something of the lives of Behn, Manley, and Haywood in their virtuous characters as well; after all, the virtuous characters are also their creations, and, even if they are not complex, they are usually no less complex than the “bad” characters that scholars have found so fascinating. It appears, however, that that kind of biographical inference has not found favor in the current critical climate. A similar sort of biographical inference has worked against the inclusion of Aubin, Rowe, and Barker in feminist work on the period. The perceived tameness of the authors’ lives and of their central female characters has, comparatively speaking, exiled them to critical oblivion.42 Not only does this perception fail to recognize the public-persona dimension of this “tameness,” particularly in Aubin’s case, but, combined with the speci‹c kind of “interest” shown in Behn, Manley, and Haywood, it maintains the study of early women novelists as a critical backwater of feminist scholarship on the eighteenth century.43 Feminist scholarship on gender from the 1740s to the 1820s has produced compelling studies of female ‹gures who do not ‹t neatly or overtly into a “transgressive” reading like the ones mentioned earlier: ‹ctional characters like Pamela and Clarissa, as well as writers like Frances Burney and Jane Austen and their heroines.44 So, too, recent work on female poets of the early part of

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the period explores the creations of “uncontroversial” women like Anne Finch and Katherine Phillips.45 But those who study early women novelists are in many ways still contending with interpretations that remain a little too closely entwined with the “celebratory recovery of women writers” that electri‹ed feminist scholarship in the 1970s.46 I also call the indifference demonstrated by scholars of impenitential narratives “our indifference” because I think many of us, “us” now meaning feminists in general, value the image of female subjectivity that those scholars promote, regardless of whether we agree with the ways it has been employed. If, as Denise Riley suggests, “it cannot be denied that a great part of the history of modern feminism does rest on the underwriting of particular categorizations of ‘women,’ while challenging others” (135), the vision of women as agents, capable of resistance and subversion, must be one of our most underwritten categorizations. Its seductiveness to us stems not only from the empowering sort of connections it enables between modern women and women of the past but because it embodies what we often desire for our work as women scholars.47 We want our work to challenge dominant discourses about women, recognize and create possibilities for studying and appreciating women’s positions, and have an impact on our chosen ‹elds as a whole. This vision of female subjectivity and these goals for our work, in and of themselves, pose no problems to responsible scholarship. Certainly they have played an integral part in the development and achievements of feminist criticism and theory. As the scholarship on impenitential narratives demonstrates, however, they can also ›atten our perspective on texts in at least two signi‹cant ways. First, in searching the past for models of female behavior that seem to re›ect modern notions of empowerment, we can lose sight of their status as representations. By this I mean not merely their status as mediated versions of the lives of actual women but also the historically contingent nature of that mediation. Like the penitential narratives discussed in this chapter, they are representations written under speci‹c circumstances by authors with a speci‹c agenda and audience in mind; as such, they cannot be treated either as mere spoutings of the “patriarchal” line or testaments to female subjectivity. Still, in locating uniquely feminine kinds of agency and resistance in impenitential narratives, scholars have employed both sorts of readings without even dealing with the apparent contradiction between them. Why would criminal biographers promote such an empowered vision of these women, if indeed this is the case? What speci‹c purpose might such a representation serve, and how might exploring that purpose complicate (or challenge) our understanding of its “transgressiveness”? The intent of these questions is not to claim that the actual women whose lives are

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recorded by criminal biographies had no agency or strategies of resistance—they almost undoubtedly did; rather, I mean to suggest that as representations, the texts do not necessarily give us access to any reliable information about that agency or those strategies, or at least about whether they were “subversive” in the way that scholars have talked about them. Similarly, I do not intend to charge any of these scholars with neglect of the historical context, only with inattention to particular implications it has for their arguments. In the hunt for powerful and empowering examples of female agency, scholars sometimes allow the cultural speci‹city of such moments to fade into the background, when it should be inextricable from them. Second, allegiance to this vision of female subjectivity ill equips us to anticipate or interpret representations in which gender difference seems not to matter. On the one hand, given how many of the texts we study posit and assign signi‹cance to categorical differences between men and women, our expectation to ‹nd such differences at work in representations does not seem unreasonable. In fact, some of the most compelling and in›uential feminist theory in recent years has concerned the process of “debate or repression that leads to the appearance of timeless permanence in binary gender representation,” arguing that “even when gender seems to congeal in the most rei‹ed forms, the ‘congealing’ itself is an insistent and insidious practice, sustained and regulated by various social means” (Scott 94; Butler 32). In feminist scholarship on impenitential narratives, the concept of a resistant female subjectivity is predicated on binary gender difference, on an expectation that women’s “transgressiveness” is and can be distinguished from male behavior. Nevertheless, in accustoming us to thinking of binaries as the modus operandi of the dominant culture—as the way it represents gender and gives it meaning—the concept can inhibit us from recognizing alternative expressions of that culture’s values—hence feminist scholars’ indifference to penitential narratives, where the apparent absence of gender distinctions serves a speci‹c conservative agenda. In Henry Fielding’s ‹ctional account of the real-life thief Jonathan Wild, the condemned Wild bequeaths ‹fteen maxims to the living “as the certain Methods of attaining Greatness.” The list includes the admonition “to know no distinction of men from affection; but to sacri‹ce all with equal readiness to [your] interest” (216; bk. 4, chap. 15). Although we would never mistake Fielding’s Wild for a penitent or a character worthy of emulation, his waggish maxim does contain a lesson for us as readers of criminal biographies. We need to be wary of the distorting effect of our most cherished ideas about gender representation, lest we, like Wild, make too many sacri‹ces to our “interest.”

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notes 1. Smith, like many of those who succeeded him as “Ordinary,” wrote a lucrative serial account based on the crimes and ‹nal hours of Newgate prisoners. For a detailed study of the history of this account and its writers, see Linebaugh, “Ordinary.” 2. In “A Hymn to the Funeral Sermon,” Daniel Defoe actually asks the funeral sermon to provide this de‹nition (lines 3–4) because of criminal biography’s abysmal failure to do so, speci‹cally under the ordinary Paul Lorraine. For a discussion of other contemporary attacks on the ordinary’s publishing ventures, see Linebaugh, “Ordinary” 254–58. 3. For example, in response to charges of misplaced praise, one biographer asserts that the accusers themselves didn’t know the difference between calling someone “penitent” and elevating them to sainthood (“Answer” 1–4). Elsewhere he interprets Daniel Defoe’s scathing portrait of the ordinary and his “Account” as a re›ection of Defoe’s own hypocrisy and perversion of religious values; he tells Defoe, “[Thou art] giving others, what thou oughtst to claim: / And as thou hast the Crimes of other Men / Strove to discover, do Thy Own but pen,” and dismisses Defoe’s accusations as typical of a man who “always valu’d that Religion best / Which breeds Contention and destroys all Rest” (“Remarks” 4, 14–15). 4. “Where lies the Secret, let us know / To Make a Sheep-stealer a Saint?” (Defoe 16–17). 5. An eclectic mix of materials on crime survives from this period, including broadsides, execution sermons, trial transcripts and other court records, and more overtly literary considerations of crime, as well as the brief, serial accounts of sentences and executions published by the of‹ce of the ordinary. The term criminal biography, however, has been used speci‹cally to denote the longer texts—pamphlets and contemporary collections—that purport to be true accounts of criminals’ lives and untimely deaths; I will use this de‹nition of the term throughout the chapter. For the parameters of this paradigm, see the only full-length critical study of this genre to date, Faller (esp. x and 46). For studies of criminal narratives in America, see Bosco; Williams. A more generically diverse study of criminal texts is pursued in Dolan, Dangerous Familiars. 6. In their accounts, the ordinaries frequently lumped together all the responses of the penitent prisoners scheduled to be executed on a given date, as if they spoke and acted completely in unison. For example, in one edition of his account, the ordinary Samuel Smith states that after he exhorted them to penitence, “they began to be awakened from their Security in an Evil State, and to lament their former ›agitious Courses”; “Then asking them what Hope they had, that God was reconciled to them in Christ, they replyed, That they Prayed and did what they could, to obtain the Pardon of their Sins, and that they might be saved” (True Account 1, 2). This “collective” uniformity seems born out of the ordinary’s desire to ‹ll his limited pages with descriptions of criminal charges and sentences rather than details of a particular prisoner’s penitence. 7. Clergymen frequently cited Acts 10:34–35 as a comfort to condemned prisoners but noted such comfort was as conditional as the divine promise set out in the biblical passage: only “truly Penitent and believing sinners” could lay claim to “these good words of God[’]s gracious promises . . . That the Lord was no

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respecter of Persons, but an Universal, a Common Saviour” (Q[uick] 48). In other words, God is only indifferent to difference when the sinner in question is truly penitent. Since most of the known authors of penitential narratives were clergymen, an apparent “meeting of minds” between God and man on this subject is not surprising. Still, I think this reading alone does not fully account for the origins of these representations. 8. Although crime and the development of the British legal system have long been popular subjects with period historians, the more lengthy narratives of criminals’ lives have been, for the most part, left to literary scholars. No doubt the exclusion of these texts from histories of crime as a social phenomenon stems from their editorializing bent: historians have gravitated to judges’ journals, court records, trial transcripts, and the listing of convictions and sentences in ordinaries’ accounts as more reliable and rewarding sources of information on prosecutory methods, crime statistics, judicial biases, and sentencing policies. The bestknown of studies of this type are Beattie; Langbein, “Criminal Trial” and “Shaping”; and Herrup. Peter Linebaugh questions this exclusionary practice, although his own work on such texts has been restricted to the ordinaries’ accounts and “rogue” biographies. See Linebaugh, The London Hanged (xix–xxi and chap. 1). 9. The popular perception of crime as a growing problem, and the gap between this perception and overall declining crime rates during the period, have been commented upon in Faller (151–52); Curtis (117–37, esp. 119); and Hunter (181). 10. See Davis (42–84, 125–30); Hunter (167–94). 11. The incidence and treatment of domestic violence during the period have attracted scholarly interest in recent years. See Amussen; Dolan, Dangerous Familiars (chaps. 2 and 4); Hunt; and Sharpe, “Domestic Homicide.” 12. For evidence of the “middling-class” readership of these texts, see also appendix I, “Who read the popular literature of crime?” in Faller (203–10). 13. See Lake; Sharpe, “‘Last Dying Speeches.’” For the general explanatory power of these discourses, see Thomas; and Spufford, chap. 8, “Small Godly Books and Popular Religion” (194–218). 14. See Althusser (170–74). 15. Modern scholars have made much of spousal murder as a site of gender discrimination, a crime for which women were burned at the stake as perpetrators of “petit treason,” whereas men who killed their wives could only be convicted of murder and sentenced to hang. In many other instances, however, the discriminating tastes of lawmakers and jurors did not work in men’s favor. Husbands could be held legally accountable for certain crimes in which their wives as accomplices might not be; and although women comprised only a small percentage of those indicted for violent and nonviolent crimes, they were statistically more likely than men to have cases against them dismissed, to receive a not-guilty verdict, and to have their sentences commuted. For treatment of petit treason and men’s and women’s different responsibilities under the law, see Staves, chap. 3, “Sovereignty in the Family” (111–89); Amussen (75–77); and Faller (48–49). The relation between gender and crime statistics is discussed throughout Beattie, but see esp. 237–43, 402–4, and 436–39.

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16. Sharpe is not alone in espousing this concept of state power; it has threatened to become a “one-size-‹ts-all” theory for understanding criminal procedures of the period, according to a review of the most famous collection on the subject. See Langbein, “Albion’s Fatal Flaws.” 17. For a contemporary response, see Mandeville (18–37). Modern scholars disagree about the “lightheartedness” of the entertainment. See Linebaugh, “Tyburn Riot” (64–117); Laqueur (305–55), quoted in Linebaugh, The London Hanged (xviii n7). 18. I borrow this term from Faller, who uses it to refer to violent crimes that occur in families, “stressing in ‘familiar’ the archaic sense of ‘familial,’ and pointing out that ‘family’ would have included one’s servants as well as one’s spouse and children” (4). 19. Q[uick] 58. Even those inclined to think charitably of such criminals admitted expecting to see someone less than human. The minister Robert Boreman, referring to a penitent young man who had hacked his own brother to death, writes, “So horrid, so unheard of, so unnaturall was the fact, that I confesse, when I ‹rst made my addresses to him . . . , I plainly told him, that ‘I expected to see the head of a Monster, (a Bear or a Tygre) set upon the shoulders of a man; So amazed (even to misbeliefe) was I at the ‹rst report of the murther’” (Q[uick] 7). 20. See, for example, Warning (13–14). 21. Burnet and Horneck 5. Stern’s experience was apparently not unusual; according to contemporary historian Bernard Mandeville, the dearth of sincere gallows speeches in part resulted from the decibel level of execution crowds: “the Dissonance of Voices, and the Variety of Outcries, for different Reasons, that are heard there, together with the Sound of more distant Noises, make a Discord not to be parallel’d” (24). 22. A similar phrase is used in the funeral sermons of pious women, but with slightly different implications. Whereas in criminal biographies the “speaking” referred to in the phrase usually means a posthumous publication of the criminal’s confession and last words, the “speaking” referred to in funeral sermons with this phrase is more hypothetical, occurring “when the Exemplary Life of the Dead survives, yet speaks, as the best proof of the Preacher’s Doctrin[e]”; “she, being dead, yet speaketh, as doubtless she doth, and will do to all that had the honor and happiness to know her” (Dobson 25; Walker 3.) 23. The episode is recounted in Linebaugh, “The Ordinary” (254). 24. Stevens 19. For a similar apology, see Burnet and Horneck (12). 25. In this respect, the public’s reception of criminals’ speeches seems more honest than that of criminal biographers. Biographers tended to point out the possibility of falsehood only when it served their own pedagogical purposes, as in the case of Samuel Smith and the “popish” prisoners cited at the beginning of this chapter. When speaking of penitent criminals, biographers implicitly reinforced and often explicitly avowed the truth of those speeches, arguing that “dying men, who are seized with a quick and piercing sense of their sins, speak with most feeling, and least affectation” (Stevens 41). Of course, many social historians (see Mandeville 25) and clergymen not involved in the publication of penitent lives expressed skepticism about any “truth” produced under such circumstances. As

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minister William Sherlock remarked, “When Men see themselves a dying, they are very sorrowful for their sins, so they say; but the most likely account of it is, that they are very sorry they are a going to Hell, as a Malefactor is very sorrowful when he is going to the Gibbet: This may be the whole of their Sorrow, and it is impossible to prove that there should be anything more in it, and extremely impossible that there is” (345). 26. Franklin et al. 42. See also “Account of the Life” (175). 27. For statistical information on the publication and ‹nancial success of ordinaries’ accounts and other criminal pamphlets, see Harris. For a discussion of the popularity and circulation of these texts, see Faller (47). Many criminal cases inspired multiple accounts that themselves went through numerous editions and reprintings. Two extreme cases are that of Mary Carleton (a.k.a. the German Princess), represented by at least thirteen separate accounts, several of which went through multiple editions; and that of Thomas Savage, one version of which (A Murderer Punished and Pardoned) had already reached its twelfth edition by 1679 and was still being reprinted in 1708. A twenty-‹rst edition of another version of his life, A Warning to Youth, appeared in 1720. Even if we assume edition numbers have been in›ated to some extent to aggrandize a particular text’s status as the “of‹cial” version, the extant texts attest to the genre’s popularity. 28. Almost every extant penitential biography quotes or alludes to it, and the criminals themselves apparently made it a central text for meditation during imprisonment. They also called for it to be read or recited it on their own at the gallows. See, for example, Full and True Account (3); Q[uick] (66); Franklin et al. (23, 46); Stevens (33); and “Life of Nathaniel Butler” (8). Sharpe points out that “the ‹fty-‹rst psalm [was] also the standard ‘reading test’ for those claiming bene‹t of clergy [and] was frequently sung at executions” (“‘Last Dying Speeches’” 151 n. 26). 29. See B[oreman] (34); Q[uick] (70). 30. See Sharpe, “‘Last Dying Speeches’” (157–59). 31. “Life of James White” 228. See also Q[uick] (29); and the descriptions of Stern’s Polish accomplice, George Borosky, in Burnet and Horneck (5, 9). 32. This comparison is based on chapter 2 of my dissertation, “‘Shibboleths of Sainthood’: Gender and Language-Use in Eighteenth-Century Funeral Sermons.” Ann Arbor: University of Michigan, 1996. 33. Franklin et al 35; A True Relation of the Behavior 4; Q[uick] 59. 34. Doody, “Law” and “‘Those Eyes”; Todd, “Marketing.” For an earlier version of this discussion, see Todd, The Sign of Angellica (52–55). The primary source collections are Todd and Spearing; and Rawlings. 35. See, for example, Rietz. 36. See Faller (3–4); Sharpe, “‘Last Dying Speeches’” (155). 37. Todd, “Marketing” (83–84). Because Todd singles out this particular narrative for study, she also does not consider the impact the date of publication relative to other versions may have had on the content of the narrative. While versions of the case published between 1663 and 1670 are a mixed lot (some disparage Carleton, others are more ›attering or admiring), those published after her execution in 1673 are universally derogatory. The shift in representation may have had more to do with the outcome of legal proceedings against Carleton than

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her own “linguistic” expertise. Her acquittal in her initial trial for bigamy and fraud in 1663 gave semiof‹cial sanction to representing her as a positive ‹gure, a possibility virtually eliminated by her transportation and subsequent execution for thefts in 1673. Glamorizing someone found guilty and executed for petty theft would undoubtedly be a much harder task. For a list of extant Carleton narratives, see Hobby (93 nn. 19–20). 38. In fact, the only published piece on gender in penitential narratives proceeds to apply such a reading anyway—a move that necessarily involves ignoring male penitential narratives. Relying solely on another critic’s inaccurate characterization of male narratives, Frances Dolan dismisses them as “different from”— and therefore irrelevant to—her study of women’s penitential narratives. This enables her to read a modicum of “agency” in a female penitent’s refutation of the stories others tell about her crime and their constructions of her character; she sees in such moments the presence of a uniquely feminine voice over and against that of patriarchal discourse. The fact that identical moments, described in equivalent terms, occur in the penitential narratives of men and women from a wide range of classes makes this reading questionable at best. Its shortcomings reveal the hold this concept of female subjectivity has over a lot of feminist scholarship on the period. See Dolan, “‘Gentleman” (157–78, esp. 158 and 171–77). 39. These literary histories include MacCarthy; Richetti, Popular Fiction (esp. chap. 6); and Spencer. The term “naughty triumvirate” is Todd’s. Although Ros Ballaster’s study of “women’s amatory ‹ction” is a signi‹cant and sophisticated contribution on early women novelists, its chosen scope also virtually precludes Aubin, Rowe, and Barker. 40. For example, Catherine A. Craft sees “truly subversive,” if veiled, elements in “the power and vigour of [Behn’s] heroine and the support that heroine gets from a distinctly female narrator” in The History of the Nun; or, The Fair VowBreaker and shows how in “writing with feminine ‘artfulness and deceitfulness,’ three early women novelists manage to embody, within conservative tales, subversive female stories” (824, 838). Mary Anne Scho‹eld suggests Haywood’s “aggressive” critique of her sexist society was embodied in character types that “encouraged” her female readers “to escape from their second-class, slavelike positions and share the exhilarating, thrilling love adventures of her heroines” (“Expose” 102). One scholar even seems to fault the work of these writers for not being “transgressive” enough—a criticism that begs the question: transgressive for whom? See Bowers (50–72). 41. Although elsewhere Scho‹eld argues that through her “virtuous, submissive” heroines Haywood “offered” her readers “mirrors of themselves,” one of her two book-length studies of Haywood argues that in her novels, Haywood “personally expresses her dissatisfaction with the state of women by subverting the masculine forms to present her own version of the woman’s story—the malecreated virtue-in-distress them actually reveals the exploitation and enslavement of women” (“Expose” 102; preface [2]). 42. In studies purporting to cover women’s writing throughout the period, Aubin, Rowe, and Barker are often missing from the “picture” of the early part of the period. For example, whereas Behn and Manley each rate a whole chapter

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and Haywood half a chapter in Todd’s The Sign of Angellica, the three “pious” authors receive only brief attention. For Catherine Gallagher, they don’t appear to exist at all: while she provides extensive, persuasive readings of Behn and Manley, she states that her “analysis of the careers of Charlotte Lennox and Frances Burney links new concepts of literary property, a new attribution of innocence to authors (especially female authors), and the circulation of ‹ctional entities through the culture.” This “new” attribution of innocence and the concept of anonymity it is linked to, however, sound a lot like what happened with the careers of Aubin, Barker, and Rowe, whom Gallagher never addresses. See Gallagher (xvii). For a thoughtful discussion of Rowe’s excision from the “canon” of women’s literature, see Ezell (104–31, esp. 105–6 and 130–31). Although the works of Aubin, Rowe, and Barker together have generated only a handful of scholarly articles in this century, Kathryn R. King’s recent compelling work on Jane Barker may lead the way to reevaluating the signi‹cance of this work for our understanding of the period (“Jane Barker” and “The Unaccountable Wife”). The latter is particularly valuable in that it shows how the text may be read using recent lesbian theory and then “considers [the] ways in which the tale resists [a] feminist/lesbian reading” and the signi‹cance of that resistance (157). 43. The fact that Aubin was also the author of a “bawdy” play, The Merry Masqueraders (1703), is mentioned in Blain, Clemens, and Grundy (39). Although their entry makes no note of it, such a fact would be hard to reconcile with the typical perception of Aubin as as “bland” as the heroines of her novels. 44. I do not mean to suggest here that ideas of female transgression, agency, and resistance are irrelevant to the study of such ‹gures or that they have been treated as irrelevant by the scholarship. The point is that even in their selection of subjects for study, the scholars who have worked on the later material demonstrate a ›exibility with such concepts and their application that is absent from scholarship on the earlier part of the period. Notable examples of “post-1740” scholarship include Armstrong; Poovey, Proper Lady; Castle; and Epstein. 45. See, for example, McGovern; and Limbert. Work on these authors has also led to some interesting comparative studies between the “naughty” and “nice” poets (e.g., Mermin; Stiebel). 46. Poovey, “Recent Studies” 415. Poovey’s article suggests that, as of 1991, most feminist work has moved on from this approach. 47. In this sense, the fact that Ernest Bernbaum, the original scholar of the Carleton narratives, anticipated in 1914 the feminist interpretation of the Carleton narratives prevalent today should give us pause. Bernbaum remarks that Mary Carleton’s speeches are “strangely like that of the modern feminist” and reads her account as being shaped by “precedents from history and romance”—a point adopted wholesale by Todd and Hobby (23). works cited “The Account of the Life and Penitent Death of Thomas Holland.” In The Wonders of Free Grace; or, a Compleat History of all the Remarkable Penitents That have been Executed at Tyburn. . . . , by Increase Mather, 172–77. London, 1690.

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Althusser, Louis. “Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses.” In Lenin and Philosophy and Other Essays, trans. Ben Brewster, 127–86. New York: Monthly Review, 1971. Amussen, Susan Dwyer. “‘Being Stirred to Much Unquietness’: Violence and Domestic Violence in Early Modern England.” Journal of Women’s History 6.2 (1994): 70–89. “An Answer to the Hymn to the Funeral Sermon.” In Remarks on the Author of the Hymn to the Pillory. With an Answer to the Hymn to the Funeral Sermon. London, 1703. Armstrong, Nancy. Desire and Domestic Fiction: A Political History of the Novel. New York: Oxford University Press, 1987. Ballaster, Ros. Seductive Forms: Women’s Amatory Fiction from 1684 to 1740. Oxford: Clarendon, 1992. Beattie, J. M. Crime and the Courts in England, 1660–1800. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1986. Bernbaum, Ernest. The Mary Carleton Narratives, 1663–1673: A Missing Chapter in the History of the English Novel. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1914. Blain, Virginia, Patricia Clemens, and Isobel Grundy. The Feminist Companion to Literature in English. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1990. B[oreman], R[obert]. A Mirrour of Mercy and Judgement; or, An Exact true Narrative of the Life and Death of Freeman Sonds, Esquier [sic]. . . . London, 1655. Bosco, Ronald. “Lectures at the Pillory: The Early American Execution Sermon.” American Quarterly 30, no. 1 (1978): 156–76. Bowers, Toni O’Shaughnessy. “Sex, Lies, and Invisibility: Amatory Fiction from the Restoration to Mid-Century.” In The Columbia History of the British Novel, ed. John Richetti, 50–72. New York: Columbia University Press, 1994. Burnet, Gilbert, and Anthony Horneck. The Last Confession, Prayers, and Meditations of Lieutenant John Stern. . . . London, 1682. Butler, Judith. Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity. New York: Routledge, 1990. Castle, Terry. Masquerade and Civilization: The Carnivalesque in EighteenthCentury English Culture and Fiction. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1986. The Confession of Francis Nicholson, (Who committed that most barbarous Murther upon the Body of John Dimbleby, Servant to Mr. Marriot) at the Place of Execution. . . . London, 1680. Craft, Catherine A. “Reworking Male Models: Aphra Behn’s Fair Vow-Breaker, Eliza Haywood’s Fantomina, and Charlotte Lennox’s Female Quixote.” Modern Language Review 86 (1991): 821–38. Curtis, Timothy. “Explaining Crime in Early Modern England.” Criminal Justice History 1 (1980): 117–37. Davis, Lennard J. Factual Fictions: The Origins of the English Novel. New York: Columbia University Press, 1983. Defoe, Daniel. “A Hymn to the Funeral Sermon.” London, 1703. Dobson, John. A Sermon Preach’d at the Funeral of the Honourable The Lady Mary Farmor. . . . London, 1670. Dolan, Frances E. Dangerous Familiars: Representations of Domestic Crime in England, 1550–1700. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1994.

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———. “‘Gentleman, I Have One Thing More to Say’: Women on Scaffolds in England, 1563–1680.” Modern Philology 92 (1994): 157–78. Doody, Margaret Anne. “The Law, the Page, and the Body of Woman: Murder and Murderesses in the Age of Johnson.” The Age of Johnson 1 (1987): 127–60. ———. “‘Those Eyes Are Made So Killing’: Eighteenth-Century Murderesses and the Law.” Princeton University Library Chronicle 46.1 (1984): 49–80. Epstein, Julia. The Iron Pen: Frances Burney and the Politics of Women’s Writing. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1989. Ezell, Margaret J. M. Writing Women’s Literary History. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1993. Fair Warning to Murderers of Infants. London, 1692. Faller, Lincoln. Turned to Account: The Forms and Functions of Criminal Biography in Late Seventeenth- and Early Eighteenth-Century England. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987. Fielding, Henry. Jonathan Wild. Ed. David Nokes. New York: Viking Penguin, 1982. Foucault, Michel. “Two Lectures.” In Power/Knowledge: Selected Interviews and Other Writings, 1972–77, ed. Colin Gordon, trans. Colin Gordon, Leo Marshall, John Mepham, and Kate Soper, 78–108. New York: Pantheon, 1980. Franklin, Robert, et al. A Murder Punished and Pardoned; or, A True Relation of the Wicked Life, and shameful happy Death of Thomas Savage. . . . London, 1671. A Full and True Account of the Penitence of John Marketman during his Imprisonment in Chelmsford Gaol. . . . London, 1680. Gallagher, Catherine. Nobody’s Story: The Vanishing Acts of Women Writers in the Marketplace, 1670–1820. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994. Harris, Michael. “Trials and Criminal Biographies: A Case Study in Distribution.” In Sale and Distribution of Books from 1700, ed. Robin Myers and Michael Harris, 1–36. Oxford: Oxford Polytechnic, 1982. Herrup, Cynthia. The Common Peace: Participation and the Criminal Law in Seventeenth Century England. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1987. History of the Press Yard; or, a Brief Account of the Customs and Occurences . . . to be met with in that Ancient Repository of Living Bodies called his Majesty’s Goal of New gate. . . . London, 1717. Hobby, Elaine. Virtue of Necessity: English Women’s Writing, 1649–88. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1988. Hunt, Margaret. “Wife Beating, Domesticity, and Women’s Independence in Eighteenth Century London.” Gender and History 4.1 (1992): 10–33. Hunter, J. Paul. Before Novels: The Cultural Context of Eighteenth-Century English Fiction. New York: W. W. Norton, 1990. King, Kathryn R. “Jane Barker, Poetical Recreations, and the Sociable Text.” English Literary History, 1500–1900 61, no. 1 (1994): 551–70. ———. “The Unaccountable Wife and Other Tales of Female Desire in Jane Barker’s A Patch-Work Screen for the Ladies.” The Eighteenth Century: Theory and Interpretation 35 (spring 1994): 155–72. Lake, Peter. “Popular Form, Puritan Content? Two Puritan Appropriations of the Murder Pamphlet from Mid-Seventeenth Century London.” In Religion,

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Culture and Society in Early Modern Britain: Essays in Honour of Patrick Collinson, ed. Anthony Fletcher and Peter Roberts, 313–34. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994. Langbein, John H. “Albion’s Fatal Flaws.” Review of Albion’s Fatal Tree: Crime and Society in Eighteenth-Century England, by Douglas Hay, Peter Linebaugh, John G. Rule, E. P. Thompson, and Cal Winslow. Past and Present 98 (1983): 96–120. ———. “The Criminal Trial before the Lawyers.” The University of Chicago Law Review 45 (1978): 263–316. ———. “Shaping the Eighteenth-Century Criminal Trial: The View from the Ryder Sources.” The University of Chicago Law Review 50 (1983): 1–136. Laqueur, Thomas W. “Crowds, Carnival and the State in English Executions, 1604–1868.” In The First Modern Society: Essays in English History in Honour of Lawrence Stone, ed. A. L. Beier, David Cannadine, and James M. Rosenheim, 305–55. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989. “The Life of Barbara Spencer, a Coiner, &c.” In Lives of the Most Remarkable Criminals. . . . , ed. Arthur Hayward, 37–44. 1735. Reprint, New York: Dodd, 1927. “The Life of James, alias Valentine Carrick, a Notorious Highwayman and Street Robber.” In Lives of the Most Remarkable Criminals. . . . , ed. Arthur Hayward, 88–94. 1735. Reprint, New York: Dodd, 1927. “The Life of James White, a Thief.” In Lives of the Most Remarkable Criminals. . . . , ed. Arthur Hayward, 220–30. 1735. Reprint, New York: Dodd, 1927. “The Life of Jane Grif‹n.” In Lives of the Most Remarkable Criminals. . . . , ed. Arthur Hayward, 12–17. 1735. Reprint, New York: Dodd, 1927. “The Life of Nathaniel Butler.” In The Wonders of Free Grace; or, a Compleat History of all the Remarkable Penitents That have been Executed at Tyburn. . . . , by Increase Mather, 8–10. London, 1690. “The Life of Philip Roche, A Pirate, etc.” In Lives of the Most Remarkable Criminals. . . . , ed. Arthur Hayward. 1735. Reprint, New York: Dodd, 1927. “The Life of Robert Foulks, a minister, for murdering his bastard child.” In The Wonders of Free Grace; or, a Compleat History of all the Remarkable Penitents That have been Executed at Tyburn. . . . , by Increase Mather, 45–55. London, 1690. “The Life of the Famous John Shepherd, Footpad, Housebreaker, and Prisonbreaker.” In Lives of the Most Remarkable Criminals. . . . , ed. Arthur Hayward, 185–203. 1735. Reprint, New York: Dodd, 1927. Limbert, Claudia. “Katherine Philips: Controlling a Life and Reputation.” South Atlantic Review 56.2 (1991): 27–42. Linebaugh, Peter. The London Hanged: Crime and Civil Society in the Eighteenth Century. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1992. ———. “The Ordinary of Newgate and His Account.” In Crime in England, 1550–1800, ed. J. S. Cockburn, 246–353. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1977. ———. “Tyburn Riot against the Surgeons.” In Albion’s Fatal Tree: Crime and Society in Eighteenth-Century England, by Douglas Hay, Peter Linebaugh, John G. Rule, E. P. Thompson, and Cal Winslow, 64–117. New York: Pantheon, 1975.

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Lives of the Most Remarkable Criminals. . . . 1735. Ed. Arthur Hayward. Reprint, New York: Dodd, 1927. MacCarthy, B.G. The Female Pen: Women Writers and Novelists, 1621–1818. Cork: Cork University Press, 1946–47. Reprint: New York: New York University Press, 1994. Mandeville, Bernard. An Enquiry into the Causes of the Frequent Executions at Tyburn. 1725. Augustan Reprint Society, 105. Reprint, Los Angeles: Clark Memorial Library, 1964. Mather, Increase. The Wonders of Free Grace; or, a Compleat History of all the Remarkable Penitents That have been Executed at Tyburn. . . . London, 1690. McGovern, Barbara. Anne Finch and Her Poetry: A Critical Biography. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1992. Mermin, Dorothy. “Women Becoming Poets: Katherine Philips, Aphra Behn, and Anne Finch.” English Literary History, 1500–1900 57, no. 2 (1990): 335–55. Poovey, Mary. The Proper Lady and the Woman Writer: Ideology as Style in the Works of Mary Wollestonecraft, Mary Shelley, and Jane Austen. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1984. Printz, Jessica Kimball. “Shibboleths of Sainthead: Gender and Language-Use in Eighteenth-Century Funeral Sermons.” Dissertation. University of Michigan, 1996. ———. “Recent Studies of Gender.” Modern Philology 88 (1991): 415–20. Q[uick], J[ohn]. Hell Open’d; or, The Infernal Sin of Murther Punished. . . . London, 1676. Rawlings, Philip. Drunks, Whores, and Idle Apprentices: Criminal Biographies of the Eighteenth Century. London: Routledge, 1992. “Remarks on the Author of the Hymn to the Pillory.” In Remarks on the Author of the Hymn to the Pillory. With an Answer to the Hymn to the Funeral Sermon. London, 1703. Richetti, John J. Popular Fiction before Richardson: Narrative Patterns, 1700–1739. 1969. Reprint, Oxford: Clarendon, 1992. ———. “Popular Narrative in the Early Eighteenth Century: Formats and Formulas.” In The First English Novelists: Essays in Understanding, ed. J. M. Armistead, 3–39. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1985. Rietz, John. “Criminal Ms-Representation: Moll Flanders and Female Criminal Biography.” Studies in the Novel 23, no. 2 (1991): 183–95. Riley, Denise. “Commentary: Feminism and the Consolidations of ‘Women’ in History.” In Coming to Terms: Feminism, Theory, Politics, ed. Elizabeth Weed, 134–42. New York: Routledge, 1989. Scho‹eld, Mary Anne. “Expose of the Popular Heroine: The Female Protagonists of Eliza Haywood.” Studies in Eighteenth-Century Culture 12 (1983): 93–103. ———. Preface to Eliza Haywood. Boston: Twayne, 1985. Scott, Joan W. “Gender: A Useful Category of Historical Analysis.” In Coming to Terms: Feminism, Theory, Politics, ed. Elizabeth Weed, 81–100. New York: Routledge, 1989. Sharpe, J. A. Crime in Early Modern England, 1550–1750. New York: Longman, 1984. ———. “Domestic Homicide in Early Modern England.” Historical Journal 24.1 (1981): 29–48.

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———. “‘Last Dying Speeches’: Religion, Ideology, and Public Execution in Seventeenth-Century England.” Past and Present 107 (1985): 144–67. Sherlock, William. A Practical Discourse Concerning Death. 9th ed. London, 1696. Smith, Samuel. An Account of the Behaviour of the Fourteen late Popish Malefactors . . . Also a Confutation of their Appeals, Courage, and Cheerfulness, at Execution. London, 1679. ———. The True Account . . . 15 April, 1686. London, 1686. The Speech and Deportment of Col. James Turner At his Execution in LeadenHall-street January 21. 1663 Who was Condemned for Felony and Burglary, in Breaking up the House and Robbing of Mr. Francis Tryon Merchant. . . . London, 1663. Spencer, Jane. The Rise of the Woman Novelist from Aphra Behn to Jane Austen. Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1986. Spufford, Margaret. Small Books and Pleasant Histories: Popular Fiction and Its Readership in Seventeenth-Century England. London: Methuen, 1981. Staves, Susan. Players’ Scepters: Fictions of Authority in the Restoration. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1979. Stevens, Joseph. A Narrative of the Extraordinary Penitence of Rob. Maynard, Who was Condemn’d For the Murder of John Stockton, Late Victualler in Grub-Street. . . . London, 1696. Stiebel, Arlene. “Subversive Sexuality: Masking the Erotic in Poems by Katherine Philips and Aphra Behn.” In Renaissance Discourses of Desire, ed. Claude J. Summers and Ted Pebworth, 223–36. Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1993. Thomas, Keith. Religion and the Decline of Magic: Studies in Popular Beliefs in Sixteenth and Seventeenth Century England. London: Weidenfeld, 1971. Todd, Janet. “Marketing the Self: Mary Carleton, Miss F and Susannah Gunning.” In Gender, Art, and Death, 49–80. Cambridge: Polity, 1993. ———. The Sign of Angellica: Women, Writing, and Fiction, 1660–1800. New York: Columbia University Press, 1989. Todd, Janet, and Elizabeth Spearing, eds. Counterfeit Ladies. Washington Square: New York University Press, 1994. A True Relation of the Behavior of Edmund Kirk. London, 1684. A True Relation of Four Most Barbarous and Cruel Murders Committed in Leicester-shire. . . . London, 1684. Walker, Anthony. The Virtuous Woman Found, Her Loss Bewailed, and Character Exempli‹ed in a Sermon. . . . London, 1678. Warning for Servants and A Caution to Protestants; or, the Case of Marg[a]ret Clark, Lately Executed. . . . London, 1680. Weed, Elizabeth, ed. Coming to Terms: Feminism, Theory, Politics. New York: Routledge, 1989. Williams, Daniel E. “‘Behold a Tragic Scene Strangely Changed into a Theater of Mercy’: The Structure and Signi‹cance of Criminal Conversion Narratives in Early New England.” American Quarterly 38, no. 4 (1986): 827–47.

Elizabeth Canning and Mary Squires representations of guilt and innocence in legal and literary texts, 1753–1989

Judith Moore

I Elizabeth Canning, an eighteen-year-old maid-of-all-work in the household of an elderly carpenter and his wife, ‹rst came to public attention when her mother publicized her disappearance after a family visit in January 1753. A month later, Canning returned to her mother’s home late at night, emaciated, half-dressed, and scarcely able to speak, her skin discolored. She was put to bed and attended ‹rst by an apothecary, then by a physician, both of whom feared for her life. Canning’s mother, her master, and a number of eager friends and neighbors elicited from her piecemeal a story of abduction, imprisonment, and escape. They were also able to identify from elements in her story the house in which they believed she had been held, and a few days later, although Canning was still very ill, they carried her to En‹eld, where she identi‹ed an old gypsy woman named Mary Squires—then resident in the disreputable household of Susannah Wells—as one of the persons responsible for her captivity. Neither Wells nor any of the other residents of the house was identi‹ed as an assailant or captor, but Wells was held as an accessory and within a month sentenced to branding in the hand and six months’ imprisonment, while at the same time Squires was capitally convicted of the theft of Canning’s stays. After considerable public commentary and controversy, however, Squires received a royal pardon—nothing was done for Wells, who served her full sentence—and Canning was herself convicted a year later, on very problematic evidence and after apparent jury tampering, of perjury. She was sentenced to transportation and ended her life twenty years later in Connecticut.1 With its two opposed trial outcomes, the proliferation of inconclusive or possibly tainted evidence on all sides, and the attention the case received at the time from such prominent ‹gures as Henry Fielding and the Lord Mayor of London, Sir Crisp Gascoyne, Canning’s story has 197

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come down to our own times—paradoxically, through the efforts of subsequent writers to resolve its contradictions satisfactorily—as a great unsolved mystery. The majority of subsequent commentators on the case, though not all, have made Canning’s guilt their starting point and directed their explanatory efforts at such logically corollary questions as her actual location during her alleged imprisonment and her motivations in perpetrating a fraud with potentially lethal consequences on an elderly gypsy woman. In doing so, they have, in spite of such occasional trappings of modernity as appeals to the authority of Freud, stayed remarkably close to the tradition begun by the case’s ‹rst commentators of ‹nding the explanatory root of the mystery in Canning’s adolescent sexuality. Although Canning did not claim that she had been sexually assaulted and no one was ever charged with a sexual offense against her, the discussion focused from the outset on whether Canning’s chastity was real or feigned. The sides to be taken regularly thereafter were established by the ‹rst writers to address the case, Henry Fielding and Dr. John Hill. Fielding, who had examined Canning as a magistrate, described her as “a poor simple child” (17), “a virtuous, modest, sober, well-disposed girl” (21), “a child in Years, and yet more so in Understanding, with all the evident Marks of Simplicity that I ever discovered in a human Countenance” (23), while Hill was moved to indignation rather than pity: “Where a Girl, like this, could be; and how employed during the Time; is not dif‹cult to imagine. Not with a Lover certainly, say you! You would be happy, Sir, if all you beg should be allowed you. Not with a Lover, Sir! Eighteen, let me remind you, is a critical Age; and what would not a Woman do, that had made an Escape, to recover her own Credit, and screen her Lover?” (24) In the year between the two Old Bailey trials in which Elizabeth Canning and Mary Squires ‹gured, Squires’s well-funded supporters made extensive efforts on two fronts: the establishment of an alibi for her during January 1753; and the discovery of an alternative explanation for Canning’s disappearance at the same time. The ‹rst effort produced a well-orchestrated performance by over seventy witnesses while the second produced nothing, but the absence of witnesses to Canning’s alleged sexual misconduct was supplied by appeals to common knowledge. As the prosecution’s principal attorney, William Davy, put it at Canning’s trial, “there is a time, gentlemen, when people begin to be wicked” (Complete Collection 19:614), and for a young woman that time was puberty. The painter Allan Ramsay, in a pamphlet published under the persona of an elderly clergyman, thus took up the implications of Hill’s assertion:

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There are such distempers as lyings-in and miscarriages, to which young servant-maids of eighteen are very much subject; distempers that will hold them as long and reduce them as low as has been related of E. Canning, especially if attended and nursed in the manner we may easily suppose her to have been. It may not be amiss to hint, that thirteen shillings and sixpence [the amount of money in Canning’s possession at the time of her disappearance], with the sale of a gown and stays, is hardly more than suf‹cient to defray the expences of such an operation; even altho’ no part of it was expended in a christening, a wet nurse, or a cof‹n. (20) The presumably single lover of Hill’s imagination has here become several shady attendants, nurses, and dealers in secondhand clothing and infant corpses, but in fact no such persons, venal as they are represented, were ever found or brought to testify against Canning’s own account of what had happened to her. To the contrary, two physicians who examined her, James Solas Dodd and Daniel Cox, testi‹ed both to the consistency of her physical condition with the assault and incarceration that she reported and to a lack of any evidence that she had either given birth or undergone a salivation for venereal disease, but their arguments had the effect, for Canning’s foes, of bringing their own quali‹cations and characters into doubt. The anonymous Genuine and Impartial Memoirs of Elizabeth Canning observed of the professional midwife Cox had employed to examine Canning, “there may be many, who will not think themselves suf‹ciently authorised to pin their Faith upon the positive Opinion of an old Woman, however experienced, nor much more upon the uncertain Belief of a Gentleman whose Course of Practice does not often lead him into Enquiries of this Nature” (119). The Controverted Hard Case; or, Mary Squires’s Magazine of Facts Re-examin’d carried the innuendo against Cox still further: I shall not meddle with the Girl’s foul Shift, which the Doctor handles with so much Judgment, and by the Rules of his Art, proves from the View of it, that it was impossible for the Owner of it to have any Commerce with Man while she had it on; neither shall I at all dispute the Exactness of his Skill in ascertaining her Innocence by feeling her Belly and Breasts. These are so peculiarly the Prerogatives of a Physician that it would be an unpardonable Presumption in one, who is not of the Faculty, to offer his Opinion in so nice and delicate a Point. Leaving him therefore in full Possession of the dirty Smock, and every use he can make of it, I shall proceed to other Matters. (23)

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The continuing absence of any direct evidence against Canning only worked to con‹rm her prosecutors in the argumentative strategy that probability rather than physical evidence or material witnesses ought to be decisive in judging her guilt or innocence. As Davy stated in his ‹nal address to the jury at the perjury trial, “We do not mean to cavil, and catch at little circumstances; for the [other] proofs we have offered [presumably Mary Squires’s alibi witnesses] are suf‹cient to satisfy all mankind, that the whole of this story is a ‹ction from the beginning to the end” (Complete Collection 19:598–99). The “little circumstances” that might have proved Canning’s positive guilt had in fact proved elusive, and Davy indeed admitted as much; he asserted, however, that “if she was not [at Wells’s house] it is of no consequence where she was” (Complete Collection 19:607), no matter how much the public might wish to know. Davy indeed included in his remarks the tantalizing possibility that “in all likelihood, the time is not far off for an ample discovery” (Complete Collection 19:608), but none ever transpired. ii If Canning’s conviction, in the absence of direct evidence, had to rest upon a construction not merely of her personal character but of an inherent sexual disposition she had no choice but to possess, the public perception of Mary Squires needed to alter accordingly. Unlike Canning, her itinerant life had not provided her with a supportive chorus of neighbors and friends, and this at ‹rst made her seem a likely perpetrator of an otherwise at best vaguely motivated crime. Her appearance was against her, too: she was a gypsy of uncertain age (estimates ranged from sixty to eighty), tall but markedly stooped, and strikingly ugly, with a large nose and a lower lip scarred and swollen by scrofula. At her brief trial, she made a concluding statement in con›ict with her own alibi witnesses at that trial and not in itself a testimonial either to her intelligence or to her character, though it does seem to be characterized by a certain rough independence: That on New-year’s day, I lay at Coombe at the widow Greville’s house; and the next day I was at Stoptage; there were some people who were cast away [drunk], and they came along with me to a little house on the top of the moor, and drank there; there were my son and daughter with me. Coming along Popham-lane, there were some people raking up dung. I drank at the second ale-house in Basingstoke on the Thursday in the New-year week. On the Friday I lay at Bagshot-heath, at a little tiney house on the heath. On the Saturday I lay at Old Brentford at Mrs. Edward’s, who sells greens and small beer. I could have told this before, but one pulled me, and

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another pulled me, and would not let me speak. I lay at Mrs. Edwards’s on the Sunday and Monday; and on the Tuesday or Wednesday after, I came from thence to Mrs. Well’s house at En‹eld. (Complete Collection 19:274) Even if Squires’s account is revised with reference to the calendar reform of 1752 and its confusing removal of New Year’s Day from 25 March to 1 January, and allowance is made for her unlettered condition and a presumed gypsy preference for the old calendar, the statement is vague and apparently had no in›uence on the jury, which proceeded to sentence her to death. At this point, however, the Lord Mayor of London, Sir Crisp Gascoyne, intervened, and Mary Squires’s rehabilitation began, its movement paralleling the growing effort to impeach Canning’s hitherto acknowledged good character. Gascoyne’s stated motive, much publicized by himself and his supporters and generally accepted by later commentators, was a simple but passionate devotion to justice: even before the verdict in the trial of Squires and Wells, he not only grew uneasy but instructed a solicitor to seek evidence supportive of Squires’s alibi witnesses. Canning’s friends later reported a rumor that Gascoyne had promised “one Squires, a horse-dealer in the borough, [that he] was determined to save the gipsey” (A Refutation 41, app. 50), but the basis for this determination, if it existed, remains obscure. What is certain is that Gascoyne’s actions were to prove not only expensive and persevering but ultimately successful. It was now questioned whether Squires was a gypsy at all. The Controverted Hard Case; or, Mary Squires’s Magazine of Facts Re-Examin’d alleged that she was “really a Pedlar, and has a License from the proper Of‹ce to travel the Country and sell Goods in the Pedlary Way” (13). No evidence concerning such a license ever appeared, and in any case having a license and being a gypsy were not contradictory conditions, but the point made for respectability. Squires could scarcely be represented as an attractive ‹gure, but much now began to be made as well of her age and frailty, even though her newly dated and now well-witnessed alibi consisted of a journey from Dorset to London on foot in an icy January and her own account, muddled as it is, shows no physical in‹rmity. It is thus probably not accidental that Mary Squires, having spoken so hardily though not effectually at the close of her own trial, was not called upon to testify at Canning’s. The presentation of the newly elaborated alibi was instead left to her son, George, who in the period between the two trials had retraced his mother’s alibi route ‹ve times in the company of the undersheriff of Dorset, Robert Willis, and to the multitude of witnesses now present to support it in London at Gascoyne’s expense. Her

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appearance, however, was noted: William Davy, prosecuting, asked an alibi witness, Alice Farnham, “Did the old woman appear to be as weak as she is now?” and Farnham replied, “She was very unhealthy, seemingly, coming up against the hill. . . . She did not hold by them, they walked before her” (Complete Collection 19:330). The apparently sturdy Squires, who had stood her trial in February 1753, was now, in April 1754, represented as scarcely able to walk. Even her attendance at Canning’s trial was presented as telling on a ‹gure of enfeebled old age—she was reported to have suffered from “faintness” due to “the great concourse of people in the court,” so that “she was carried several times into an adjoining room, to receive the bene‹t of fresh Air, and was brought into court occasionally as her presence was necessary” (Canning’s Farthing Post 165), a repeated movement unlikely to have been lost on the jury. Even before Canning’s trial, however, Gascoyne had already achieved his most important victory on Squires’s behalf, one only to be completed by Canning’s subsequent conviction for perjury. By raising doubts about Squires’s guilt through his production of new alibi witnesses, he had procured her a royal pardon, a scene later reported with much sympathetic detail by the anonymous author of Genuine and Impartial Memoirs of Elizabeth Canning: The old Woman, well worn with Years, and more so by her late Hardships, her Son and two Daughters, the Moment they entered the Room, fell on their Knees, and, with all the Warmth of real Gratitude, expressed their Sense of their Obligations to his Lordship in the most humble and affecting Manner. Tears were almost their only Language for some Time. . . . At the Request of some of the Spectators Virtue Hall [a servant in Wells’s house who had initially testi‹ed against Squires but had later been brought to recant] was sent for; whose visible Confusion at so unexpected an Interview, was of itself suf‹cient Evidence of her former Falsehood.— The old Woman, far from reproaching her, endeavoured to comfort her, in Terms superior to what might have been expected from one in her low Station of Life; she told her, that she heartily forgave her; and hoped God would also forgive her. (105–6) Squires’s age was never established, but her death and burial—“with gipsy pomp”—were reported in 1762 (“I. P.”), suggesting that she had at least survived any in‹rmity af›icting her in 1754. Canning too was permitted to make a speech at her trial between the verdict and the sentence, but unlike Squires’s speech it is reported in the third person, as follows: “with a low voice.—‘That she hoped they would be favourable to her; that she had no intent of swearing the gypsey’s life away; and that what had been done, was only defending herself; and

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desired to be considered as unfortunate’” (Complete Collection 19:673). This meekness, however, served the young woman no better than truculence had the older one. William Moreton, the recorder of London, summing up his view of the case prior to giving sentence, emphasized what he saw as Canning’s gratuitous wickedness toward Mary Squires: This audacious attempt, and that calm and deliberate assurance with which you formed a scheme to take away the life of one (though the most abject) of the human species . . . gained you a credit which must have exceeded your highest expectations; and being thus abandoned, . . . you not only wickedly persevered, but even triumphed over those who would not suffer their judgments to be misled by so gross an imposition. (Complete Collection 19:674) Moreton regretted his inability to pass a death sentence on Canning. Obliged to settle for transportation by the regrettable mildness of English law, he took some consolation in the fact that if she were to return to England before the standard seven-year sentence had elapsed she could then be hanged. iii Courtney Kenny, expatiating on the case late in the nineteenth century— distant from its passions but not from its assumptions—wrote in summary that “perhaps the most generally useful lesson to be drawn from the Canning mystery, useful enough in forensic dif‹culties but far indeed from being limited to them, is the wisdom of a modest agnosticism in all questions that hinge upon the incalculable and insoluble mysteries of the feminine mind” (130). Canning’s prosecutors would certainly have agreed, only adding, perhaps, since Mary Squires was also female, that the feminine mind was at its most opaque and dangerous in youth and at the undeniable lower end of the social pyramid. The author of the 1754 Genuine and Impartial Memoirs of Elizabeth Canning, undertaking in the aftermath of the trial to “take a Review of the Arguments offered in Favour of the Girl’s Innocence,” cited the alleged “Difference in the moral Characters of Canning, and the Persons she accused” and responded as follows: I shall only observe, that as Canning’s Reputation was not call’d in Question in Court, it would ill become me to say any Thing to it: But only believe what is said of her, no Pagan Heroine, or Papal Saint, was ever more illustriously characterized.—Should you but give yourself the Trouble of running through the Heap of Papers you receive with this, you will ‹nd continued Sprinklings of the Lustre of her moral Character, blameless, amiable, exemplary, and

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the like: Who can help smiling to see such pretty Expressions, and so many persuasive Epithets, employed on a Wench, who, to say the best of her, was never in the whole Course of her Life till now, distinguished for any Thing remarkable good or ill[?] (284–85) Canning’s friends did indeed think highly of her character, which they consistently portrayed as modest, dutiful, and devout, but these claims on behalf of a semiliterate maidservant—“an obscure damsel, of low degree,” as Tobias Smollett later put it (154)—seem only to have in›amed the attacks made on her. Squires’s class position was certainly no better than Canning’s, but her apparently advanced age, questionable health, and even her indubitable ugliness (which allowed her alibi witnesses to identify her with complete con‹dence) were all used to her advantage. Her greatest advantage, however, by whatever means she came by it, was the favor of Sir Crisp Gascoyne. Rumors seem to have circulated on the subject, as they did concerning Canning’s alleged sexual adventures, but given Gascoyne’s position it is probably not surprising that during his lifetime few of them were raised in print. James Caul‹eld did indeed claim, but not until 1820, that the hostility of the mob outside Canning’s trial had been excited by its having “learn[ed] that one of the gipsy’s sons had been many years in his service; and, it was reported, was privy to some secret offence his master had been guilty of, the fear of divulging which compelled him to the endeavour of preserving the life of the mother” (3:148), but this tale is, as well as late in appearing, both vague and uncorroborated. The response to Canning in her own time may seem to a reader today to have been blatantly expressive of gender, age, and class bias. Such a reader, however, may ‹nd herself humbled when she turns to her own presumably more enlightened century. Arthur Machen in 1925 and Edmund Pearson in 1936 both discussed the case on the premise that Canning was, as Machen phrased it, “an infernal liar” (v). He hypothesized that instead of being abducted Canning was picked up in a coach by “someone, perhaps known to her, perhaps a stranger, . . . whereupon Elizabeth squealed, but was not seriously annoyed. . . . And then . . . the unknown took Elizabeth to a brothel and left her there the next morning, and . . . Elizabeth fell into the ways of the house” (ix–x). He accounts for Canning’s physical condition on her return home by a falling-out with “the Mrs. Harridan who kept the establishment,” who “had endeavoured to starve her into submission, perhaps for four or ‹ve days or a week,” taken away her clothes, and scratched her in a ‹nal vulgar scene before Canning’s escape (ix–x). Pearson, adopting Machen’s story, calls Canning a “minx” and comments world-wearily, “All of us have heard, and we still hear, of girls who unexpectedly vanish from home for a few

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days or a few weeks. . . . The truth of these tales . . . is that the girl has been on a wild party, and that she did not have to be dragged into the car. Or, perhaps, there has been a wild party, some time before, and she has been absent to hide the embarrassing result” (188). This is misogyny, of course, but not merely misogyny. The twentieth century’s peculiar contribution to analysis of the Canning case is a certain psychological knowingness that goes beyond the mere assertion of Canning’s duplicity to brand her diseased as well. As one of Machen’s enthusiastic reviewers put it, Canning was “a hysterical liar, a neurasthenic, blood-poisoned girl . . . one of those strange persons who lie from what we now call an inferiority complex” (Roberts 219). Lillian de la Torre, whose 1947 account of the case is probably still the best known, develops a theory of hysterical amnesia based on “sexual frigidity and anxiety.” Canning’s acknowledged reputation for “good character” and “modesty” becomes in this view evidence of a deep-seated pathology, one so great that when she received a sexual offer from, as de la Torre seems to assume, an attractive man, she at ‹rst fainted, then misapprehended every subsequent event in the next month of her life (249–50). De la Torre cites ten texts on psychoanalytic theory, including Freud’s Interpretation of Dreams, and further personal consultation with four analysts in support of her argument. The most recent account of the Canning case, John Treherne’s, appeared in 1989, close enough to us that it is impossible to dismiss its assumptions as quaint or dated. Treherne tends to share de la Torre’s diagnosis of hysteria, although he is unhappy with her hypothesis about the unknown seducer, preferring another, equally arbitrary, candidate. Although he adopts much of de la Torre’s language—“the hysterical personality tends to be adolescent and female; shy, emotional, and incapable of pity” (139)—he makes more of Canning’s role as a status offender, repeatedly labeling her “the scullery maid” and calling her “a nonentity—without rank or status and devoid of talent—in›ated by chance circumstances, the power of the printed word and the violence of the mob” (159). The effect of these assumptions is as powerful as those of Hill or Ramsay: Canning is guilty because her feminine nature and insigni‹cant social position preclude her being anything else. Canning’s guilt, for such contemporaries as Hill, Gascoyne, and the writer of the Genuine and Impartial Memoirs of Elizabeth Canning, obviously implied Squires’s innocence, but this has ‹gured less prominently for later commentators on the case. Evident as Machen’s contempt for Canning is, he refers facetiously to Squires and Wells as “the bad old widows” and, far from indignant at the aspersion on Squires’s character, merely comments urbanely on the allegation that she had slapped Canning and called her a bitch: “The vocabulary of villainy seems to have

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been strictly limited, then as now” (3). Lillian de la Torre, despite her belief in Canning’s guilt, presents Squires as simply too exalted a criminal to have sunk to such an act as stealing the younger woman’s stays: the Squires family, in her reading, “were only ostensibly dealers in smuggled goods. . . . [T]hey were in reality government spies, under-cover agents on no payroll but under backstairs protection. . . . The master mind was the old woman” (237). Even Gascoyne, in this scenario, was operating under the orders of an unnamed higher-up. The extreme discrepancy between the Mary Squires of Canning’s story and the one presented by the alibi witnesses at Canning’s trial for perjury was addressed by Barrett Wellington in 1940 in an analysis of the case sympathetic to Canning in the simplest possible way—Squires was actually two people, the one presented by the alibi witnesses, “an elderly woman who was quiet, clean, orderly, unobtrusive, inoffensive, good-hearted, non-china-mending, disinclined to tell fortunes, giving trouble to none” (180); and the one presented by Canning’s defense witnesses, for the most part neighbors of Susanna Wells, “a dirty, slovenly, crouching, cringing, china-mending, fortune-telling, beggarly, importunate, spiteful, malicious and potentially stays-ripping old gipsy hag” (181). Few later commentators have been impressed either by de la Torre’s tale of intrigue or by Wellington’s of mistaken identity, but the efforts of both to provide a solution to the incoherence of Squires’s role in the case at least acknowledge its existence in a way that Machen’s jocularity or, say, Treherne’s indifference does not. It is still apparently a matter of some urgency to assign guilt or innocence to the potentially sexual Elizabeth Canning, whether despite or because of her low-class status, but the postmenopausal Mary Squires, an otherwise even lowlier ‹gure, presents evidently either a much less signi‹cant problem or no problem at all. In Crime and Punishment in Eighteenth-Century England, published in the same year as Treherne’s The Canning Enigma, Frank McLynn discusses the “impact of modernization on sexual crime.” The hypothesis McLynn favors is that sexuality played less of a role in pre-industrial societies, since it is in part a cultural construct. Sex has become an obsession only in the modern world. Freud can be shown to link with Marx precisely because rei‹ed sexuality . . . depends on the generation of surplus value. This would explain, among other things, why the records do not show the eighteenth century as being particularly rapeobsessed, and why women do not seem to have gone in constant fear of rape. (317) Even leaving aside for the moment the problematic measurement of how much concern about or fear of rape constitutes obsession, I have come

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through my study of the Canning case to formulate several other questions—fewer answers—about the meanings given to sexuality in eighteenth-century British society and in ours. The largest question, and the one I am furthest from answering, concerns simply the scope of our differences and the adequacy of the vantage point from which we examine them. The position taken by both Canning’s enemies and her defenders certainly places a high value on her sexual character, but for her enemies a part of its sinister signi‹cance lies in the claim of purity made on the young woman’s behalf by her defenders. In this reading, a claim of chastity on the part of an obscure maidservant is both excessive and irrelevant—in a word, surplus. On the other hand, their own insistence on Canning’s sexual transgression is essential to their case that she was guilty of “wilful and corrupt perjury.” Does this constant appeal on both sides to Canning’s sexuality make the eighteenth century more modern or “obsessed” than McLynn believes, or does it perhaps suggest that we, if we assess her innocence or guilt on the same basis, share more of their assumptions than we usually acknowledge and are thus less able than we would like to be to evaluate them from a comfortably external vantage point? Certainly Squires’s belated claim of humility has found fewer later critics, nor has Gascoyne’s implicit demand for the respect due to his position. Hugh Childers, writing in 1913, called him “a remarkable man” (10), a judgment he supports by citing Gascoyne’s wealth and family position, and while more recent writers on the case are less inclined to stress these points, they are equally inclined to accept Gascoyne’s character and motives at his own valuation. Many, like Lillian de la Torre and John Treherne, quote speeches from the trial and from other documents exactly and then add such interpretive novelistic framing devices as, for example, Treherne’s “‘Child, you must not take it away with you,’ Sir Crisp warned her in a kindly way” (44, emphasis mine); or “Elizabeth Canning stood, demure and passive, in the centre of the packed courtroom” (86, emphasis mine). Before Canning’s sentence of transportation could be carried out, a ‹nal turn in the case was precipitated by, yet again, her sexuality. The boatswain of the ship Tryal, Robert Pladger, who was also a friend of a footman of Canning’s parish priest, deposed that “one of the crew . . . swore, that if the said Elizabeth Canning was put on board the said ship he would lye with her; and some others of them also swore they would lye with her.” Pladger attempted to assert some authority over his fellow seamen, but the ship’s master intervened, telling Pladger that his authority would cease once Canning had been locked down every night. When Pladger refused to give up his point Captain Isaac Johns dismissed him from the ship, twitting him as “Mr. Canning” as he did so (A Refutation

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49–50, app. 61). In spite of Captain Johns’s contempt for the apparent squeamishness of his boatswain, someone evidently took Pladger’s account seriously, for Canning was taken off the roster of the Tryal and “indulged with the liberty of being transported in a private ship.” The writer of the Genuine and Impartial Memoirs makes this allusion to the episode with evident reluctance, commenting, “How this Indulgence was obtained I choose to forget; may there never be Occasion to remember it” (289). The surface implication seems to be that some legal impropriety had been arranged for Canning’s bene‹t, but it seems to me at least equally likely that a well-publicized threat of rape under circumstances in which neither protection nor punishment functioned even as a legal ‹ction was at least an embarrassment, if something less than an obsession, to the authorities in charge of Canning’s fate. Although a tone of historical superiority is a consistent feature of all postcontemporary accounts of the Canning case, from Victorians like Kenny up to and including contemporaries of our own like Treherne, this implicit assumption of a privileged position from which to conduct inquiry and analysis seems to rest on no more substantial a basis than the brief advantage of the living over the dead. Given the skepticism instilled in me by reading these accounts, it will hardly be surprising if I refrain from attempting to settle the question of what “really” happened to Elizabeth Canning but retain among the possible answers that what she said on her return to her mother’s home in January 1754 was at least as likely to be true as any rival explanation of her whereabouts that month that has been propounded since. note 1. My book The Appearance of Truth: The Story of Elizabeth Canning and Eighteenth-Century Narrative (University of Delaware Press, 1994) deals at length both with the details of the case and with the texts that have transmitted them. works cited Canning’s Farthing Post. Containing the Whole Proceedings Relating to her Sufferings, From the Time of her being Try’d at the Old-Bailey, for Perjury, the Pleadings of the Council at large. London: T. Jones, 1754. Caul‹eld, James. Portraits, Memoirs, and Characters, of Remarkable Persons, from the Revolution in 1688 to the End of the Reign of George II. Collected from the most authentic accounts extant. 4 vols. London: T. H. Whiteley, 1820. Childers, Hugh. Remarkable Trials of Three Centuries. London: John Lane, 1913. A Complete Collection of State Trials. . . . Comp. T. B. Howell. 21 vols. London: Hansard, 1816. The Controverted Hard Case; or, Mary Squires’s Magazine of Facts Re-Examin’d. . . . London: W. Reeve, 1753.

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Cox, Daniel. An Appeal to the Public, in Behalf of Elizabeth Canning. London, W. Meadows, 1753. de la Torre, Lillian. ‘Elizabeth is Missing’; or, Truth Triumphant, an Eighteenth Century Mystery. London: Michael Joseph, 1947. Dodd, James Solas. The Case of Elizabeth Canning, With an Enquiry into the Probability of her subsisting in the Manner therein asserted, and her Ability to Escape after her suppos’d ill Usage. London: J. Bouquet, 1753. Fielding, Henry. A Clear State of the Case of Elizabeth Canning. . . . London: A. Millar, 1753. Genuine and Impartial Memoirs of Elizabeth Canning. . . . London: G. Westfall, 1754. Hill, John. The Story of Elizabeth Canning Considered. . . . London: M. Cooper, 1753. Kenny, Courtney. “The Mystery of Elizabeth Canning.” Law Quarterly Review 13 (1897): 368–82. Machen, Arthur. The Canning Wonder. London: Chatto and Windus, 1925. McLynn, Frank. Crime and Punishment in Eighteenth-Century England. London: Routledge, 1989. “P., I.” “Fielding the Novelist.” Notes and Queries 12 (1879): 30. Pearson, Edmund. “The First Great Disappearer.” In More Studies in Murder, 186–207. London: Aco, 1953. [Ramsay, Allan]. A Letter to the Right Honorable the Earl of __ Concerning the Affair of Elizabeth Canning. London: T. Seddon, 1753. A Refutation of Sir Crisp Gascoyne’s Address to the Liverymen of London. . . . London: J. Payne, 1754. Roberts, R. Ellis. Review of The Canning Wonder, by Arthur Machen. Bookman 69 (1925): 218–19. Smollett, Tobias. Continuation of the Complete History of England. London: Richard Baldwin, 1760. Treherne, John. The Canning Enigma. London: Jonathan Cape, 1989. Wellington, Barrett R. The Mystery of Elizabeth Canning as Found in the Testimony of the Old Bailey Trial and Other Records. New York: J. Ray Peck, 1940.

A Mistress, a Mother, and a Murderess Too elizabeth brownrigg and the social construction of an eighteenth-century mistress

Patty Seleski

W hat the apprentice baker saw when he looked from the window of his master’s house into James Brownrigg’s home in Flower-de-Luce Court on 3 August 1767 hardly resembled a human form at all. Later, others would describe what young William Clipson saw as “one continued sore,” for the ‹gure was covered with gashes from head to foot, her ›esh seemed putre‹ed, and appeared rather as if cut with knives than whips. Her head was swelled to an enormous size, her eyes imperceptible, and her speech gone. An iron collar that was put about her neck, had tore that, and her shoulder in a terrible manner. (OBSP 271; UM 106) This “walking wound” that so horri‹ed young Clipson was, in fact, Mary Clifford, a poor young woman apprenticed by the overseers of the precinct of White Friars to James Brownrigg, a painter and plasterer in the parish of St. Dunstan in the west. Though St. Dunstan’s parish of‹cers removed the girl from the Brownrigg home the very next morning, they were too late. Despite their best efforts, Mary Clifford died less than a week later on 9 August without ever regaining her ability to speak. Following her death, James Brownrigg, his wife, Elizabeth, and their son John were all indicted for the murder of the family servant, then tried together at the Old Bailey on 12 September 1767. Two days later, Elizabeth Brownrigg, the only one of the three to be convicted of Mary Clifford’s murder, was executed at Tyburn (OBSP 271–74). Her contemporaries, as well as every subsequent generation of commentators and historians, have labeled Elizabeth Brownrigg a monster. Modern historians have most frequently cited the prosecution of Elizabeth Brownrigg and the attendant public outrage surrounding her trial both as evidence of a growing sympathy toward children and as a sign of 210

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how widely accepted the notion of sensibility had become. Occurring in the midst of a public campaign spearheaded by the philanthropist Jonas Hanway to improve the lot of poor parish children, Mrs. Brownrigg’s actions, despicable though they were, were a godsend, for they highlighted issues concerning child labor, especially the exploitation of poor children apprenticed out by parish of‹cers.1 Despite the fact that Mary Clifford and the Brownriggs’ other servant, Mary Mitchell, were in their teens (Clifford was seventeen) and were not all that young as domestic servants went in the eighteenth century, the contemporary press also reported the Brownrigg trial within such a framework—albeit with a twist. The press was less overtly concerned with Hanway’s Act, but it nevertheless encouraged its audiences to see Elizabeth Brownrigg as a “merciless tyrant” and to see her servants as “helpless innocents” and “tender lambs” (LC 22:141; GM 419; UM 106). In fact, the press used Mrs. Brownrigg’s outrages against her servants to rework (and to weave together) ideals of woman’s nature, motherhood, and subordination. In this framework, Mrs. Brownrigg—the mother of at least sixteen children, the successful midwife, and the employer of young women servants— became the ultimate “bad mother.” Elizabeth Brownrigg emerged from the trial as perhaps the most notorious villainess of eighteenth-century England. On the day of her execution, huge crowds gathered and escorted her to Tyburn to watch her die. One paper declared that “the crowd assembled to see her go, and at Tyburn, was perhaps never exceeded at any execution” (LNDA, 15 September 1767, 2). The details of Mary Clifford’s suffering had stirred the populace’s emotions to an extravagant hatred of a woman whom they denounced as an “inhuman tygress” (UM 106). How else could they regard someone who had strung up her servants from a hook in the ceiling and beaten them raw, cut their tongues with scissors, or torn at their faces so ‹ercely that it caused them to bleed from the eyes? John Moore, the ordinary of Newgate, reported that the crowds along the route to Tyburn cried out that “they hoped he [Moore] would pray for her damnation, for such a ‹end ought not to be saved” (GM 437). Others reportedly shouted out their hope that “the Devil would fetch her soul” (UM 155). Crowds thronged to Surgeons Hall after her death to view her dissected corpse: a young physician, Sylas Neville, reported standing in line for over an hour to see her body. Although he himself waited eagerly to see Brownrigg’s remains, he was puzzled by the special, and to his mind unusual (even vulgar), fascination her body held for women and girls: After waiting an hour in the lobby of Surgeon’s [sic] Hall, got on with great dif‹culty (the crowd being great and the screw stairs very

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narrow) to see the body of Mrs. Brownrigg which, cut as it is, is a most shocking sight. I wish I had not seen it. . . . It is surprising what crowds of women and girls run to see what usually frightens them so much. (25) It did not seem to occur to Neville that these women and girls, many of whom were likely currently in service, had once been in service, or would someday enter service, had perhaps come to reassure themselves that this most barbaric of mistresses was indeed dead. For decades after her execution, Mrs. Brownrigg remained a ‹xture of working-class imaginations, and her crimes were invoked to strike fear in the hearts of the young.2 To the laboring public, Mrs. Brownrigg was less the bad mother of elite formulation than the mistress from hell. How should we remember Mrs. Brownrigg? As a “bad mother” who abused those children entrusted to her care? Or as the cruelest of employers whose management of the house ended in murder? Is Mrs. Brownrigg’s story a story about gender? Or is it a story about class and labor relations? This chapter explores the construction of these two Mrs. Brownriggs and their relation to each other. My purpose, however, is not to rehabilitate Mrs. Brownrigg. Rather, I wish to suggest the way in which the middle classes depended on both Mrs. Brownriggs to manage domestic labor and to advance middle-class claims to social and political power. Mistresses’ roles in household management (especially labor management) had a critical function in establishing a family as respectable and as participants in the culture of achievement and accumulation so central to middle-class life. But although employing servants helped de‹ne participation in an evolving middle-class culture, employing and managing servants also threatened to undermine the very social position families sought, not the least because servants resisted the maternal claims of their mistresses. Thus the two Mrs. Brownriggs existed less along a continuum of labor relations, which as Davidoff and Hall have suggested ranged between the poles of Christian charity and draconian justice (391), than they coexisted in order to ‹x a set of gender, class, and social relationships central to the creation of the English middle classes. This last point is an important one, for it reminds us of the most curious aspect of the Brownriggs’ tale: the fact that, although three Brownriggs were charged with murdering Mary Clifford, only one, Elizabeth Brownrigg, was actually convicted and executed for the deed. Since executions in the eighteenth century served public purposes well beyond the mere punishment of crime, this is a point on which it is well worth re›ecting: state executions were carefully managed affairs, carried out not only to legitimize power relationships within the society but also to de‹ne nor-

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mative boundaries by making examples of transgressors (Hay 17–64). Both the jury’s verdict in the Brownrigg case and the way in which contemporaries framed her death singled out Elizabeth Brownrigg as responsible for this murder. Yet their judgments did not go unremarked upon nor uncontested. This chapter considers the contemporary discussions of Mrs. Brownrigg’s sole responsibility for Mary Clifford’s death as part of the story of the entire Brownrigg family, and it suggests that the transformation of an entire family’s story into a homiletic and didactic narrative that re-created Elizabeth Brownrigg as its main character provides an instructive episode for those interested both in the public construction of middle-class women’s roles and in the articulation of eighteenth-century class relations. At the time of their arrests, James and Elizabeth Brownrigg had lived together as husband and wife for over twenty years. Theirs was a large family, with reports placing the number of their children at between sixteen and nineteen, though by 1767 only three children remained at home with their parents. Their story was not an uncommon one in the eighteenth century. James Brownrigg had married Elizabeth Brownrigg when she was twenty-nine; he had just ‹nished his apprenticeship to a painter and plasterer, and she was then a domestic servant who had savings put by to aid her new husband in establishing his business (GM 433; UM 144). House-painting and plastering was an insecure occupation at best. R. Campbell’s London Tradesman called it a “debased trade” because it was a relatively unskilled craft: indeed, as Campbell noted, almost anyone could pick up a brush and successfully paint a house in accordance with the relatively uncomplicated decorative style of the mid–eighteenth century (103). Yet despite the odds against success in the trade, James Brownrigg appears to have been one of very few who did succeed. By the 1760s (some twenty years after ‹nishing his indentures), Brownrigg was a master painter, who employed journeymen and who took apprentices of his own (LonM 36:358).3 His wife continued to contribute to the family’s ‹nancial well-being even after her marriage. Elizabeth Brownrigg, who was reputed to have studied with a prominent male midwife, had a midwifery practice that included both genteel private patients and an of‹cial parish appointment as midwife to the poor in St. Dunstan’s workhouse (GM 433; UM 144).4 The Brownriggs’ annual income is unknown. However, by the 1760s they had become householders and James Brownrigg had expanded his business activities to include both auctioneering and acting as a broker to settle the estates of deceased householders (UM 210; GM 435; OBSP 259; LonM 36:470). More importantly, the evidence suggests that from the 1760s onward the Brownriggs became avid participants in London’s con-

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sumer culture and that a large portion of their income was directed into consumer spending. The family acquired new and fashionable types of property, adding things such as gold watches, good furniture, and new kitchenware to their household. Mrs. Brownrigg wore expensive clothing and, at the time of her arrest, was described as wearing “a black silk gown, a black silk whalebone bonnet and a purple petticoat, ›ounced” (OBSP 259, 265; LC 22:143). Mr. Brownrigg appears to have had an attorney on retainer for his business, while Mrs. Brownrigg ran a separate house in Hampstead where she delivered her more af›uent clients of their babies. Some of the family’s income went to keep a horse, and still more of it went toward the rent of a country retreat in Islington where the family often spent weekends during the summer months (LNDA, 7 August 1767, 2). The Brownriggs’ increasing af›uence brought changes to their household. Along with adding growing numbers of material possessions to their home in Flower-de-Luce Court, they also added servants. They hired their ‹rst servant, Mary Mitchell, during the winter of 1765 and added another servant, Mary Jones, three months later. Mary Clifford joined the household in 1766. To all outward appearances, the Brownriggs were prosperous tradespeople, whom neighbors considered people of “credit and advantage” (UM 145). If they were not “middle-class” in any precise sociological sense, they nevertheless were involved as active participants in the process of accumulation and achievement that typi‹ed the cultural, social, and economic changes that, over the course of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, made the English middle class.5 So normal and so respectable were the Brownriggs that their arrests shocked both their neighborhood and the whole of London. The Universal Magazine no doubt spoke for many when its editors asked, “Is it not amazing, that such a horrid scene of inhumanity, could be so long and secretly perpetrated in the very heart of the city, and in a public and creditable neighborhood . . . ?” (106) Indeed the very normality of the Brownriggs made their crime all the more shocking in the eyes of Londoners. But it was the extremity of their violence, not violence itself, that separated the Brownriggs from their neighbors and put them beyond the pale of civilized society: masters and mistresses routinely used physical punishment to compel obedience from insubordinate and unsatisfactory apprentices and servants. The law countenanced such behavior, and so did custom (Laws Concerning 126). That the Brownriggs would discipline their servants was entirely appropriate; that they should do so in such a horri‹c manner was unthinkable. If, in fact, we think of the Brownriggs not as a family of monsters but as a more or less ordinary family of the middling sort, we can come closer to the heart of the con›icts that raged in the house on Flower-de-Luce

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Court. Like their neighbors, the Brownriggs shared an ethic of accumulation and achievement, and they appear to have embraced gentility as one goal of their consumption behavior. However, also like their neighbors and as James Brownrigg’s long rise to prosperity suggests, af›uence among the middling sort was neither assured nor secure. As Patrick Colquhuon remarked later in the century, “In a great Metropolis like London, it has clearly been established, that in spite of every regard to providence and economy, decent families will be suddenly broken down” (81). This was certainly true for the Brownriggs, whose assets dissipated with astonishing speed after their arrest (GM 437; LonM 36:588). But the Brownriggs were not alone in the instability of their ‹nances and the shakiness of their fortune: the vast majority of families of the middling sort were chronically vulnerable to economic ruin. Because tradesmen and their families depended largely on cash incomes from their trades and on their ability to collect that cash from those who owed them money, they were much more insecure in their fortunes than those who relied on incomes from rent or from land. Many a prosperous tradesman lived only an accident, illness, or misfortune away from ‹nancial disaster. In addition, a commercial career or a life in trade exposed families to national and sometimes global market forces outside their immediate control, leaving them largely unable to protect their investments. The lure of wealth as well as social ambition encouraged risk taking in an increasingly more complicated and less predictable business climate, but ‹nancial institutions and the legal system lagged behind in their ability to mitigate the risk involved. Credit was still largely a matter of organizing networks of family and local acquaintances; business liability was virtually unlimited and threatened domestic life; and the prospect of imprisonment for debt haunted men of business and their families. Margaret Hunt has argued that families attempted to mitigate the risks involved in trade by mastering skills that rationalized business: accounting, writing, and ef‹cient time management gave families ready access to information about their own ‹nances and allowed them to control their resources with greater effectiveness (150–59). Less frequently remarked upon is the degree to which the science of management became a prominent feature of domestic life as well. The successful housewife, according to a 1745 household manual, employed the principles of business to run her home. Thus, the advice given to tradesmen was extended to their wives: mistresses were to keep house accounts and to balance them regularly, to regulate expenses in proportion to income, and to set up regular work schedules for themselves and the household servants.6 Concepts of management, therefore, underlay more than the attempt to protect the enterprise: in fact, the sound management principles that

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were of such utility in the shop were also applicable to domestic life. In the household, domestic economy, “the science of the female sex,” brought commercial principles into the family in order to protect resources by organizing consumption in frugal and socially useful ways (Accomplish’d Housewife 10). Indeed, women’s abilities to manage household ‹nances were central to their families’ participation in middleclass culture, since it was women who, by and large, directed family consumption. Just as poor business decisions might put the entire family at risk of bankruptcy, so too did poor household management not only ›irt with ‹nancial ruin but also jeopardize the public success of the family. Bad wives might divert crucial resources from the enterprise if they were extravagant, or they might fail in their role as consumers by failing to create just the right display of the family’s respectability. It is not going too far to suggest that domestic economy was the foundation on which both the family’s well-being and its public reputation rested; indeed wives, through their expenditures and habits of thrift, transformed family income into a quality of life that conferred status on the entire family and publicly justi‹ed its character (Vickery 274; Armstrong 84; Smail 199–221). The struggles of many wives of the middle classes found representation in the “Journal of a Woman of No Taste,” which was published in a 1777 issue of the Lady’s Magazine. This short, ‹ctional diary of a woman trying to make ends meet for her family on her husband’s “scanty income” describes in detail the dif‹cult daily choices that women made to maintain their family’s position. There is not space here to describe the diary in detail, but the author’s description of the day when both the butcher’s and the tailor’s bills arrive, the servant requires her wages, the interest on a loan comes due, and the family (as a sign of its gentility) goes into mourning (which necessitates the purchase of new clothing) when a member of the royal family dies gives some idea of the pressures and anxieties that faced women in the middling classes (77). To live, as the Brownriggs did, on credit and advantage was, therefore, as much a result of private choices as of public ones. A family’s good character depended on a correspondence between public and private life and equally as much on the household’s mistress as on its master. Yet a tradesman’s economy in his shop and the domestic economy of his household were important for more than reputation. Though consumption decisions could create gentility, they also played a daily, practical role in maintaining the family’s actual well-being. Because the death of Mary Clifford involved questions about the way in which the Brownriggs managed their domestic life, the discovery of the family’s private disorder pointed directly to Elizabeth Brownrigg as the main character in the drama that unfolded before the court.

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Servants were the weakest links in mistresses’ efforts to manage household resources; at the same time, however, servants were an essential ingredient in middle-class life, for nothing furthered a family’s claim to status more than the employment of menial personal dependents. In 1762, the London Chronicle claimed that among the employers of London “people starve themselves” to keep servants (11:204). How true, or near true, this assertion might have been is unknowable; nevertheless servants did have a problematic place in any family’s budget. In the 1770s, John Trusler estimated that the cost of a single maidservant was twenty-four pounds a year, a ‹gure that included wages of six pounds and maintenance at triple that amount (2–5). If wages were a ‹xed cost in a family’s budget, maintenance was de‹nitely not, and mistresses in the middle classes were thus hard-pressed to make sure that the costs of keeping servants remained low. The incentive of middling families to modify their behavior to encourage thrift was strong, but servants, on whose subordination their employers’ status depended, did not necessarily have such strong incentive to change their behavior. Servants, by and large, did not share in the status achieved by the household: in fact, such status, as we will consider next in the case of the Brownriggs, might even have come in part as a result of mistreating servants. Scrimping on servants’ rations today in order to save money to secure a brighter future for the family tomorrow had little appeal as a family strategy for those whose rations were cut and who would never enjoy the fruits of the sacri‹ces imposed on them. It is not surprising then that the interests of servants and their employers did not walk in lockstep. It made much more sense for domestic servants to behave as mere employees whose identi‹cation with the welfare and advancement of their employers was limited solely to the duration of their employment contract and whose object in service was to maximize their own personal comfort or to pursue some uniquely individual life strategy. Maidservants’ immediate interest in denying themselves (or allowing their employers to deny them) for future advantage was unclear to them, and the resulting clash of interests is emphasized by employers’ continual complaints throughout the course of the century that servants did not behave as rational economic actors: instead, employers grumbled, servants squandered their savings on lavish dress and did not stay long enough in any one job to improve themselves. Servants can be said to have practiced a different behavioral calculus, one expressly suited to their particular life prospects as members of the laboring poor whose opportunities were bounded by their continued ability to earn wages. But the rationality of this behavior was lost on their mistresses. Mistresses prized thrift, regularity, and predictability in themselves and in their subordinates. It was not enough that mistresses had internalized a sense of

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discipline themselves or observed the principles of time management in their own households; mistresses felt compelled to instill these values in employees too. Although mistresses were as dependent on servants to maintain their home and their status as servants were dependent on mistresses for their employment and their wages, the lack of common interests between mistress and employee created enormous potential for daily con›ict in the household (Seleski 144–67). Many mistresses undoubtedly suspected that servants did not sympathize with the money problems of their employers. Ann Martin Taylor told servants that they might “serve families where (notwithstanding appearance) every shilling, almost every penny, is an object” (68). Yet another contemporary moralist reminded servants that their employers “have great rents to pay, and the money hardly got to pay them with” (A Present for Servants 60–61). Servants’ thoughtlessness or their lack of sympathy with employers could have serious consequences, for in almost every household servants met with numerous opportunities to “prey” on their employers’ property. After all, more than any other household member, they spent their time in the kitchen and pantry where food and drink were prepared and stored. Given servants’ proximity to temptation, no wonder employers shared a fear of being plundered. This fear of being robbed by servants manifested itself in an increasingly vehement insistence on the criminality of servants’ behavior. Household manuals, for example, declared that nibbling was not only reprehensible but, in fact, illegal: “to pick the fruit out of a tart, to break off the edge of pastry . . . is an act of positive dishonesty. . . . It is a crime, for the commission of which a mistress would be perfectly justi‹ed in instantly discharging her servant” (Household Work 4). What previously had been customary behaviors and perquisites of service were also attacked, so that servants’ rights to candle ends or leftover cooking grease were rede‹ned as criminal. Servants, Daniel Defoe complained early in the eighteenth century, had little respect for the costs of the resources they considered their due: “tea, sugar, wine, etc., or any such tri›ing commodity are considered no theft” (7). But pilfering added up. Without strict supervision, servants availing themselves of a family’s food could put quite a dent in a mistress’s budget, literally eating away at a family’s prosperity. Sarah Collier reckoned that her servant Mary Russell had cost her in excess of twenty pounds as a result of pocketing tri›es around the house (GLRO/A/FH, 5 November 1776). Unless a mistress took her home under control and remained attentive to the behavior of her servants, waste could be a major problem and one just as likely to bankrupt a family as extravagant spending. As the author of The Accomplish’d Housewife observed, “The art of governing servants is not so easy as it is necessary” (428).

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How could mistresses compel obedience from servants whose interests were so different from their own? Some, like Mrs. Oliphant, used a combination of bribery and friendship to cajole their servants into obedience (Oliphant 2–6). Others, like Mrs. Brown, were driven to despair. Of her servant Ann Rock she wrote: “she has not one good quality . . . she can do well if she will but what is worse that will is so seldom in her ungrateful breast. She is not to be trusted with money, victuals nor clothes being a sharper in all her actions. . . . God forgive her she has made me shed many Tears” (GLRO/A/FH, 5 July 1775). Still others, such as Elizabeth Shackleton, might denounce the petty theft of their servants, but they tolerated it nonetheless. But tolerance had its limits, and even the usually forbearing Mrs. Shackleton reached the end of her rope. Finding that the aptly named Betty Crook was taking the family’s coffee and white sugar for herself, she too joined the ranks of mistresses exasperated by their servants’ behavior: “Servants come to high hand. What will become of poor householders?” (quoted in Vickery 283) As we have seen, the stakes involved for families in compelling servants to submit to the mistress’s authority were high, but nowhere were they higher than in families like Elizabeth Brownrigg’s. Despite the appearance of af›uence, the Brownriggs walked a ‹ne line between prosperity and ruin. Unlike her wealthier and more ‹nancially secure sisters in the middle ranks, Elizabeth Brownrigg did not have the resources to bribe her servants into obedience, nor could she afford, like Elizabeth Shackleton, to view their behavior with weary resignation. Indeed, for Elizabeth Brownrigg, coercion seemed the only means of exercising her authority. Issues of authority, obedience, and gentility all converged in the house on Flower-de-Luce Court during the late summer of 1767. Food and clothing became weapons in Mrs. Brownrigg’s war against what she saw as her dif‹cult and uncooperative servants. In Mrs. Brownrigg’s estimation the girls were lazy and never worked hard enough. She charged them with hiding from her in the coal cellar, “lying there and neglecting your business” (UM 106–7). On one occasion she attacked Mary Clifford while “she was at her washing, and the butt-end of the whip over the head, as she was stooping at the tub, and complained that she did not work fast enough (OBSP 262–63, 266). The Brownriggs complained further that Mary Mitchell (the second of the two servants rescued from the Brownrigg home) was not just lazy but also a thief. They charged her with pilfering from the pantry—some butter here, some chestnuts there— and, more seriously, both with picking the locks on drawers in order to steal more valuable goods and with teaching Mary Clifford to do likewise. They claimed to stand by helplessly as both their servants helped themselves to “the best of the victuals in the house” (UM 210–11).

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Indeed, until her execution, Elizabeth Brownrigg claimed to be the victim of bad servants who resisted all authority, refused to do their work, and plundered her household. Mrs. Brownrigg’s response to bad servants was violence. In the confession that she gave following her conviction, she tried to explain her own actions, using language that suggests her increasing frustration with her servants: She for some time treated the girls with tenderness and humanity, but her heart became unaccountably hardened; she ‹rst abridged them of the necessary food, and at the same time obliged them to work beyond their natural strength, and like Pharaoh’s task-masters, required brick without straw; that on their declaring their inability to work, she told them they were idle, and beat them. (LC 22:283) Thus the Brownriggs starved their servants—frequently leaving them locked in the house on weekends without food or water—beat them, and denied them the necessities of life. They even denied their servants clothing, forcing them to work in seminakedness as a way of saving money on clothing them.7 As Mrs. Brownrigg’s confession suggests, she transformed the girls into her “slaves” in order to justify her own horri‹c brand of discipline. Given much of the testimony presented at the Brownriggs’ trial, its outcome seems surprising: of the three Brownriggs on trial for murder, only Elizabeth Brownrigg was convicted. Although James and John Brownrigg were later convicted of assaulting Mary Mitchell, the jury in the Clifford murder held them blameless for the death of Mary Clifford, despite what appears to have been a good deal of evidence that they too had participated in the barbarities that resulted in Mary Clifford’s death.8 Knapp and Baldwin found it “strange” that the Brownrigg men were acquitted, since both admitted not only their knowledge of Mrs. Brownrigg’s abuse but also their own participation in the cruelties perpetrated in the Brownrigg home. Mrs. Brownrigg may have committed most of the abuse—certainly her punishments were the most barbaric— but in eighteenth-century law “accessories in murder [were] equally guilty.” Therefore, according to Knapp and Baldwin, the Brownrigg men ought to have faced a similar criminal penalty for what happened in Flower-de-Luce Court (757–58). But this did not happen; rather, as a result of the jury’s verdict, the Brownriggs’ story of‹cially became the exclusive story of Elizabeth Brownrigg. The problem, of course, is not that Mrs. Brownrigg was found guilty—for she certainly appears to have been so—but that her husband and son were acquitted. In explaining their verdict, the jurymen insisted

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that neither male Brownrigg had been present at all of the beatings in›icted on the girls, nor had either of them been there at “the last whipping, which was thought to be the occasion of her death” (LNDA, 14 September 1767, 2). This explanation, however, was not entirely convincing to some. There were whispers that, as early as the coroner’s inquest, evidence linking the Brownrigg men to the murder had been suppressed. And although the jury may have decided to lay blame in the case solely on Mrs. Brownrigg, that conclusion was not so obvious to all contemporaries. Letters written to the London Evening Post on the eve of the trial insisted that all the Brownriggs had some culpability in Mary Clifford’s death: “it appears very plain, that the girl was not killed by any one whipping, but by a long continuance of such treatment; and therefore every one who had a hand in such inhuman whipping, contributed to her death, and was concerned in the murder” (LEP 6214:3).9 The same correspondent wrote the paper again after the Brownriggs’ acquittal and remarked that “these barbarous men have met with more mercy than they shewed to the tortured unhappy apprentices” (LEP 6226:3).10 Despite some grumbling about the verdicts in the popular press and by the London crowd, Elizabeth Brownrigg, not her husband and not her son, went down in history as a murderess and as a torturer of servants. Whatever doubts some had about her exclusive guilt, they were soon drowned out by events and by other voices who used the “fact” of Mrs. Brownrigg’s guilt to further articulate middle-class ideologies of gender, home, and class relationships. Thus, Mrs. Brownrigg became an example of how dangerous transgressing these roles could be. The social interpretation of Mrs. Brownrigg’s crime was a story with two important (and interwoven) strands. By their actions, the men of the jury endorsed the assumption grounded in the experiences of the middling sort that women had, and ought to have, authority over the “interior government of the home” (Accomplish’d Housewife 10). They appear to have accepted James Brownrigg’s claim of innocence, which he based entirely on his wife having sole responsibility for the crime because she “had the principle management at home.” In fact, James Brownrigg laid out this line of defense as soon as Mary Clifford died in hospital; then he confessed “that he knew his wife maltreated” the servants but that at home “he never contradicted her in anything she did” ( LNDA, 11 August 1767, 1 ). The timing of James Brownrigg’s exculpatory statement is interesting since with Mary Clifford’s death the original assault charge against the family had become one of murder. Mr. Brownrigg’s assertion that Elizabeth Brownrigg “had most bitterly deceived” him was certainly self-serving, but its acceptance depended on the jury both believing in his lack of involvement in the household (despite evidence to the contrary) and endorsing that gendered division of labor (OBSP 274–75). By holding

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Mrs. Brownrigg exclusively responsible for the crime, the jury endorsed separate male and female spheres. At the same time that the jury validated women’s authority in the home, it also acknowledged how crucial women’s exercise of authority was to middling families and the immense problems mistresses faced in exercising that authority. After all, Elizabeth Brownrigg’s defense rested on her claim that her actions were a reasonable response to the “criminal” behavior of her idle and ungovernable servants. It was a defense designed to appeal to a jury made up of men much like Mr. Brownrigg, a jury of tradesmen and householders who might understand her situation and sympathize with it (Linebaugh, London Hanged 84–86). A jury of women might have seen things somewhat differently: indeed one supposedly female correspondent to the London Evening Post declared that in light of mistresses’ weighty responsibilities Mrs. Brownrigg’s actions might have been justi‹able—or at least more justi‹able than the alleged cruelties committed by her husband and son: “It seems more inhuman and unnatural for a man to treat a girl so cruelly, than for a woman” (6215:4). But even though the jury rejected this idea that Mrs. Brownrigg’s actions were well inside the pale, the jury’s decision in the Brownrigg case should be read less as condemning Mrs. Brownrigg for exercising her authority as a mistress when she attempted to regulate her servants than as condemning her for exceeding the limits of lawful authority. Torture, they decided, was not the same thing as chastisement. In light of the sorts of testimony presented and the defense strategies employed at the trial, we might argue that in convicting Mrs. Brownrigg and in holding her responsible for the Brownrigg household, the jury acted not only to validate an idea of separate spheres where mistresses were governors within the home but also to recognize the centrality of women’s rationality to the construction of middle-class culture. But it is possible to see how, if the jury’s verdict de‹ned the parameters of a mistress’s authority and put forth a picture of an empowered mistress, other representations of Mrs. Brownrigg presented a different picture of Elizabeth Brownrigg. Both in the press accounts of her crimes and in the ordinary of Newgate’s published account of her life and death, Mrs. Brownrigg was represented not as an ineffective household governor who had overstepped the boundaries of acceptable discipline but as an inadequate mother who failed to care enough for her “children.” In such a representation, these accounts located Mrs. Brownrigg’s authority (and the authority of middle-class mistresses in general) within the home less in her role as a rational and skillful manager of resources than in some natural womanly role. Her failure in these accounts of her actions was not managerial but maternal. These accounts did not dispute the existence of a separate sphere of women’s authority, but they invested the

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private sphere with greater symbolic weight and with less negotiable gender identities. The rhetoric that shaped descriptions of Mrs. Brownrigg’s capture, arrest, and trial for Mary Clifford’s murder consistently contrasted her position as the mother of more than ‹fteen children and her occupation as a midwife with her behavior as a mistress. Although she was described initially in the former roles with adjectives like “tender,” “affectionate,” and “humane,” the language used to describe her behavior underwent a change. The periodical press reported in detail rumors that Mrs. Brownrigg actively sought to destroy the children she delivered as a midwife. This change in the treatment of Mrs. Brownrigg’s professional behavior matched the picture that was being painted of her as a mistress. In that role, she sometimes was described as “cruel” and “savage.” Even more interesting, however, was the way in which adjectives like “tender” and “affectionate” frequently had no opposite term regarding human behavior, suggesting that if Elizabeth Brownrigg were not tender, for example, she could not be a woman and that if she were not a woman, then she could not be human and must therefore be a monster. Thus, she was often described as “inhuman” and as a “monster.” Only the term “tygress” suggests that she was a female at all, though like the other terms it still dehumanized her, in this instance by turning her into a ferocious animal.11 The location of Mrs. Brownrigg’s humanity within her femininity and in her role as a mother was further strengthened by the way in which the periodical press represented the three Marys. Mitchell, Clifford, and Jones were described as mere children and as “destitute innocents” in need of mothering kindness and nurture, and never as typical young women of the laboring classes whose need to provide for themselves found them in service from their early teens onward. Indeed, accounts of the case reported the ages of the girls slightly differently. Certainly no account reported they were older than they actually were, suggesting that as their ages drifted downward in press reports, sympathy for them rose.12 By representing the Marys as children, published accounts of the case were able to make stronger the link between Elizabeth Brownrigg’s inadequate maternal instincts and her savagery. Nowhere did the practical struggles of Mrs. Brownrigg to exert authority in her household or to protect her family from careless or criminal servants ‹nd expression; instead, those struggles about authority, struggles so central to the making of middle-class culture, were reduced to the following formulation: “Women . . . should consider themselves at once as mistresses and as mothers; nor ever permit the strictness of the former character to preponderate over the humanity of the latter” (Knapp and Baldwin 757–58). The roles of mistress and mother were revealed as interchangeable: mis-

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tresses’ authority in the home was less a matter of their managerial prowess and their ability to cope with often dif‹cult labor relations than their maternal instinct. There were thus two intertwined constructions of middle-class mistresses presented in the case of Elizabeth Brownrigg. One, seemingly endorsed by the jury, represented mistresses as rational governors whose skills were vitally important to family survival; the other, constructed in the press, saw mistresses as mothers-writ-large whose success as mistresses depended entirely on women’s natural difference, on their ability to have children. These two views of women as mistresses met head-on in the ordinary of Newgate’s account of Elizabeth Brownrigg’s execution. Ostensibly accounts of the last deeds and words of condemned criminals, which usually featured the prisoner’s confession and his or her statement of repentance, the published ordinaries’ accounts served public agendas as well as private spiritual ones. Not the least of these public agendas was to create an account that might sell enough copies to produce income for the ordinary. But in addition to the more crassly commercial concerns of the ordinary was also a concern to interpret the crimes of malefactors to the public in ways that legitimized the court’s action and that explained transgressions as violations of shared norms and values. The ordinary’s account served to expiate guilt, but it also served both monitory and homiletic purposes designed to reinforce dominant cultural de‹nitions and expectations. In the course of ful‹lling these agendas, the ordinary shaped and molded his account of the criminal’s life and crimes, even putting words into the mouth of the condemned (Linebaugh, “Ordinary of Newgate” 246–69). Elizabeth Brownrigg’s life and her confession to the ordinary John Moore, therefore, belonged to both of them. Here, then, we can see the ways in which mistresses and mothers were at odds. Consider ‹rst the passage, already cited, in which Elizabeth Brownrigg “explained” her unaccountable descent into cruelty using metaphors that identify her as an Egyptian taskmaster and her servants as slaves. The ‹rst thing to notice about this passage is that Elizabeth Brownrigg does not oppose the supposedly feminine qualities of “tenderness” and “humanity” with adjectives that suggest her own lack of humanity. In the popular periodical press, feminine qualities de‹ned female difference. So if Elizabeth Brownrigg was not tender or humane, she did not become male in those accounts; she became inhuman, a monster or a tygress. But in Elizabeth Brownrigg’s use of language her loss of tenderness does not result in her losing her humanity; instead, she assumes the position of an alternative subject—Pharaoh’s taskmaster. In fact, in her own representation of events she moves from a “female” position (tender, human, solicitous of servants’ welfare) to become a male subject, the indisputably

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male “taskmaster” (emphasis mine). In point of fact, Mrs. Brownrigg assumes a class identity as a manager of labor, and her movement is from a position of identi‹cation with her servants to one of class antagonism: indeed, in her description of herself as a taskmaster requiring bricks to be made without straw she literally describes her servants’ work as male work and links her own exercise of discipline with that of men who held authority over workers. Her own language of class is thus concerned with her labor relationship to her servants, and the movement she describes from tenderness to torture is concerned with her treatment of her workers. Mrs. Brownrigg argues, in effect, that labor management in both spheres required discipline and encountered the opposition of what mistresses and masters both saw as idle workers. But, as Mrs. Brownrigg’s own language shows, women’s authority in the home, though real and, as her own case illustrates, accountable, had no vocabulary. Although there is some remorse in this passage and a measure of selfrecrimination, Mrs. Brownrigg nevertheless continues to insist on the extreme dif‹culty of all employer/employee relationships, even (or especially) that of mistress and servant. In fact, after reading the passage, we might even disagree with Mrs. Brownrigg and reckon that her hardening heart might not have been so unaccountable after all. Mrs. Brownrigg’s confession describes a household spinning out of control, but its message is concerned with questions of authority and management. The ordinary John Moore saw (and understood) things quite differently when he explained the same set of circumstances. Where Mrs. Brownrigg portrays an unaccountably hardening heart and the behavior of sullen servants, Moore accounts for her transformation differently by depicting her spiritual collapse. According to Moore, as her religious faith deserted her and she ceased to practice her faith, her treatment of her servants deteriorated. The importance of Mrs. Brownrigg’s religious falling off, however, lay not in its individual aspects but in its repercussions for the family. In Moore’s account Mrs. Brownrigg is transformed from a mother who serves as the family’s moral center, reading prayers and organizing family churchgoing, to a mother who neglects these responsibilities. In doing so, not only does she herself fall into sin, but she corrupts her husband and, most importantly, her son. To the extent that Mrs. Brownrigg had problems with her servants, suggests Moore, it was because she neglected her maternal role. Lacking a language with which to speak about a woman’s authority as a household governor, questions of work or household management are missing from Moore’s consideration of Brownrigg’s crime: it is suf‹cient to suggest that in a family where the mother neglects her spiritual duty toward her family, she will be an unsuccessful (and possibly an inhuman or murdering) mistress (UM 154).

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What are we to make of the dual representation of Mrs. Brownrigg? Why does it make a difference that the representation of Mrs. Brownrigg as a bad mother came to overshadow the one that stressed her role as an unsuccessful manager of labor? I wish to suggest that giving mistresses the identity of mothers had two main purposes, both of which were central elements in constructing middle-class notions of gender and class relations. The ‹rst purpose lay in the threatening implications of recognizing women’s rationality. As Kathryn Shevelow has noted in her work on eighteenth-century women’s periodicals, models of household government that recognized women’s skill, rationality, and capacity for learning were implicitly egalitarian because they suggested that women could learn to be the equals of men (166). It was, of course, the same proposition on which the middle-class challenge to the old order itself was built: merit did not recognize birth (or gender) as a precondition, and it deserved to be rewarded both economically and politically. An idea of separate spheres built on a “separate but equal” proposition, as Mary Wollstonecraft would demonstrate later in the century, where merit disregarded both birth and gender, had dangerous possibilities. To acknowledge the core reality—that middle-class families’ economic stability depended on women’s management skill, rationality, and authority—required a revolution in gender relations: at the very least, it required an ungendered vocabulary of power and authority that recognized domestic economy and political economy as one and the same thing. Much more comforting was an ideological division of the world into separate spheres where separation was both dictated and reinforced by natural difference. Though it might be the case that each sphere was equally important to maintaining the family, neither their governors nor their vocabulary were interchangeable. In 1779, the London Magazine observed that family life “makes Tories of us all . . . see if any Whig wishes to see the beautiful Utopian expansion of power within his own walls” (48:178) Blaming Mrs. Brownrigg’s failure on her ›awed nature maintained the division between spheres and reinforced the importance of male/female difference, all the while leaving the middle-class critique of hierarchy intact: middle-class men could aspire through their hard work and abilities to the independence of their so-called betters, but women ostensibly had no class identity (including that of labor managers) except that derived from their husbands. A mistress, therefore, was just a mother-writ-large. Thus the men of the middle classes could remain Whigs in public and Tories at home, adopting reforming political beliefs while maintaining the necessity for strict hierarchy in their families. Since middle-class domestic ideology was no more anxious for ser-

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vants—male or female—to become Whigs than it was for wives to do so, imagining mistresses as mothers also helped to preserve the social hierarchy by maintaining the boundaries between the middle classes and those below them. The expectation that employers should act as parents to their employees was not a new one: the idea that superiors took care of dependents and that in return dependents owed superiors ‹lial loyalty had long been entrenched in both custom and law as the basis of household government, and it continued to form a good deal of contemporary thinking about public life. Though this vision of good household government structured the laws that pertained to family life, it had by the eighteenth century lost much of its relevance for everyday practice in middling families. As we saw earlier, servants were no longer dependents in quite the same sense as they had been previously: cash wages reduced the claims of employers on servants, giving servants greater freedom to dispose of their labor where they wished. At the same time, the transition of service from an occupation in which dependence was temporary (lasting only until the moment servants married and started their own households) to one in which prolonged, if not permanent, dependence served to differentiate and to enforce social distinctions between employers and their servants meant that employers had less real interest in their dependents’ well-being. Insisting that the role of mistress was an extension of women’s natural role as mothers both reinvigorated the necessity for hierarchy (justifying the subordination of the lower orders by insisting that servants were essentially children) and softened the cold, cash-driven realities that framed domestic service by extending to servants a care that masters, whose domain lay elsewhere, could not provide on a daily basis. Who was the real Elizabeth Brownrigg? A psychopath? The wife of a family whose rise in the world was neither smooth nor secure? A mistress who went too far and crossed the line of acceptable discipline? Or was Elizabeth Brownrigg a monster, a woman whose femininity was erased by her failure to expand her natural role as mother to include her female servants? The con›ict between mistress and maidservants in the Brownrigg household exposed fundamental tensions and anxieties within the middle ranks as af›uence, social aspiration, and the ability to indulge in new forms of consumerism increased faster than economic security. The Brownriggs’ treatment of their servants makes clear the absolute necessity for middle-class families to differentiate themselves from those who served them by insisting upon servants’ dependence and subordination. Within the socially and economically insecure world of the middle classes, servants were both ubiquitous and indispensable, but their presence was always problematic. As is often the case, the real Elizabeth Brownrigg remains hidden to us. However, the historical Elizabeth Brownrigg, as she was discussed, represented, and constructed by her

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contemporaries, emerges in response to the needs of an evolving middleclass culture that sought to justify its subordination of others at the same time as it coped with the tenuousness of its own independence. notes The author would like to thank Leona Fisher, Peter Arnade, and Alan Karras for reading and commenting on earlier drafts of this chapter. I would also like to thank the Newberry Library, which awarded me a National Endowment for the Humanities/Newberry Library fellowship to complete research on a book manuscript, of which this paper is a part. 1. See, for example, George (228); Langford, Polite and Commercial (503); and Linebaugh, London Hanged (322). Some in the contemporary press seized the opportunity to attach the events in Flower-de-Luce Court to their cause. Immediately after the death of Mary Clifford, one correspondent to the London and New Daily Advertiser used the tragedy to laud the bene‹ts of an act passed in the previous parliamentary session to protect parish children. It is apparent that the overseers and churchwardens of St. Dunstan’s feared some liability under the provisions of the Act: they placed an advertisement in the paper asking that other parishes act to prevent the abuse of children and that those with any knowledge of how other St. Dunstan’s apprentices were being treated come forward. St. Dunstan’s of‹cials took this case seriously. According to contemporary estimates they spent close to one hundred pounds to prosecute the Brownriggs. But if the Brownriggs’ crimes strengthened Hanway’s campaign to protect poor parish children, it is worth noting that none of the reforms realized in the 1767 “Act for the Better Regulation of Parish Poor Children . . . within the Bills of Mortality” necessarily would have prevented the mistreatment and death of Mary Clifford. The Act called for (among other provisions) parishes to provide larger premiums with apprenticed children in order to attract a better class of masters and mistresses who could guarantee that proper treatment and training were given to their charges. The Brownriggs appeared to be exactly the kind of people of credit who Hanway hoped would take in parish children under the Act. See LNDA, 8 Aug. 1767, 4; LNDA, 10 Aug. 1767, 4; LNDA, 26 Sept. 1767, 2; and George (236–46). 2. Andrew Knapp and William Baldwin’s popular New Newgate Calendar, published between 1824 and 1828, claimed that Brownrigg’s murder of Mary Clifford had “roused the indignation of the populace more than any criminal occurrence in the whole course” of their narrative, which covered more than a century’s worth of sensational crimes. Dorothy George reports the continued circulation of broadsides detailing Mrs. Brownrigg’s crimes well into the nineteenth century. See Knapp and Baldwin (748–58); George (257, 381 n.130). 3. Earle (106–42) discusses the processes by which tradesmen got their start and made their way in business. Table 4.7 (Earle 141) suggests the slow pace at which accumulation in business took place. Eighty-eight percent of those men who died under the age of thirty in Earle’s sample left fortunes of less than two thousand pounds. No one who died under age thirty left a fortune greater than ‹ve thousand pounds. 4. On the social status of midwives see Marland (esp. chaps.1–3).

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5. The term middle class is obviously problematic, and space does not permit a more detailed discussion of it in this chapter. However, I am less concerned here with pinpointing the moment at which membership in a “middle class” became a relevant (and self-conscious) economic, social, and political identity than in suggesting the degree of engagement in and interaction of individuals and families with the processes of cultural change. Indeed, the structuring of mistress/servant relationships considered in this chapter is part of that process of cultural change that was both the cause of and the evidence for middle-class evolution. The work of literary scholars in exploring the creation of the modern subject in the form of the constructed middle-class literary persona well before the objective material conditions existed to create a political middle class has been helpful in developing this line of thinking. So too has been the work of historians of consumption, especially Colin Campbell, whose attempt to understand the meaning of individual consumption behavior in social terms suggests that middle-class taste (and material desires) preceded middle-class politics by decades. See Armstrong; Shevelow; McKendrick, Brewer, and Plumb; Brewer and Porter; and Colin Campbell. How problematic considerations of an eighteenth-century middle class are can be seen in the growing body of research addressing the issue. Despite the increasing attention paid to the middle class, there is still very little work on families like the Brownriggs whose tastes, desires, and aspirations may have been more middleclass than their incomes could support. See Earle; Davidoff and Hall; Langford, Public Life and Polite and Commercial; Smail; and Barry and Brooks. 6. See, for one example, The Accomplish’d Housewife (12–13). Both Theresa McBride and Leonore Davidoff date the application of business/management principles to domestic life too late, as each suggests that attempts to introduce rationalization into housework were a nineteenth-century phenomenon (McBride 14–32; Davidoff 121–51). 7. “It was common for both girls, Mitchell and Clifford, to go about the house quite naked; for being by their indentures obliged to ‹nd them in cloaths, used frequently to order them to be taken off, upon discovering any little rent, hole or other sign that they were wearing out. Mitchell in particular scarce ever wore stockings, and had generally nothing upon her body but an old rag of a waistcoat, which did not cover her behind” (GM 534). The longer piece from which this chapter is taken discusses at length the ‹nancial strategies behind taking parish apprentices as domestic servants and looks at the economic marginality and social pretensions of those who did so. In the case of the Brownriggs, they took parish apprentices “in order to avoid the expense of women servants” (Knapp and Baldwin 751). 8. Even more evidence was presented at their October trial for abusing Mary Mitchell. At this trial the jury heard of several additional incidences of abuse. John Brownrigg was said to have taken her by the heels and “dipped her head in the [wash] tub”; to have struck her with a walking cane “on the left ear and broke the gristle of it”; and to have beaten her with a horse whip “for bringing him a shift for her mistress that was not ironed.” James Brownrigg, the son, was charged with administering two beatings “at mother’s orders” and with conducting a third beating of his own initiative “for eating some chestnuts that were up

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in his room.” Although both were convicted by the second jury and sentenced to pay one shilling, serve six months in Newgate, and enter into recognizance guaranteeing their good behavior for seven years, John Brownrigg was recommended to mercy by the court (UM 210–12). 9. A letter published after the trial commends the paper for suppressing a letter from someone on the coroner’s jury containing the accusation that the coroner refused to hear evidence against James and John Brownrigg. According to this correspondent, the members of the coroner’s jury were victims of an “honest but intemperate zeal, overheated with a sense of the cruelty exercised upon the poor objects” in wishing to see the male Brownriggs brought to trial (LEP 6221:4). 10. Apparently many among the populace agreed with the writer: after their second trial for beating Mary Mitchell, in which the jury convicted James Brownrigg but recommended him to mercy, “the mob was so exasperated against them, that it was with great dif‹culty, the of‹cers got him safe to Newgate” (LEP 6235:3). 11. For discussion of how and why women acting in the public sphere were so often represented as beasts or inhuman monsters, see Lynn Hunt’s chapter entitled “The Bad Mother” (89–123). 12. The ultimate expression of sympathy took a very eighteenth-century turn. Shortly after Mrs. Brownrigg’s execution, an advertisement appeared in the London and New Daily Advertiser soliciting donations for Mary Mitchell’s relief. The ad appeared again the next month on the eve of John and James Brownrigg’s trial. A cynic might remark that the advertisement might have created some incentive for Mary Mitchell to contradict her testimony at the earlier trial and to implicate James and John Brownrigg even more deeply in the torture that took place in Flower-de-Luce Court. Although both advertisements promised that a full accounting of the appeal’s proceeds would appear in the paper, I was unable to ‹nd any such accounting anytime in 1767 (28 Sept. 1767, 3; 17 Oct. 1767, 3). works cited abbreviations GLRO/A/FH GM LC LEP LM LNDA LonM OBSP UM

Greater London Record Of‹ce, Archives of the London Foundling Hospital, Thomas Coram Foundation Gentleman’s Magazine London Chronicle London Evening Post Lady’s Magazine London and New Daily Advertiser London Magazine Proceedings on the King’s Commission of the Peace Universal Magazine primary and archival works

The Accomplish’d Housewife. London, 1747. Campbell, R. The London Tradesman: Being a compendious view of all the trades, professions. arts both liberal and mechanic, now practised in the cities of London and Westminster. London, 1747.

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Colquhuon, Patrick. A Treatise on the Police of the Metropolis. 6th ed. London, 1800. Defoe, Daniel. Every-Body’s Business is No-Body’s Business; or, Private Abuses Public Grievances. London,1725. Gentleman’s Magazine 37 (1767). Greater London Record Of‹ce. Archives of the London Foundling Hospital (Thomas Coram Foundation). General Secretary’s Correspondence, 1760–1820. Household Work; or, the Duties of Female Servants. London, 1849. Knapp, Andrew, and William Baldwin. The New Newgate Calendar: Being interesting memoirs of notorious characters who have been convicted of outrages on the laws of England, during the eighteenth century, brought down to the present time. 6 vols. London, [1824–28]. Lady’s Magazine 8 (1777). Laws Concerning Masters and Servants. 2d ed. London, 1768. London and New Daily Advertiser, August–December 1767. London Chronicle 11–22 (1762–67). London Evening Post, August–September 1767. London Magazine 36–48 (1767–79). Neville, Sylas. Diary of Sylas Neville, 1767–1788. Ed. Basil Cozens-Hardy. New York: Oxford University Press, 1950. Oliphant, James. The Case of James Oliphant, surgeon, respecting a prosecution which he, together with his wife and maid servant, underwent in the year 1764, for the supposed murder of a female domestic. Newcastle-upon-Tyne,1768. A Present for Servants from their Ministers, Masters, or Other Friends. London, 1805. Proceedings on the King’s Commission of the Peace, Oyer and Terminer, and Gaol Delivery of Newgate, Held for the City of London and Count of Middlesex at Justice Hall in the Old Bailey. London, 1767. Taylor, Ann Martin. The Present of a mistress to a young servant: Consisting of friendly advice and real histories. London, 1816. Trusler, John. The Economist. London, 1774. Universal Magazine 41 (1767). secondary works Armstrong, Nancy. Desire and Domestic Fiction: A Political History of the Novel. New York: Oxford University Press, 1987. Barry, Jonathan, and Christopher Brook, eds. The Middling Sort of People: Culture, Society and Politics in England, 1550–1800. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1994. Brewer, John, and Roy Porter, eds. Consumption and the World of Goods. New York: Routledge, 1993. Campbell, Colin. The Romantic Ethic and the Spirit of Modern Consumerism. Oxford: Blackwell, 1987. Cruickshank, Dan, and Neil Burton. Life in the Georgian City. New York: Viking, 1990. Davidoff, Leonore. “The Rationalization of Housework.” In Dependence and Exploitation in Work and Marriage, ed. Diana Leonard and Sheila Allen, 121–51. New York: Longman, 1976.

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Davidoff, Leonore, and Catherine Hall. Family Fortunes: Men and Women of the English Middle Class, 1780–1850. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987. Earle, Peter. The Making of the English Middle Class: Business Society and Family Life in London, 1660–1730. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1989. George, M. Dorothy. London Life in the Eighteenth Century. 1925. Reprint, London: Penguin, 1979. Gillis, John. For Better, for Worse: British Marriages, 1600 to the Present. New York: Oxford University Press, 1985. Hay, Douglas. “Property, Authority and the Criminal Law.” In Albion’s Fatal Tree: Crime and Society in Eighteenth-Century England, ed. Douglas Hay, Peter Linebaugh, John G. Rule, E. P. Thompson, and Cal Winslow, 17–64. London: Penguin, 1975. Hunt, Lynn. The Familv Romance of the French Revolution. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California, 1992. Hunt, Margaret. “Time Management, Writing and Accounting in the EighteenthCentury English Trading Family: A Bourgeois Enlightenment?” Business and Economic History 2nd ser., vol. 18 (1989): 150–59. Langford, Paul. A Polite and Commercial People: England, 1727–1783. New York: Oxford University Press, 1992. ———. Public Life and the Propertied Englishman. New York: Oxford University Press, 1991. Linebaugh, Peter. The London Hanged: Crime and Civil Society in the Eighteenth Century. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1992. ———. “The Ordinary of Newgate and His Account.” In Crime in England, 1550–1800, ed. J. S. Cockburn, 246–69. London: Methuen, 1977. Marland, Hilary, ed. The Art of Midwifery: Early Modern Midwives in Europe. New York: Routledge, 1993. McBride, Theresa. The Domestic Revolution: The Modernisation of Household Service in England and France, 1820–1920. London: Croom Helm, 1976. McKendrick, Neil, John Brewer, and J. H. Plumb, eds. The Birth of a Consumer Society: The Commercialization of Eighteenth Century England. London: Europa, 1982. Seleski, Patty. “Women, Work and Cultural Change in Eighteenth- and Early Nineteenth-Century London.” In Popular Culture in England, c. 1500–1850, ed. Tim Harris, 143–67. London: Macmillan, 1995. Shevelow, Kathryn. Women and Print Culture: The Construction of Femininity in the Early Periodical. New York: Routledge, 1989. Smail, John. The Origins of Middle Class Culture: Halifax, Yorkshire, 1660–1780. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1994. Vickery, Amanda. “Women and the World of Goods: A Lancashire Consumer and Her Possessions.” In Consumption and the World of Goods, ed. John Brewer and Roy Porter, 274–304. New York: Routledge, 1993.

part iv

Transgressive Fictions

Eliza Haywood, Sapphic Desire, and the Practice of Reading Catherine Ingrassia

B y originally characterizing Eliza Haywood as “the great arbitress of passion,” James Sterling acknowledged the emotions and desires Haywood’s texts—to her audience’s delight—regularly explored. Haywood’s ‹ction revolved around women’s intense and often extreme relationships with men. Yet, in a departure from the dominant cultural model, she did not construct marriage as the ideal to which women should strive. Rather, her ‹ction details the consequences of patriarchal culture’s sexual ideology and provides female readers with speci‹c strategies for succeeding within those narrowly de‹ned parameters. She highlights the dangers to women of investing in the imaginary (or at least illusory) bene‹ts of heterosexual encounters and vividly illustrates the realities of a male-dominated society. Despite her often negative representation of masculinist practices, critics have traditionally read the passion Haywood sold as distinctly heterosexual, probably a woman’s passion for a man—Haywood’s putative stock-in-trade. In a culture de‹ned by compulsory heterosexuality, what other “passion” could be written or read? While culturally a male-female passion is assumed, linguistically and narratively Haywood suggests that the passion could also be between women. Haywood’s role as the “great arbitress” contains a fundamental ambiguity that should prompt us to ask, “Arbitress of what kind of passion and for whom?”1 The complexity of desire in Haywood’s ‹ction, the ways multiply de‹ned passion can be read, is the subject of my chapter. Haywood explores the passions of women’s same-sex relationships in at least six texts.2 These texts speci‹cally reenvisage relationships between women, articulate revised models of gender, and interrogate the limited construction of female sexuality. Until recently, the presence of this narrative pattern has been largely ignored, and the discursive representation of female companionate relations has only been recognized later in the century.3 Haywood’s work, read through the lens of bourgeois ideology, has been subsumed within the normative rubric that dissipates the force of any lesbian representations, despite narratives that offer alternate endings or fail to follow the marriage plot. Women’s 235

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desire (especially for other women) is often ignored, and female sexuality is always constructed in relation to men. Women withdrawing from the economy of marriage, heterosexuality, and male-directed love are read as rejecting a system in which they did not succeed rather than—as is often the case—choosing to create a new system of their own. A closer examination of Haywood’s texts reveals that women’s same-sex companionate relationships function as more than a consolation prize for heterosexual love gone wrong. Female relationships often supplant marriage as a narrative resolution, provide women with emotional intimacy and ‹nancial security, and enable their cultural and discursive self-actualization. Alternative sexuality becomes a mode of resistance to patriarchal culture and a means for constructing alternative subjectivity. Haywood offers women a vision of homosocial unions that, unlike that in later texts such as Millenium Hall (1762), is not idealistic but relatively pragmatic. She illustrates ways for women to live together within the dominant culture of eighteenth-century England, and she locates sites to accommodate their needs and desires to its demands and expectations. Instead of being “nowhere,” as utopian narratives are by nature, Haywood’s texts are speci‹cally located “somewhere.” Eighteenth-century discourse failed to describe accurately lesbian relationships in part because women’s sexuality was understood primarily in relation to men. Though real women participated in sexually subversive and/or lesbian behavior, discursively, a lesbian identity and desire did not exist as de‹nable cultural categories. They resided in what Kathryn King describes as “an unnarrated (and unnarratable) space” (155). As twenty‹rst-century literary critics, we still grapple with the problem of an inadequate or imprecise vocabulary. Our attempts to apply a modern identity category to a historical moment prove problematic at best. The challenges of reconstructing or writing this desire might suggest our dif‹culty in accurately reading lesbian relationships, especially when we attempt to historicize terms that are necessarily murky: desire, intimacy, or even friendship. The cultural codes that discursively represent those relationships are, of course, historically contingent and notoriously dependent on the theoretical and generational orientation of the reader—one scholar’s female friendship is another’s lesbian desire. In all her texts, Haywood encouraged what might broadly be characterized as homosocial bonds between women; she wanted to create communities of women who could promote each other’s interests.4 A strong homosocial component (inclusive or exclusive of emotional or physical intimacy) was, in many ways, a prerequisite for the new female subjectivity Haywood constructed. But her discursive relationships were more complicated and involved than that.5 In creating an alternative construction of female subjectivity, Hay-

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wood encourages women to narrativize their lives differently, often through their connections with other women. For Haywood, intimacy can exist within one relationship or within a broader continuum of homosocial relationships that include discursive connections. Because of her emphasis on narrativizing, the term sapphic, though never used by Haywood, has a resonance that effectively captures the (potentially) multiple layers of female unions she depicts. The term sapphic, as I use it, allows for but does not presuppose sexual intimacy, and it also suggests the continuity and the connectedness between women’s sexually or emotionally intimate relationships and their literary or narrative ones. Haywood offers different models of reading, literary production, and textual authority as she suggests how women can authorize or narrativize their lives as a self-actualizing gesture. Her new models for female subjectivity resist an ascendant bourgeois ideology and the literary establishment that textually reproduces the traditional model by valorizing marriage, the patriarchal order, and procreation. Sapphic desire and the creation of women’s literary communities become mutually informing and mutually reinforcing practices in Haywood’s construction of gender relations and the female reading subject.6 By highlighting the literary or narrative elements in Haywood’s representation of sapphic relationships, I certainly don’t mean to desexualize lesbianism. Quite the contrary—as the following discussion illustrates, Haywood clearly eroticizes female/female relationships. In doing so, she suggests that an erotic component resides in many homosocial relationships (male or female). She also ampli‹es the potential of women’s intimacies; female/female unions possess a complexity that can provide multiple satisfactions (sexual, emotional, ‹nancial, literary, intellectual). In representing relations between women, Haywood opens up at least two different kinds of outlaw “space”—personal space for differently conceived intimacies (both sexual and emotional); and narrative space (that Haywood herself explores) for differently understood texts, plots, and author-ities. Haywood integrated female same-sex relationships into many of her novels, often weaving “outlaw” representations into texts that interrogate but ultimately af‹rm (if only titularly) the masculinist paradigm. Some, such as The History of Miss Betsy Thoughtless (1751), recount erotic attraction felt but not acted upon between women. For example, Betsy, upon seeing Mademoiselle de Roquelair, experiences a strong desire: “There was something in this lady that attracted her in a peculiar manner; she took much delight in hearing her talk, as she had done in hearing her sing; she longed to be of the number of her acquaintance, and made her several overtures that way, which the other either did not, or would not seem to understand” (473). She expresses greater interest for her than she does for almost anyone else in the text except Trueworth;

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her “curiosity” causes her to investigate every aspect of the woman’s background.7 While the novel as a whole reassesses the value of marriage, it doesn’t dwell on same-sex relationships (de Roquelair turns out to be her brother’s and then her husband’s mistress). Similarly, in The History of Jemmy and Jenny Jessamy (1753), Lady Fisk essentially cruises for prostitutes while cross-dressing, an “adventure in Covent Garden” (with all the sexual connotations implicit in the term adventure) that has “outdone all her usual outdoing”: “she went in men’s cloaths, pick’d up a woman of the town, and was severely beaten by her on the discovery of her sex” (51). Other texts address same-sex relationships more extensively. The British Recluse (1722) recounts two women’s rejection by the same man and their resolution to remain together, retired from the world. They initially feel a strong attraction for each other: “The meeting of these two Ladies was something particular for Persons of the same Sex; each found, at ‹rst sight, so much to admire in the other that it kept both from speaking for some Moments” (159). Their attachment increases when they share their stores of failed love: “There grew so entire a Friendship between these Ladies that they were scarce a Moment asunder” (223). Their intimacy continues until one of them leaves to marry a previously scorned love. Yet, as Sally O’Driscoll notes, “the story ends just at the point where the two women decide to be together, without representing what that life would mean” (46). Haywood similarly retreats from showing women’s life together in The City Jilt (1726). In this novel, Glicera exacts revenge against her former lover Melladore with the help of her companion Laphelia, “a young woman with whom she was exceeding[ly] intimate” (80). After the success of her plan, Glicera “gave over all Designs on the Men, publickly avowing her Aversion to that Sex” (103) and lives with Laphelia. Ultimately, Laphelia’s prior engagement to a young man forces her to exchange “the Pleasures of a single Life, for the more careful ones of a married State” (103), and the two women’s time together becomes just a “pleasurable” interlude. In all these narratives, though Haywood does not explicitly depict genitally lesbian relationships per se, she clearly addresses the women’s passion for each other, if in a coded way. Ultimately, women return to the patriarchal structure (in some form), and these texts maintain “traditional narrative by nominally effacing lesbian desire while leaving its trace visible” (O’Driscoll 45). By contrast, The Rash Resolve (1724) and The Tea-Table (1725) resist such effacement and represent women’s relationships as separate from institutionalized prerogatives of the patriarchal system. In these two texts, Haywood constructs sapphic friendship as a way of revising the dominant cultural narratives available for women—in a way that accommodates the notion of authentic lesbian sexuality and also focuses on the

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cultural and gendered implications of that relationship. By challenging the vision of bourgeois culture, Haywood interrogates the dominant sexual ideology and, ultimately, critiques the dominant literary practice as well. She does more than leave traces of lesbian desire; she articulates same-sex relationships that structurally, emotionally, and narratively supplant heterosexual unions. The Rash Resolve, second only to Haywood’s Love in Excess in popularity, appears to be a typical Haywood narrative. In part 1, the wealthy, beautiful, and orphaned Emanuella escapes the imprisonment of her greedy uncle and guardian Don Pedro in Puerto Rico and ›ees to Madrid and the safety of other relatives.8 There, she is seduced, impregnated, and abandoned by her lover, Count Emilius, and betrayed by her cousin Berillia, who steals her fortune. Part 2 recounts her struggles as a single mother; poor and alone, she works in a convent, where she is rescued by Donna Jacinta, who cares for her until the shocking reappearance of Emilius with his wife, Julia, causes her death. Emanuella negotiates the legal, economic, and sexual obstacles routinely faced by women in eighteenth-century culture. Her failure to do so successfully is consistent with Haywood’s description of the material realities that affected a woman’s life. The novel differs from contemporaneous Haywood texts because Emanuella’s relationships with women—her cousin Berillia in part 1 and Donna Jacinta in part 2—determine the novel’s narrative trajectory. Although part 1 of the novel seems to be about Emanuella’s failed relationship with her lover, Emilius, it really focuses on her simultaneous seduction and betrayal by her cousin Berillia. Similarly, the second half creates a world in which women’s desires, authority, and institutions determine the course of events. Emanuella’s unsuccessful search for ‹delity, security, and family in the ‹rst part of the novel ends when she ultimately ‹nds a woman who provides ‹nancial and social status and emotional intimacy. The novel’s two halves mirror each other as Emanuella becomes involved with women who position her in (often invisible) erotic triangles in which she is alternately the competitor for and object of desire—but in all cases, the relationships are same-sex. Structurally Haywood subverts the standard paradigm by shifting the locus of in›uence on a woman’s life and delineates potential (albeit limited) spaces for power, in›uence, and, ultimately, life-long union between female subjects. From the beginning of the text, Emanuella’s subtle androgyny signals Haywood’s revision of the patriarchal narrative. Her “virtues which wear the Name of Manly” complement “Tenderness [and] Sweetness of Disposition” (2). Her objective throughout the text is removing patriarchal restraints on her life and securing her ‹nancial autonomy. Her uncle

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and guardian, for example, attempts to marry her to his son and, in turn, secure continued control over her fortune. Subjecting her to imprisonment and eliminating her female servants for fear she will be able to persuade them to help her (13), he tries to force her into the role of the submissive, dutiful female. Her escape to Madrid and subsequent lawsuit against him reveal her ability to act within the legal and ‹nancial structures of patriarchy. Her authority and structural androgyny also inform her relationship with her family in Madrid. When she learns that her uncle Don Jabin lacks the money to provide his daughter Berillia with a suitable dowry and plans to send her to a convent, Emanuella assumes his ‹nancial role and offers the funds. Bereft of familial connections, Emanuella hopes to cultivate a relationship with her cousin Berillia: she wants to “purchase her Company” (38) so they can stay together. As Janet Todd and Carroll Smith-Rosenberg remind us, intense friendships between women often compensated for the limitations and restrictions placed on women in British and colonial eighteenth-century culture. Indeed, female friendship in these Haywood texts is intense, personal, and typically more successful than any male-female relationships offered. Despite (and in part because of) Emanuella’s generosity, Berillia despises her and plots for her failure. She orchestrates all Emanuella’s actions in the text, including Emanuella’s courtship and consummation with her lover, Emilius. Emanuella does not recognize her cousin as duplicitous; in fact, at one point in the novel, Emanuella seriously thinks about ending her relationship with Emilius because she’s afraid it will be hurtful to Berillia. The relationship between Berillia and Emanuella dominates part 1. Not only do the two women have the strongest emotional connection (though love on Emanuella’s side and hatred on Berillia’s), but the ostensible hero, Emilius, functions primarily as a cypher for Berillia’s hatred and Emanuella’s imagination. From the beginning, the reader is asked to question “whether Emilius was really possess’d of all those Qualities which go to the making of a perfect Lover” (51). Emanuella’s relationship with Emilius exists primarily in her imagination—a quality that heightens her susceptibility to Berillia’s designs. Emilius is a person “so conformable to the Idea she had created in her Mind, of what would please her, that she could not presently distinguish whether is was still the same delightful Vision her extensive Fancy had dress’d up with all the Ornaments of Art and Nature, or a real substance” (40). Emanuella has created rather than discovered the ideal companion: “what Sense cannot bestow Imagination’s Force supplies” (41). His appeal exists because of Emanuella’s fancy, and it increases because of Berillia’s efforts to author her demise. Though part 1 follows the familiar trajectory of the seduced and aban-

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doned woman, the seduction occurs primarily through Berillia’s machinations. Her power to write this seduction narrative and, more importantly, her emotional impetus to do so place Emanuella within a homosocial continuum in which their relationship is dominant. Emilius possesses only the “common Arts, which those, least capable of Passion, make use of whenever excited, either by Interest, or Vanity” (53), but Berillia compensates for those limitations. Recognizing the imaginatively based nature of Emanuella’s fancy, “Berillia . . . made her own Construction of it” (47) and becomes the director for the production of their relationship. Because Emanuella shares all her feelings with Berillia, with whom she is “intimate” (44), she is particularly susceptible to her designs. As Smith-Rosenberg notes of colonial America, women cultivate an emotional proximity that can foster such intimacy, and within such “a world of emotional richness and complexity, devotion to and love of other women became a plausible and socially accepted form of human interaction” (35). Spontaneously, Emanuella shares all with Berillia, and, in turn, Berillia “talk’d continually of the Count, she praised his Shape, his Air, his Wit” (49). With “the Artifaces she daily, almost hourly, made use of,” she stimulates Emanuella’s sexual imagination “to melt Emanuella’s Soul, and turn her all into Desire” (55). Over a period of weeks, Berillia cultivates Emanuella’s desire of Emilius. Her intimacy with Emanuella allows Berillia to act as author, an ability that suggests the narrative power of female/female relationships but also reveals the illusory appeal of male/female romance. Berillia determines the plot, the setting, the characters, and even the dialogue of this seduction—there is nothing “natural” about it. As Berillia heightens Emanuella’s desire, she also writes to Emilius of Emanuella’s hesitancy to display “the passion which . . .[she] regards you with” (50). Berillia further orchestrates the trajectory of their relationship. Posing as a sympathetic ally, Berillia collaborates with Emilius to secure the speci‹c time and place of the seduction. On the appointed day, she further sets the scene by “placing [Emilius] in an Arbour where he was least liable to be seen, left . . . to feast in Imagination on the Pleasures he was shortly to enjoy in Reality” (51–52). Like an actor, Emilius waits alone to “receive his Cue from Berillia” (51). A surrogate for Emilius, Berillia arouses Emanuella with her vivid sexual descriptions that serve as verbal foreplay. She seductively tells how Emilius remains “full of impatient Wishes, and trembling with Desire to throw himself beneath your Feet” with his “burning, raging, desperate, dying Love” (52). While Berillia can’t participate physically in their intimacy, she de‹nes and nurtures it. It also supplements—or perhaps acts as a substitute for—her own erotic experience. Having stimulated them both, Berillia watches the lovers together “in‹nitely satis‹ed in the Observations she made” that

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she had “brought things pretty near to the pitch she aim’d at” (54). Her voyeurism heightens her own sexual desire, and ‹nally leaving the two, she meets her own lover in the garden and “received the double Satisfaction of the Company of the Man she lov’d, and the Probability of undoing the Woman she hated” (54). Arousing Emanuella arouses her. She becomes the catalyst for Emilius’s conquest and experiences a similar (if not simultaneous) “satisfaction.” The substitution of erotics not only suggests how Berillia’s sexuality is doubly directed—she is aroused by Emanuella and by her lover—but also reveals the potential erotics of female authority. Berillia’s satisfaction lies as much in the consummation of the scenario of seduction she creates as it does in the seduction itself. Berillia also orchestrates Emilius’s rejection of Emanuella. When Emanuella loses all her money at sea, she asks Berillia to inform Emilius of her loss and judge his reaction to the news. She hopes, of course, his love for her will transcend monetary considerations. Rather than give Emilius the message, Berillia constructs a different narrative and creates for Emilius an alternate version of Emanuella marked by “Deceit, Hypocrisy, Perjury” (61). To ensure the women’s relationship remains primary, Berillia acts as a masculine substitute, claiming Emanuella already has a husband and another lover; Berillia identi‹es Emanuella as someone who violates the fundamental boundaries of a faithful, submissive woman. In the process of telling this elaborate lie, Berillia receives a “vow of secrecy” from Emilius: “you shall swear ‹rst by every thing that’s Holy, never to utter to Emanuella or any other Person what I am about to speak” (63). This vow supersedes any he gave Emanuella and inserts Berillia even more forcefully into the erotic relationship between Emilius and Emanuella. Berillia gains a commitment from him and isolates Emanuella for herself; she is in “much Rapture at the Success of her Project” (63). Later, when Emilius learns Emanuella is in a convent, he considers writing her to resume their relationship, “but the Promise her Cousin had exact’d from him deterr’d him” (70). In a sense, Berillia successfully seduces both Emilius and Emanuella—the former with her ‹ction about her cousin and the latter with her ‹ction about Emilius. Berillia, not a male rival, completes the erotic triangle, for she is the real competitor to Emilius. By supplanting Emilius, Berillia gains immediate and future success by removing Emanuella from the heterosexual marketplace and placing her in a homosocial relationship that renders Berillia’s control primary. “In knowing one, I know the whole deceiving sex— Nor will I be a second time betray’d,” claims Emanuella. “I’ll hide for ever from their Arts, their soothing Flatteries, their subtle Insinuations— no more I’ll hear, or see, or think of Man” (65). After Emilius abandons Emanuella, she goes to a convent where she later discovers her pregnancy. Fleeing in shame, she retires to a remote

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location, gives birth, and writes her uncle Don Jabin with instructions to send her recovered fortune. Berillia intercepts the letter and seeks out Emanuella, now living under an assumed name. Desirous of Emanuella’s wealth, Berillia uses the persuasive language of a lover to gain access to her cousin. She courts her again, but this time purely for her own satisfaction. She claims that “never was there a more tender Regard between Persons of the same Sex, than that which my Soul paid to this Lady, and which I ›atter my self I was favour’d with from her” (99). Because her relationship with Berillia has dominated her life, Emanuella immediately responds with equal commitment: “my love for you would oblige me to banish all other Considerations, and continue with you ’till Death enforces a Separation” (101). Seeking emotional and physical union, she urges Berillia to “come into my arms” (100). Emanuella assumes she has achieved the narrative closure she seeks. Yet Berillia, duplicitous and ‹nancially self-interested, replicates the process of seduction and abandonment. Appropriately, she applauds herself for possessing the “authorial” qualities that enable her to write Emanuella’s existence; she possesses “good Genius . . . her own Wit, her own Fertility of Invention, and Perfection in the Art of Dissimulation” (103). Like Haywood, Berillia is an arouser of ardor and author of feminine ‹ctions, and, like the professional writer, she does so primarily for ‹nancial gain. But while Berillia’s pro‹t originates in female intimacy, its success depends on abandonment. Haywood, however, must instigate and sustain the relationship with her female readers, making Berillia a “bad” author in multiple ways. Though “intimate,” the women’s relationship presumably excludes mutual erotic desire; nevertheless it structurally functions as the primary seduction in the novel. In effect, Berillia seduces her cousin twice (as a surrogate for Emilius and on her own terms), and her subsequent betrayal more profoundly affects Emanuella’s actions. Emanuella’s abandonment, her second, constitutes an even greater loss than Emilius: she was “betray’d, robb’d, and forsaken in so barbarous a manner, by the Person whom of all the World she had placed the greatest Con‹dence in” (105). Just as Emilius’s vow to Berillia supersedes any to Emanuella, so too Emanuella’s devotion to Berillia is what she regards most highly. Though part 1 depicts Emanuella’s relationship with Emilius, the standard masculinist narrative remains secondary to the more powerful relationship between the two women. By contrast, part 2 of the novel introduces the narrative and cultural possibilities available through a positive same-sex relationship, and Emanuella’s subsequent union with Donna Jacinta provides the text’s romantic resolution. The second half’s transformational narrative anticipates a novel like Pamela, except that in this case, the agency is located in a woman. Emanuella, now a single parent, must support her newborn

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son, Victorinus, by any means possible. Performing menial labor for a convent, Emanuella is discovered by the beautiful, wealthy widow Donna Jacinta, who takes “more notice of the Delicacy of her Hands and Complexit[ion], the sweetness of her Voice,” and thus “desire[s] to speak” with her (110). During the conversation “she immediately made her an offer of coming into her House . . . the obliging Lady would be deny’d by no means; she had taken a fancy to her, and was resolv’d to have her” (111). Unlike Haywood’s representations of romantic friendship in The British Recluse or The City Jilt, the union of these two women does not follow their rejection by the same man or their displeasure with compulsory heterosexuality. Instead, this relationship constitutes an articulated preference for the same-sex relationship. Donna Jacinta is driven by her “fancy” to actively pursue Emanuella; she resolved “to have her” and “would be denied by no means.” Donna Jacinta’s seduction, like Berillia’s (though for distinctly different reasons), emphasizes the mutually bene‹cial aspects of the relationship. All of Emanuella’s hesitancy disappears when Donna Jacinta assures her she will not “exact any thing from you, but what shall be agreeable to your own Inclinations” (112). That phrase contains a suggestive, perhaps coded, reference to the potentially progressive nature of their relationship. Since Emanuella will not be working for Donna Jacinta, it’s not clear what she would attempt to “exact” from her—emotional commitment? Sexual intimacy? The “inclinations” could refer to desire or interest. Though vivid in her representation of heterosexual physical intimacy, Haywood withholds direct, noncoded language in same-sex encounters. The intensity and duration of the two women’s union compel us to probe the inde‹nite nature of that language. Is that ambiguity a way for Haywood to create a linguistic “space” into which women can read their own outlaw desires? Structurally and symbolically, the two women’s alliance replicates a marital union. Donna Jacinta transforms Emanuella’s life from one of “daily Care, Scarcity, and sometimes Want, to [one of] Ease, Plenty, and . . . Chearfulness” (112). Emanuella gains a new identity (she renames herself Placillia); new social status; and a revised personal history, the “Story [Donna Jacinta] had fram’d, for all who enquired into her Affairs” (113). Her life is rewritten anew. Though men like Don Pedro try unsuccessfully to “author” her existence, only the women—Berillia and Donna Jacinta—can actually create a narrative Emanuella will follow. Emanuella envisages her union with Donna Jacinta lasting forever: “She had no reason to imagine she should not live and die with this kind Friend” (114). Of course their union retains the unequal power relationship of a marriage, which actually underscores the cultural alternative Haywood tries to offer; Emanuella lived “as happy as a Person can live,

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who lives dependent on the Favour of another . . . [she] was so sensible of her Favours, that she at length became her’s as much thro’ Inclination as Duty” (114). Within Haywood’s paradigm of male-female relationships, consummation and marriage produce boredom, dissatisfaction. Men are easily distracted and seek only limited depth of knowledge. For example, a male character like Emilius has no desire to continue a relationship once his sexual conquest is complete: “he had already enjoy’d her; and where is the Man who dies for a repeated Possession?” (67)9 Within that context, Emilius’s betrayal is read as natural, indeed inevitable: “how little dependence there is on a man when love and gratitude are the only motive to engage his constancy” (79). Between women, by contrast, intimacy begets intimacy. An ideal companion, Donna Jacinta provides emotional consistency. Their mutual relationship develops gradually: “[Donna Jacinta] was always the same, always in one Temper, unless it were, that her Affections seem’d every day to increase to her new Companion; but that is little to be wonder’d at, since this unhappy Fair had a stock of Charms in her Conversation and Behaviour which were not to be discover’d all at once” (112–13). Under the power of Donna Jacinta’s love, Emanuella begins “to resume her former Charms and appear again herself” (113). She is most herself when under the loving protection of the woman with whom she plans to spend the rest of her life. Because of the lengths Haywood goes to to make the relationship resemble a marriage (life-long commitment, emotional intimacy, ‹nancial support), the implicit “marital duties” could be read as coded to include a sexual relationship as well. The structural power of Emanuella and Donna Jacinta’s union is revealed when Emilius and his wife, Julia (Donna Jacinta’s cousin), charmed by Victorinus, want to meet the child’s mother. Confronted with her former lover and the father of her illegitimate child, Emanuella “›ung herself at the Feet of Donna Jacinta, and with trembling Hands, catching hold of her Robe . . . pleading ‘O cast me not off at once’” (116). Her compulsion to apologize for a past sexual relationship suggests her intimate connection with Donna Jacinta. She does not experience anger toward Emilius or resentment toward Julia, only anxiety about the reaction of the woman she loves and is ‹nancially dependent on. The appearance of Julia and Emilius also creates a complicated sexual competition that illustrates the authority of same-sex relationships in this discursive world. In a recon‹guration of the patriarchal paradigm of the exchange in women, Julia offers to give her husband, Emilius, to Emanuella to compensate for his previous abandonment of her; she willingly “resign[s] him, and with him, the Title I have innocently so long usurped” (124). In this erotic triangle, Emilius is the commodity that forges the bond between the two women. He “chose to remain silent, and leave the noble-

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minded Ladies to decide the generous contest as they pleased” (125). The interchange between Emanuella and Julia eliminates any power Emilius has and restructures kinship bonds to women’s homosocial connections. He occupies what Terry Castle describes as “the ‘in between’ or subjugated position of the mediator” (73).10 When Julia offers Emilius to Emanuella, she denies Emilius the power of refusal or the sexual dominance central to masculinity. When Emanuella refuses to accept him, Julia shifts the focus of the exchange from Emilius to herself with an invitation for Emanuella to live with her as “a Sister,—as a Friend” (126). That gesture positions Julia and Donna Jacinta as competitors for Emanuella, who in this new erotic triangle becomes the object rather than the agent of exchange. Donna Jacinta, “who thought it was her place to speak,” insists on her prior claim to Emanuella: “I had a Friendship for Emanuella, before I knew who she was, and cannot consent to part with her when I ‹nd her so much more Worthy of my Esteem:—she must continue with me till Death inforces a Separation” (126). Donna Jacinta focuses on the strength of their lifetime commitment and a love that ignored the absence of social or economic privilege. In the face of this public declaration, Emanuella experiences “shame, . . . Gratitude, . . . Tenderness, and perhaps a mixture of another Passion more dif‹cult to be supported than all the rest” (126). The phrase “mixture of another passion” suggests the alternative kinds of “passion” of which Haywood is also “arbitress.” The unnamed quality of that passion points to the unnarratable quality of same-sex erotic desire. While Haywood tries to give words to that desire, it is impossible to articulate fully or “fully support”—within the linguistic or cultural paradigm. Not only must Haywood rely on coded references, suggesting a limitation in terms of language, but she must also ultimately subsume the relationship within the only plot available to her. Like La Belle Assemblée, of which O’Driscoll writes, The Rash Resolve “makes it clear that all kinds of sexual behaviors are thinkable: that the narrative resolution backs away from them every time does not make them disappear” (39). Haywood sustains the relationship to the last possible moment, but ultimately the text cannot achieve closure through a sustained sapphic relationship. Emanuella dies, and her death is “equally lamented by Donna Julia, as by Emilius and Jacinta” (127). Her death eliminates the need to choose between Donna Jacinta and Julia and ultimately enables Haywood to divert the women’s emotions from Emanuella to her son, Victorinus. He becomes the vehicle for their affection as both women, biologically childless mothers, “seem’d to out-vye the other in their Fondness of him” (127). This device enables Haywood simultaneously to subvert and conform to the dominant sexual ideology; her representation of intimate

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relationships between women is balanced by the attention to and survival of a male heir. Women are still placed in competition with one another, but rather than vying for af‹rmation of their desirability within a heterosexual economy, they compete for control over their connection with a homosocial past. Emanuella remains a subject de‹ned only in relation to others; though she functions as an object of sexual exchange between women she also ful‹lls her reproductive function. Valerie Traub observes that women’s desires for other women were viewed as untenable “because they are essentially nonreproductive . . . such desire . . . becomes signi‹cant . . . only when the time comes for the patriarchal imperative of reproduction to be enforced” (78). By making Emanuella both a devoted mother and an object of desire for other women, Haywood subsumes the more transgressive elements of her text under the acceptable rubric of motherhood. Through the union with Donna Jacinta, who ultimately raises Emanuella’s son, Haywood offers a model in which women’s desire becomes (re)productive. The concern for reproduction continues in Haywood’s other texts of sapphic desire, including The Tea-Table; or, A Conversation between Some Polite Persons of Both Sexes at a Lady’s Visiting Day (a 1725 miscellany published in two parts, not Haywood’s periodical by the same name).11 In The Tea-Table, Haywood represents a cultural and literary space controlled and perpetuated by women. The tea table serves as a forum for sharing manuscripts, discussing published texts, and exploring issues of genre; it also provides a place for women to discuss their homosocial relationships—of varying degrees of intimacy—and to share the literary representations of those unions. Rather than have women act as “criticks in fame” (her term)—critics of another woman’s life—she would have them become literary critics. At the tea table, Haywood vividly illustrates the power and pervasiveness (in her discursive reality, at least) of women’s same-sex relationships. Romantic friendship and the creation of women’s literary communities become mutually informing and mutually reinforcing practices in Haywood’s construction of gender relations and the female reading subject. The tea table becomes a site for the “reproduction” of both literary texts and models for women’s samesex passions. Haywood is interested in naturalizing the reproduction of both relationships. In this alternate con‹guration, “the Pleasure which this agreeable Company took in each others Society” makes the women “unwilling” to leave and “impatient for the Time when [they] were to reenjoy that Satisfaction [they] had so lately quitted” (1:5). They long for the next “Rendezvous” (2:1). The language—“satisfaction,” “pleasure,” “rendezvous”—suggests the tea table provides the women with the desire and contentment they might receive from a lover. The tea table is hosted by Amiana, who determines the topics for dis-

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cussion. Amiana is marked as a woman completely removed from the heterosexual marketplace. An undisclosed “Method” enables her “to live so much at Ease,” unpestered “with the Addresses of one Fop or other” (2:31); she believes women undone by fools or vanity “are out of the reach of [her] Pity or Forgiveness” (2:42). Her refusal to circulate heterosexually provides her with a unique perspective and sets the sapphic tone for the tea table. She has a “long intimacy” with Brilliante, a member of the group (2:1), and spends her time with “Company” or alone with female companions (1:19). An ideal hostess, she “very much . . . prefer[s] the Satisfaction of her Friends to her own” (2:2). Though the tea table is not exclusively populated by women, its few male “guests” are interested in discussing the same topics as women. They even physically resemble the other women; one man is described as the “twin” of a woman there, complete with “perfume” and “powder” (2.31–32). (Indeed, one of my graduate students suggested that the participants were all women, some of whom were cross-dressing.) The Tea-Table’s subversive nature continues with the kinds of stories exchanged: the narratives of this tea table deal with betrayed women; the inevitable unhappiness of married couples; and the duplicity, in‹delity, and inconsistency of men. No positive model of heterosexual relationships is offered, only “textualized maps of the heterosexual road not taken” (King 158). The only intense and intimate relationships discussed are among the women at the table or between those women and their absent female friends. The conversation represents the new models of female sexuality and intimacy, engenders speci‹c types of literary creation, and de‹nes the practice of reading for women. As represented by Haywood in a contemporaneous text, Le Belle Assemblée (1724), the female reading experience is collaborative rather than hierarchical, and it privileges a mutuality lacking among men readers (the same mutuality that she represents as lacking in women’s relationships with men). The men in this text, a Decameron-like collection of tales told by a group at a country home, direct each member of the group “all in mutual silence” to “take up what Book shall please us best” (5) and later offer “either a Dissertation or a Criticism.” The women agree to “all but what relates to the Silence,” because, as the character Camilla explains, for them reading is an experience that produces an immediate response and ultimately cultivates a community of readers: “When I am in a rapture with some beautiful Passage, I must immediately speak—I must repeat it aloud—and point out the Beauties of it . . . if I were to be debarr’d of this so great a pleasure, I should grow stupid” (5). This practice of reading causes her to “reproduce” the text—to repeat it aloud— and create an interactive community of female readers who engage in stimulating conversation to keep from “growing stupid.”

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The Tea-Table follows that participatory model of reading in which women interrupt, overlap, and spontaneously share texts, often ones addressing sapphic friendship. For example, Brilliante, who “most outshines the generality of her sex,” shares a poem “which an Intimate Friend of my own Sex wrote on the Death of her Companion, who I have been told was a young Lady of most extraordinary Accomplishments” (2.10). At this tea table, such a relationship is naturalized. Haywood uses traditional (or authorized) poetic forms to document culturally unauthorized relationships between women. The generic choice simultaneously subverts the literary model while introducing the new model of intimacy. The poem conforms to tropes of elegy and romantic verse in its praise of the dead companion: “Her Form the fairest of the Beauteous Kind, / but lovelyer far the Beauties of her Mind, / That with sweet in›uence did still impart, / Joy to each Eye, and Love to every Heart” (2.10, lines 1–4). The enthusiastic response to the piece applauds its subject—the devotion of two women united through “reciprocal Affection.” Though it departs from the conventional model for a love relationship, it is heralded as “more deserving our Approbation than any other Subject the Muse can chuse” (2.12). The poem also shifts conventional literary tropes as it employs Horatian and Shakespearean imagery (in fact it begins with a quotation from Horace in the original text) in service of a poem of love between two women. Such rhetorical appropriation not only claims a legitimacy for (and elevates) this model of same-sex erotic relations but celebrates the new literary model as well. A guest at the tea table claims that “if the Professors of Poetry had in reality any Sense of that Honour and Generosity they so well describe in their Works, we should more frequently have Elegys of this Nature”—“this nature” in both a literary and gendered sense (2.12). The most striking representation, however, comes at the conclusion of part 2, when Amiana receives a letter from Violante, a woman “whom [she] had a Concern for, superior to what [she] ever felt for [her]self” (2:56). When Amiana receives the letter from this “Person so dear to her,” “’twas easy to perceive a sudden Alteration in that Lady’s Countenance at ‹rst sight of the Hand, but when she had examin’d the Contents, a wand’ring Joy diffus’d itself o’er every Feature of her Lovely Face, and with an Air which expressed the utmost Satisfaction” (2.56). The language seems coded to suggest an almost erotic experience: she ›ushes as the “Joy diffus’d”; she experiences the “utmost” satisfaction. The letter, which Amiana shares to make her guests “Partakers of my Happiness,” describes a relationship of duration, devotion, and an (unexplained) forced separation: “If a tedious Absence of Seven Years, and a Belief perhaps, that I have transgress’d those Rules which both of us laid down to each other to observe, have not entirely eras’d that Affection you once

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favour’d me with, you will receive with Pleasure the News that I am alive, and once more enjoy the Opportunity of seeing and conversing with my dear Amiana” (2:57). Arriving that day, Violante avoids Amiana’s house, ‹lled “with a Crowd of the great World, before whom it is not proper for me to appear” (2:57). It becomes dif‹cult to interpret the language, which suggestively intimates transgressive unions. What are the “rules” both laid down to observe? Must they reveal or conceal their passion? What is the full range of meaning understood by “seeing and conversing”? Why is it “not proper” for Violante to appear before a crowd of the “world”? Because after seven years’ time she is not presentable or because her appearance would reveal the sapphic nature of their intimacy? Their relationship is private, not part of “the world,” and, despite the direction and spirit of Haywood’s work, not completely or transparently part of her narrative either. We can never fully recover how Haywood’s language was used by its author or understood by its original audience, but we must recognize the range of meanings with which it could be understood. As James Holstun observes, the dif‹culty in writing lesbian history begins with the dif‹culty in reading: “How can we begin writing its history when it so infrequently makes itself known in language? . . .Why is it voiceless?” (836) When Violante writes Amiana, she urges her “to quit all Company” to provide her with “some Consolation, which nothing but the Sight of my Dearest Amiana” can afford: “suffer nothing to detain [you] from the Impatient Violante” (2:58). The guests at the tea table immediately recognize “by the writing of the one, and the Look and Manner of the other, that nothing could be more sincere and tender than the Friendship between them” (2:58). Though primarily voiceless, the “look and manner” of their relationship can be read correctly by the savvy members of the tea table. When Amiana prematurely concludes the tea table to visit Violante, she does so with the promise that the next meeting will feature a “repetition” of Violante’s “adventures,” a welcome topic “to Persons of whose Candour I am so well assured” (2:59). As proposed, Violante’s narrative, which culminates in her reunion with Amiana, would simultaneously offer another woman’s literary product and another positive model of same-sex relationships—both opportunities for the tea table to “reproduce” itself. The coded nature of the language is a signal within the con‹nes of the tea table and a signal from Haywood to her discerning reader. Those who can “recognize,” who have the “candor,” can appreciate and participate in the alternative narratives Haywood presents. The ability to crack the code makes the tea table an even more exclusive (and female) space. While The Tea-Table did not continue, it reveals the range of issues Haywood sought to address. She discursively changes the way women

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circulate within the sexual economy and suggests how they can create their own currency—textual, sexual, or emotional. She also tries to secure the way her texts circulate within a literary economy, making this representation distinctly commercial. In attempting to naturalize reading as a homosocial, reproductive, and potentially empowering act, Haywood seeks to retain and expand her female audience and inculcate the female practice of reading. As these texts indicate, female/female relationships also rely on female author-ity. Berillia, Jacinta, and Amiana and her guests all function as authors or facilitators (of lives, texts, communities) that similarly ensure their success or reproduction. That practice reproduces the model of sapphic friendship; the community of women readers; and, of course, Haywood as an author. All of these represent subversive or “outlaw” impulses within the culture of early eighteenth-century England, and it is dif‹cult to reconstruct how fully her audience, male or female, would have recognized the possibilities of Haywood’s narratives. Her female audience may have embraced the female/female relationships (erotic, literary, social) she portrayed, or they may simply have welcomed a more ambiguously de‹ned “feminine” space. Certainly, Haywood’s male contemporaries found her literary reproduction at least as threatening as the alternate models of gender relationships with which it is closely—but for some unintelligibly— linked. Like Behn and Manley before her, Haywood interrogated the limitations of the culturally constructed feminine persona and found possibilities in homosocial relationships between women. Contemporary critics who ‹nd sapphic desire in Haywood implausible need only consider the female tradition in which she wrote. Like Brilliante in The Tea-Table, Behn appropriates a masculine poetic form to express the emotion stirred by a sapphic infatuation. In “To the fair Clarinda, who made Love to me, imagined more than Woman,” the narrator imagines Clarinda a “lovely charming youth” (4). Her female form seems to prohibit sexual interaction—“we might love, and yet be innocent: / For sure no crime with thee we can commit” (13–14). Yet it actually provides ample opportunity for covert sexual satisfaction as the women capitalize on the cultural blindness to their desire: “Or if we should [commit crimes]—thy Form excuses it” (15). The imaginative hermaphroditic resolution, “While we the noblest Passions do extend / The love to Hermes, Aphrodite the friend” (22–23), anticipates the desire of Manley’s Cabal in The New Atalantis. These women “do not in reality love men, but dote of the representation of men in women” and dress “en cavaliere”(235). Similarly, their female forms make sexual activity—and thus scandal—an impossibility. “Sexual misbehavior without men,” writes Catherine Gallagher, “is . . . de‹ned as ipso facto incredible, something requiring excessive imagination even to

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contemplate” (138). Behn, Manley, and Haywood each embrace the possibilities of female friendship as a vehicle for sexual, emotional, and political empowerment. More importantly, each illustrates how sapphic relationships can defy the cultural expectations for women and thus exist in an alternative space that de‹es detection. These narrative patterns of same-sex relations must be reconsidered within the context of Haywood studies, the history of the novel, and literary history’s construction of both. In many ways, identifying sapphic desire within Haywood’s work is completely consistent with her discursive agenda. To represent “lesbian” behavior, if not identity, transgresses normative sexuality and critiques patriarchal culture. By ‹nding space for other passions within her texts, Haywood implicitly suggests that women can ‹nd permeable spaces within their lives to explore alternate sexualities and subjectivities. Women can simultaneously read and write their lives differently. That narrative pattern should prompt contemporary scholars to revise their practice of reading and writing about Haywood. Modern critics characterize Haywood as someone who resisted or critiqued patriarchal models for literary, sexual, and gender behavior. The focus on her personal failures within normative femininity—disrupted marriage, illegitimate children, unauthorized unions—ensures her place within that framework. Using a naturalized heterosexist paradigm that informs the reading of culture and literary history, Haywood scholars inevitably participate in the creation of her as a “representative” of something and categorize her in suitably accessible terms. Thus, while multiple “Haywoods” emerge—domestic rebel, persevering female author, popular amatory writer, champion for the oppressed—they ultimately circumscribe rather than dilate understanding of her texts and life. We must read with greater subtlety, resist the comfortable characterizations, and recognize the complexity that de‹es facile classi‹cation. We must reconstruct, in early twenty-‹rst-century critical discourse, passions, relationships, and emotions that Haywood, in eighteenth-century ‹ctional discourse, could relate only in coded ways. By offering texts with same-sex attraction, authority, or resolutions, Haywood subverts what we retroactively identify as the bourgeois ideology that de‹ned the novel. Yet we might question the stability of that ideology at the time Haywood wrote and explore the degree to which the “bourgeois ideology” of the novel was a reaction to deviant views perpetuated by Haywood, not her own point of departure. Perhaps this “aberrational” or outlaw representation is part of the problem in assimilating Haywood’s work within the traditional history of the novel, or perhaps the traditional history of the novel has been intentionally written to exclude work like hers. Do her texts seem unreadable within the generic model of the novel because “lesbian desire transgresses the boundaries of stories that are imaginable in dominant ‹ction” (Wood-

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ward 842)? To what degree have the gender politics of literary history obscured its politics of sexuality? By erasing women writers like Haywood the now-besieged master narrative of the novel simultaneously obscures the alternate models of sexuality they contained. The assumption of a heterosexual model of female sexuality necessarily excludes lesbianism or other outlaw sexualities. Representations of sapphic relationships, coded or explicit, consistently remain in the margins of literary (or social) history unless used in the service of a culturally condoned male fantasy (à la Cleland’s Fanny Hill; or, Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure). They also detract from the “popular” or nonacademic construction of the novel, of whatever century, as the vehicle for the consummation of heterosexual romantic impulses. The outlaw readings Haywood’s texts allow have also affected the reaction of her critics and biographers. Her literary and personal reputations, with tellingly blurred boundaries between the two, have been characterized as scandalous, disreputable, transgressive. Male critics from Pope to Whicher have written Haywood’s life as a testament to female sexuality and exaggerated femininity. By locating sapphic desire in Haywood’s texts, however, we might further invigorate Haywood studies by acknowledging that she threatened to explode, not just interrogate, the dominant literary and, perhaps, “lived” practice. Indeed, the vitriol consistently directed toward her might indicate contemporaneous readers recognized something more complex in her work or even in her relatively public life, which, from early on, became fodder for textual representation. When Pope renders Haywood grotesquely maternal is he responding to only her alleged sexual relationships with men such as Richard Savage and William Hatchett or to something unarticulated (and inarticulable) in Haywood’s departure from a proscribed feminine role? Does the anger of her male contemporaries result not just from her literary success but from some other threatening representation in her work? Haywood’s life, by her own design, remains an unnarrated and unnarratable space. In Biographia Dramatica (1764), David Erskine Baker recounts that Haywood “laid a solemn injunction on a person, who was well acquainted with all the particulars of it, not to communicate to any one the least circumstances relating to her” (216). What if her life, like her ‹ction, was punctuated by all sorts of “outlaw” behavior that discursively and materially interrogated normative expectations? While I’m certainly not suggesting that Haywood was a lesbian, an obviously unknowable historical construction, I am suggesting that we reread the narrative of her life with the same newly critical eye with which we read her ‹ction. Both possess an ambiguity that accommodates a range of behaviors and identities. Only then can the practice of reading Haywood, like her practice of reading culture, allow for the work her ‹ction performed.

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notes 1. It remains important to ask of Haywood’s texts a question Susan Lanser poses about a twentieth-century text: “What if we are dealing . . . with ‘queer’ narratives that we have been duped into constructing as sexually conventional?” (Lanser, “Queering Narratology” 256) 2. These texts include, but are not limited to, Le Belle Assemblé, The British Recluse, The Rash Resolve, The Tea Table, The City Jilt, The History of Jemmy and Jenny Jessamy, and The History of Miss Betsy Thoughtless. 3. Scholarship (e.g., Haggarty, “‘Romantic Friendship’” and Unnatural Affections; Moore, Dangerous Intimacies) that treats “romantic friendship” in the eighteenth century typically dates its textual appearance to Millenium Hall (1762), focuses on the Ladies of Llangollen, or explores the lesbianism in Cleland’s 1749 Fanny Hill; or, Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure (a text in which the eroticism between women seems in service of male desire). Woodward discusses a text from 1744, The Travels and Adventures of Mademoiselle de Richelieu, but notes her surprise in ‹nding something that early in the century. Donoghue locates evidence of “female husbands” as early as 1708 in her discussion of legal records but focuses on later textual representations. King’s exciting work on Barker explores the narrative and cultural patterns earlier (1732) in the century, as does Susan Lanser’s wonderful essay on the “Sapphic Picaresque.” Other recent work such as Harriet Andreadis, Sappho in Early Modern England, Elizabeth Wahl, Invisible Relations: Female Intimacies in the Age of Enlightenment, and Valerie Traub, The Renaissance of Lesbianism in Early Modern England, also provides theoretically sophisticated approaches to the complexities of gender formation and same-sex relationships. 4. In making this claim, I don’t mean to vaguely lump together homosocial and homosexual impulses in women as Eve Sedgwick does in Between Men. Sedgwick observes that “the diacritical opposition between the ‘homosocial’ and the ‘homosexual’ seems to be much less thorough and dichotomous for women, in our society, than for men” (2). In reaction, Terry Castle argues that “by a disarming sleight of phrase, an entire category of women—lesbians—is lost to view” (71). A similar “sleight of phrase” is not my intention here, as this chapter illustrates; while the homosocial and homosexual are mutually reinforcing for Haywood, the latter is not and should not be subsumed by the former in her work. 5. The terminology that has been used to discuss women’s friendships has been, and remains, fraught, and the shifts in language are familiar to scholars in the ‹eld. “Romantic friendship,” which Lillian Faderman describes as “love relationships in every sense except perhaps genital” (16), has been commonly used in discussions of women’s same-sex unions. De‹ned as such, the term obscures the cultural resistance to women’s friendship; directs the focus primarily to gender; and, as Lisa Moore has observed, offers a “›attened notion of contested constructions of female sexuality” (“‘Something More Tender” 501). By focusing on emotional rather than sexual intimacy, it ignores women’s desire for women. While Haywood’s relationships certainly are “romantic friendships” in the intensity of their emotions, her ‹ction distinguishes between sexuality and gender and does not monolithically de‹ne women’s desires. Similarly, Carolyn Woodward

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has broadly de‹ned “lesbian” relations as “any desire for intimate connection between women” (845). Such a broadly inclusive continuum would seemingly encompass any form of women’s friendship—romantic, companionate, et cetera. The sapphic or lesbian relationships Haywood depicts are all what Sally O’Driscoll labels “outlaw”—a term that “encompasses any sexual practice that is a challenge to whatever a particular society has marked out as the preserve of the ‘normal’” (37). In her essay, O’Driscoll de‹nes the concept of “sexual transgression, without being con‹ned to any particular practice” (36). Outlaw reading is especially useful in Haywood studies because it categorizes lesbianism as one of many sexual practices that question “the naturalization of a speci‹c form of heterosexuality” (43). 6. Historically, the term sapphism suggested “unnatural” sexual relations between women, though the term emerged later in the eighteenth century. Obviously, I am also drawing on the literary tradition associated with Sappho because, as I elaborate further elsewhere, the interaction between the textual and the sexual was central for Haywood. Though Moore (Dangerous Intimacies) uses the term sapphic throughout her provocative study, she never adequately de‹nes that term or explores its extrasexual connotations. Instead, she uses it almost interchangeably with the term lesbian; while accurate (and something I do occasionally in this chapter), it can limit the resonance of that term. 7. While certainly this desire to learn more about de Roquelair is consistent with women’s friendships as discussed by Janet Todd in Women’s Friendship in Literature (1980), it’s important to remember that such friendship does not necessarily exclude the erotic. An early (male) reader of this chapter insisted that this example, like the others in this piece, had nothing to do with desire; instead, he asserted that “the issue rather is one of female friendship.” Obviously, perceiving those as mutually exclusive impulses ignores or misreads one of Haywood’s primary concerns. 8. As Lisa Moore notes in Dangerous Intimacies, often women’s sapphic desire is displaced to an Other marked by national, social, or racial difference (predominately the ‹rst). If we ‹nd Moore’s assertion credible, that might explain the Spanish location of The Rash Resolve (although The Tea Table is ‹rmly located in London). 9. This reaction is characteristic of many of Haywood’s male characters. For example, in The City Jilt Melladore asks “where is the Man who has one Month become a Husband, that can with truth aver he feels the same unabated Fondness for his Wife, as when her untasted Charms ‹rst won him to her Arms?” (76). 10. Castle effectively revises Sedgwick’s male-female-male con‹guration to represent the new female homosocial structure, which radically suppresses the possibility of male bonding. Not coincidentally, the Haywood texts with samesex relationships typically have only one major male character, precluding the male bonding Sedgwick theorizes as central to much canonical literature. Curiously, in her recon‹guration, Castle claims there are no eighteenth- or nineteenthcentury literary texts to which this model could be applied. She writes that female homosocial bonds “are inevitably shown giving way to the power of male homosocial triangulation” (73). While in Haywood those bonds are often not

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sustained, even when a woman commits to marriage, a man, or patriarchal structure, she is typically a woman shorn of relatives or other suitors, signi‹cantly precluding the male homosocial bond. 11. Elsewhere, I have explored in more depth the connection between female authorship and sapphic relationships in The Tea Table (“Fashioning Female Authorship”). works cited Andreadis, Harriet. Sappho in Early Modern England. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2001. Baker, David Erskine. Biographia Dramatica; or, A Companion to the Playhouse. 1764. Reprint, London, 1812. Behn, Aphra. Oroonoko, The Rover and Other Works. Ed. Janet Todd. New York: Penguin, 1992. Blouch, Christine. “Eliza Haywood and the Romance of Obscurity.” Studies in English Literature 31.3 (1991): 535–51. Castle, Terry. The Apparitional Lesbian: Female Homosexuality and Modern Culture. New York: Columbia University Press, 1993. Donoghue, Emma. Passions between Women: British Lesbian Culture, 1668–1801. New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 1995. Faderman, Lillian. Surpassing the Love of Men: Romantic Friendship and Love between Women from the Renaissance to the Present. New York: William Morrow and Company, 1981. Gallagher, Catherine. Nobody’s Story: The Vanishing Acts of Women Writers in the Marketplace, 1670–1820. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1994. Haggerty, George E. “‘Romantic Friendship’ and Patriarchal Narrative in Sarah Scott’s Millenium Hall.” Genders 13 (1992): 108–22. ———. Unnatural Affections: Women and Fiction in the Later Eighteenth Century. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1998. Haywood, Eliza. The British Recluse; or, The Secret History of Cleomira, Suppos’d Dead. 1722. In Popular Fiction by Women, 1660–1730: An Anthology, 154–224, ed Paula R. Backscheider and John J. Richetti. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996. ———. The City Jilt; or, the Alderman Turn’d Beau. 1726. Ed. Earla A. Wilputte. East Lansing, Mich.: Colleague Press, 1995. ———. The History of Jemmy and Jenny Jessamy. London, 1753. ———. The History of Miss Betsy Thoughtless. 1751. Ed. Beth Fowkes Tobin. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1997. ———. La Belle Assemblée: or, The Adventures of Six Days. London, 1724. ———. The Rash Resolve; or, The Untimely Discovery. London, 1724. ———. The Tea-Table; or, A Conversation between Some Polite Persons of both Sexes, at a Lady’s Visiting Day. Part One. London, 1725. ———. The Tea-Table; or, A Conversation between Some Polite Persons of both Sexes, at a Lady’s Visiting Day, Part the Second. London, 1726. Holstun, James. “‘Will You Rent Our Ancient Love Asunder?’ Lesbian Elegy in Donne, Marvell, and Milton.” ELH 54.4 (1987): 835–67.

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Ingrassia, Catherine. “Fashioning Female Authorship in Eliza Haywood’s The Tea Table.” The Journal of Narrative Technique 28.3 (1998): 287–304. King, Kathryn. “The Unaccountable Wife and Other Tales of Female Desire in Jane Barker’s A Patch-work Screen for the Ladies.” Eighteenth Century: Theory and Interpretation 35 (1994): 155–72. Lanser, Susan S. “Queering Narratology.” In Ambiguous Discourse: Feminist Narratology and British Women Writers, ed. Kathy Mezei, 250–61. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1996. ———. “Sapphic Picaresque: Sexual Difference and the Challenges of Homoadventuring.” Textual Practice 15(2) (2001): 251–68. Manley, Delarivier. The New Atalantis. Ed. Rosalind Ballaster. New York: Penguin, 1992. Moore, Lisa L. Dangerous Intimacies: Toward a Sapphic History of the British Novel. Durham and London: Duke University Press, 1997. ———. “‘She Was Too Fond of Her Mistaken Bargain’: The Scandalous Relations of Gender and Sexuality in Feminist Theory.” diacritics 21 (1991): 89–101. ———. “‘Something More Tender Still Than Friendship’: Romantic Friendship in Early Nineteenth-Century England.” Feminist Studies 18.3 (1992): 499–520. O’Driscoll, Sally. “Outlaw Readings: Beyond Queer Theory.” Signs 22 (autumn 1996): 30–51. Sedgwick, Eve Kosofsky. Between Men: English Literature and Male Homosocial Desire. New York: Columbia University Press, 1985. Smith-Rosenberg, Carroll. “The Female World of Love and Ritual: Relations between Women in Nineteenth-Century America.” In The Signs Reader: Women, Gender, and Scholarship, 27–55, ed. Elizabeth Abel and Emily K. Abel. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1983. Straub, Kristina. Sexual Suspects: Eighteenth-Century Players and Sexual Ideology. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1992. Todd, Janet. Women’s Friendship in Literature. New York: Columbia University Press, 1980. Traub, Valerie. “The (In)Signi‹cance of ‘Lesbian’ Desire in Early Modern England.” In Queering the Renaissance, 62–83, ed. Jonathan Goldberg. Durham and London: Duke University Press, 1994. ———. The Renaissance of Lesbianism in Early Modern England. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001. Vincus, Martha. “‘They Wonder to Which Sex I Belong’: The Historical Roots of the Modern Lesbian Identity.” In The Lesbian and Gay Studies Reader, 432–52, ed. Henry Abelove, Michele Aina Barale, and David M. Halperin. New York and London: Routledge, 1993. Wahl, Elizabeth. Invisible Relations: Female Intimacies in the Age of Enlightenment. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1999. Woodward, Carolyn. “‘My Heart So Wrapt’: Lesbian Disruptions in EighteenthCentury British Fiction.” Signs 18 (summer 1993): 838–62.

“A-Killing Their Children With Safety” maternal identity and transgression in swift and defoe

Marilyn Francus

M aternal transgression” may sound like an anomaly in the British eighteenth century, particularly in light of the current characterization of the period as one of increasing domestic bliss that witnessed “the rise of domesticity,” “the rise of the egalitarian family,” and the birth of the “New Child.”1 Yet literary representations of maternity in the period complicate this vision, so much so that even in canonical authors the adherence to traditional familial codes comes at a considerable cost. There are numerous examples of biological mothers in eighteenth-century British literature, but they are usually criticized because they fail to ful‹ll the patriarchal standards of maternal nurturance and subservience; one thinks of the misguided mothers in Richardson’s Clarissa, Goldsmith’s The Vicar of Wake‹eld, and Austen’s novels as ready examples. Furthermore, the prevalence of dead, dying, and displaced mothers, as in Burney’s Evelina, Radcliffe’s Mysteries of Udolpho, and Fielding’s Tom Jones, suggests that maternity is socially marginalized, to the point where the best mother may be a dead one. My argument relies on the notion that the traditional maternal narrative is largely a patriarchal ‹ction, designed at once to sustain the population and ensure the lines of inheritance, while fostering an agenda of maternal erasure that severely limits female power. The traditional narrative insists upon the containment of maternal sexual desire and will, which unchecked could destroy the existing social order through the production of adulterous and illegitimate offspring. Accordingly, women who produce legitimate children are valorized, for they symbolize a female fertility that has been appropriated by a male system of value; women who produce adulterous or illegitimate children—like Moll Flanders, Roxana, and Swift’s “breeders”—are stigmatized as lusty, headstrong, unnatural, and monstrous.2 While fertility in the hands of women is an ongoing cause of alarm, nurturance stimulates anxiety immediately upon childbirth, for it taps 258

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into primal fears of rejection and death as mothers are able to withhold comfort, care, and food.3 The traditional narrative mediates this fear by insisting that sublimation of the maternal personality is the primary prerequisite to childcare. As the nurturing mother undergoes psychic erasure, her status leads to a paradox: for a mother to be acknowledged and represented as a character, she must violate the very de‹nition of motherhood by manifesting some agency, desire, or will. It is not surprising that texts articulating maternal desire and need invariably devolve into tales of transgressive motherhood, in which mothers struggle to achieve autonomy and create their own identities.4 I have chosen to focus on motherhood in Swift and Defoe for a number of reasons. Both authors construct maternity as an arena of agency, and Swift, and especially Defoe, feature mothers as protagonists in their works. This is not to say that supporting characters such as Mrs. Harlowe, Mrs. Primrose, or Mrs. Bennet would not be suitable for such a study, for their failures also call into question the construction of maternity. Yet their respective texts do not provide as much information regarding the perception or experience of maternal behaviors as Moll Flanders, Roxana, and A Modest Proposal do, and their comparative marginality suggests that Richardson, Goldsmith, and Austen are less interested in their maternal characters than in their literary function, which is to frame the activities of their children. Neither Swift nor Defoe is content with an analysis of commonplace maternal failure, but rather, both authors turn to the most unsanctioned maternal behaviors—child abandonment and infanticide—to interrogate the traditional maternal narrative, its psychological assumptions and socioeconomic underpinnings. The very extremism of child abandonment and infanticide highlights the issues that prey upon the patriarchal imperative: that reproductive biology does not necessitate a nurturing maternal psychology; that mothers can refuse self-erasure and manifest agency; and that maternal instinct is overcome by poverty and the need for self-preservation. Of course, such tales of abandoning and infanticidal mothers can be said to buttress the status of the traditional maternal model, insofar as they are used to demonize alternative maternal narratives. Yet while Swift’s and Defoe’s texts do not condone the behaviors they describe, the mere presence of their narratives reveals an identity politics whose very existence the patriarchal ‹ction dismisses. As a result, transgression in Swift, and more dramatically in Defoe, points to women grappling with maternity and identity, as mothers try to take over the authorship of their lives and wrest female identity and narrative away from the patriarchal tradition. The historical causes of abandonment and infanticide—poverty, ostracism, psychic distress—recur in the literary representations of

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maternal transgression, both as plot elements and as sites of authorial commentary.5 Swift’s nameless Irish breeders in A Modest Proposal serve as the transitional model between the purely allegorical vision of monstrous reproduction in Swift’s Battle of the Books and Pope’s Dunciad and the horri‹c realities of excessive fertility that are depicted in the eighteenth-century novel.6 Already burdened with three, four, or six children, Swift’s Irish mothers, “instead of being able to work for their honest Livelyhood, are forced to employ all their Time in stroling to beg Sustenance for their helpless Infants,” as they heroically, if somewhat pathetically, hold their families together in the face of economic privation.7 For the economically minded Proposer, these fertile women are perpetuating monstrosity upon the family and the public—the monstrosity of producing commodities that require capital without producing revenue and the sin of producing commodities without value.8 Self-indulgent mismanagement has seemingly led to the failure to economize maternal sexual energies, and as a result, these mothers are construed as being too willful and autonomous for society’s (or their own) good. One would think that the presence of an inconvenient child—much less children—would subvert the maternal will, for a child de‹nes a woman as a mother even when she does not want to be so characterized. But these Irish mothers are struggling to be mothers, as even the Proposer recognizes. What the Proposer does not understand is how or why that struggle is undertaken, for he sees the maternal psyche as opaque and irrelevant—and therefore able to undertake infanticide. As the Proposer commodi‹es fertility in order to contain it, he crudely enacts the traditional patriarchal agenda of female disempowerment. It is the patriarchal framing of maternity that is monstrous here, not maternity itself; while the Proposer thinks he is eliminating transgressive maternal fertility by regulating it, in fact he is propagating and valorizing homicidal transgressions of his own. As the text enumerates the ‹nancial bene‹ts of culinary infanticide (MP 111–12), the Proposer’s lucrative economic plan comes not only at the expense of the children but, as suggested earlier, at the expense of the maternal character. Even though Irish mothers have been de‹ned by their fertility from the beginning of the Proposal, the plan completely forecloses the possibility of maternal identity; mothers become real only insofar as they are corporeal. Thus maternal erasure is once again presented as the preferred response to what appears to be maternal agency. The Proposer repeatedly privileges the biological narrative of maternity over its psychological counterpart, robbing mothers of their humanity as he claims to save their lives. It is then but the slightest of rhetorical turns that changes women into livestock and a baby into a calf “just dropt from its Dam” (MP 110). This collapse of the maternal character is underscored further by the lack of human interaction in A Modest Pro-

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posal. The parent-child relationship is alienated when it is only perceived in economic terms; ‹lial attachment is impossible when one’s progeny is de‹ned alternately as a cash drain or a cash cow. Nor is there truly a parental community here, for fathers are largely absent from the parenting process. Early on the Proposer takes passing note of fathers surrounded by groups of clinging children (MP 109), but their primary roles are those of stud and pro‹teer, as the Proposer envisions one man for every four women and anticipates that men “would become as fond of their Wives, during the Time of Pregnancy, as they are now of their Mares in Foal, their Cows in Calf, or Sows when they are in farrow; nor offer to beat or kick them, (as it is too frequent a Practice) for fear of a Miscarriage” (MP 115). Finally, there is no female community—in fact, the Proposer precludes the possibility of female community as he assumes that women will vie “to bring the fattest Child to Market,” as capitalism supplants human interest (MP 115). One can certainly argue that Swift’s satire in A Modest Proposal is aimed at proposers, Irish consumers, and British economic policy rather than at fertile mothers. Nevertheless, the dire situation of these mothers is pivotal, for it provides the impetus for the Proposal and the plan itself. Swift needs the image of the impoverished, overburdened mother in order to evoke pity for the Irish poor and to elicit contempt for the forces that keep the Irish in such conditions—for without such readerly responses, Swift’s call to activism is doomed to fail. As a result, the traditional de‹nition of maternity is at risk here, as the structure of the satire relies on—and undermines—the patriarchal imperative to construct motherhood. The Proposer, like the society he intends to correct, disenfranchises mothers even as he claims to be helping them. Yet curiously, Swift does not use his characteristic silent rhetoric to signal a preferred motherhood; if anything, the text seems to retreat to traditional representations of maternal silence and containment. The Irish mothers have no voice in their situation, nor are they given a choice in its resolution. While there are signs of the struggle to achieve and maintain a maternal identity—as the mothers grapple with single parenthood, with physically abusive husbands, and so on—the agents that encroach upon motherhood are documented more painstakingly than motherhood itself. The decentering of the mother, even in the midst of a matricentric narrative, suggests that mothers are still subject to the patriarchal narrative of maternal erasure, even as Swift’s text calls that narrative into question. If the Proposer had been female, perhaps the outcome would have been different. i. sexual economics and female agency The voiceless, choiceless mothers in Swift’s text point to the problems of the working-class mother that are played out in detail in Defoe’s Moll

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Flanders and Roxana. Like Swift’s mothers, Moll and Roxana are forced to confront their sexual agency under circumstances of economic distress, and like Swift’s breeders, they are presented with the option of using sex as a tool for economic empowerment. Yet unlike the mothers in A Modest Proposal, who are criticized by the Proposer (and to some degree by Swift) for lacking a sense of ‹scal and sexual responsibility, Roxana and Moll are all too aware of sexual economics. When Moll and Roxana are confronted by the specter of monstrous maternity that faces Swift’s mothers, Moll and Roxana consciously choose abandonment and infanticide; the assertion of sexual agency is central to their quests for autonomy and power, and it leads to the generation and abuse of their children. As female sexual activity is linked with self-preservation, moral depravity, and ultimately crime, the violation of the domesticated realm of maternity is inevitable.9 Moll and Roxana transgress the expectations of female narrative by their renunciation of traditional motherhood, and in the process, they subvert all the stereotypes of adult female sexuality. This may seem obvious given their notorious careers as mistresses, yet just as Moll and Roxana do not ‹t into the stereotype of sexually pure womanhood, so too they fail to ‹t the role of lusty, sexually predatory female. In other words, while monstrous sexuality can be a component of monstrous maternity, in these cases it is not. Moll and Roxana are not bound by their sexual desires any more than they are bound by their maternity, for while they are sexually active, they are not sexually driven. Rather, because Moll’s and Roxana’s sexual experiences are primarily associated with money, the early commodi‹cation of sex depersonalizes it—which allows them to objectify sex as a ‹nancial necessity, ironically echoing the strategy of the Modest Proposer. When they have extended liaisons with men, Moll’s and Roxana’s perceptions of those relationships do not center on sex, their partners, or their children. Rather, they focus on the money they acquire (and on how much they manage to save), on the gifts that they receive, where they travel, and what kind of image they present.10 Money provides Moll and Roxana with options (and possibilities for transgressing social conventions), since money functions as a legitimating factor for human activity—or at least a factor that allows one to clean up and pay for damages afterward. Consequently, Moll and Roxana are always taking stock of their assets and developing plans to protect their investments. Despite Moll’s refrain that a woman needs friends to make it in the world (MF 128), the few times that she feels really secure are when she has money. When they enter marriages, both Moll and Roxana ensure that they have suf‹cient ‹nancial independence so as to sustain their authority, either through direct negotiation (as in Roxana’s case) or through deception (Moll’s hidden caches of cash)

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(R 144–47, 240–44, 255–60; MF 150, 311). In essence, money is central to the autonomy of Moll and Roxana because it is manageable and empowering in ways that people are not—for money retains its value regardless of its means of acquisition or history, and it does not place demands on them that people, especially families, do.11 Moll’s ‹rst sexual experience, with the elder brother, establishes the connection between sex and money, as he pours crowns into her lap after their amorous encounters. Moll does not perceive the money as payment so much as she sees it as an aphrodisiac (MF 23, 25, cf. 111–12). She fails to realize that the elder brother is constructing her as a whore because Moll perceives sex as socially binding, so that sleeping with the elder brother makes her married to him, at least in her eyes (MF 37, 39).12 But after her failed liaison with the elder brother, sex is deromanticized for Moll, so that in subsequent relationships, it is not the sex that holds her to men so much as it is the ‹nancial security they can offer. This is not to say that Moll does not enjoy sex (because she does), but rather that sexual enjoyment is not the determining factor in her actions. If anything, her sexual morality complicates her life, for even though morality does not limit, it often reinscribes her sexual activity, as in her marriages to Robin and her half brother (MF 59, 88–104). Roxana is not burdened with Moll’s incestuous sexual dilemmas, yet she arrives at a similar sexual politics. Whereas Moll is seduced as a young servant girl, playing out a narrative of social and sexual predation that was already something of a cliché (which would eventually be rewritten by Richardson in Pamela), Roxana is of middle-class stock. She is confronted by her sexual agency when she is abandoned by her husband the brewer and left with ‹ve young children—and without suf‹cient income or help to support them (R 14–15). After the children are unceremoniously deposited on the doorstep of a relative, Roxana’s landlord, the jeweler, approaches her suddenly proffering assistance, and her servant Amy reads the situation for what it is: sex in exchange for food and survival (R 18, 27–29). As horri‹ed as Roxana is by the prospect of whoredom (however genteelly packaged), the alternatives of starvation and death are even more horrifying, so she succumbs, like Moll, to the lure of money as it is coupled with sex. Although Roxana makes the choice to commodify herself, she does not revel in the rami‹cations of her decision. Unlike Moll, she is all too conscious of the price of her ‹nancial freedom and all too riddled with guilt. Roxana never discusses sex with the zest or bawdiness that characterize Moll’s discourse. Rather, Roxana perceives sex as a means of manipulation, and she envisions herself as a sexual subject, acquiring power by satisfying others’ sexual needs. The exceptional episode in this regard is Roxana’s prostitution of Amy, as she forces Amy into bed with

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the jeweler and watches them have intercourse (R 46–48).13 Roxana ‹nds this voyeurism sexually titillating, but she does not recognize fully the implications of her pimping: she does not acknowledge that she needs to “lower” Amy by making Amy a whore, or that the interchangeability of his sexual partners allows her to denigrate the jeweler, or that she ‹nds it gratifying that the jeweler prefers her over Amy. Instead, she reviles herself for having denigrated Amy, as her conservative inclinations read her foray into sexual manipulation as a further justi‹cation for self-loathing. The jeweler sets the pattern for Roxana’s career as a mistress, for she does not seek her liaisons so much as they ‹nd her, and once again, it is ‹nancial pro‹t rather than sexual pleasure that maintains these relationships. Accordingly, when Roxana is wealthy and she becomes disgusted with her last aristocratic lover, she lets the affair die out, for neither the sex nor the money sustains her interest (R 200–202). Similarly, after a certain point in her career, Moll does not seek sexual liaisons either; when one presents itself, she takes advantage of it, but she is not starving for sex (MF 225–26, 237–38). Rather, Moll can live contentedly in Bath for two years with a married man in a celibate relationship, and when Moll lures this benefactor into bed one drunken night, more out of curiosity than anything else, she regrets it immediately (MF 115–16). Thus the sexual histories of Moll and Roxana illustrate the distinction between the whore by inclination and the whore by necessity. The nymphomaniacal actions of the whore by inclination are unspeakable, as are those of Moll’s banker’s wife (MF 135), and the stereotype of female lust that attaches to her does not ‹t either Moll or Roxana, for neither one will be someone else’s whore if they do not have to. Yet sexual selfregulation itself may be considered culturally deviant in this period, for if these women do not have (and do not need) marriage in order to regulate their sexual impulses, then they can circumvent the standard social controls of female sexuality. Both women participate in domestic partnerships for stretches of time, and they can appreciate the security that this conventional arrangement provides—Moll even claims at one point that all she wanted to be was the wife of the married man in Bath (MF 118). However, Moll and Roxana are neither more nor less sexually satis‹ed by domesticity and marriage than other arrangements. More often than not, Moll and Roxana are stymied in the traditional domestic narrative by factors beyond their control—abandonment by husbands and lovers, repentant partners, the reappearance of wives, the inconvenience of children. By being forced to confront paths other than that of domesticity, they adopt the sexual freedom usually reserved for the male, as they have sex without feeling burdened by the consequences of their activities. Thus Moll and Roxana even transgress the expectations of transgression by refusing to fall into the stereotype of the “bad” woman. It is not surpris-

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ing then that their sexual agency leads to a multivalent monstrous maternity that also resists settling into the limitations of a type. ii. fertility and the monstrous mother The children that result from these various marriages and liaisons are perceived as perpetually diminishing, if not disabling, the power of their mothers, for their demands threaten maternal social and economic viability. Unfortunately for Moll and Roxana, they are very fertile, like their Irish counterparts. In her account (which may not be complete—one gets the sense that there are liaisons that Moll does not discuss or forgets to mention), Moll goes through twelve births, and she notes speci‹cally that four of these children die in infancy or childhood, leaving eight surviving children.14 Moll ‹nds childbearing easy, and when she is under Mother Midnight’s care, Moll remarks that she came through the labor with ›ying colors—and as usual she delivered another ‹ne boy (thereby justifying her own fertility through the production of socially preferred males) (MF 171, cf. 118). Similarly, Roxana becomes pregnant eleven times and has seven surviving children.15 The care of these children remains the perpetual issue for Moll and Roxana during their reproductive years, as it was for Swift’s mothers.16 While Moll and Roxana debate about what level of tendance, if any, they can accommodate while they sustain their socioeconomic independence, Moll and Roxana recognize that they are empowered by the displacement of child care, if not outright child abandonment. As the desertion of their children is validated repeatedly by their continuous acquisition of wealth, Moll and Roxana are able to engage in, and camou›age, their monstrous maternity with ease.17 The children themselves are largely irrelevant in the process of maternal decision making. Like the children of the Irish “breeders,” Moll’s and Roxana’s children are ciphers, especially during their childhood years; they are born and generally dispensed with, and dispensable. That children are expendable (and even fungible, as in the Book of Job) is not unusual in Western literature and, some scholars have argued, in Western culture.18 Moll and Roxana do evince qualms about sacri‹cing their children—most notably in Moll’s abandonment of Jemy’s child and Roxana’s abandonment of her legitimate children—as Roxana envisions “a hundred terrible things came into my Thoughts; viz. of Parish-Children being Starv’d at Nurse; of their being ruin’d, let grow crooked, lam’d, and the like, for want of being taken care of; and this sunk my very Heart within me” (R 19). Similarly, Moll remarks that “it touch’d my Heart so forcibly to think of Parting entirely with the Child, and for ought I knew, of having it murther’d, or starv’d by Neglect and Ill-Usage, (which was much the same) that I could not think of it, without Horror” (MF 173).19 Yet these anxious responses ultimately do not sustain maternal affec-

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tion, as Moll and Roxana choose abandonment rather than committing themselves to struggle even with their most beloved children (MF 173–77, cf. 168; R 15–25). This choice is partly rationalized by Moll and Roxana since they refuse to in›ict any physical harm on their children; Moll turns down Mother Midnight’s offer to help her abort Jemy’s child, and Roxana lashes out at Amy for her offer to kill Susan (MF 168–69; R 270–71, 273, 313). While it is better to abandon one’s children than to commit murder, the justi‹cation for abandonment does not hold, for as Moll bluntly states, abandonment is “only a contriv’d Method for Murther; that is to say, a killing their Children with safety” (MF 173). Occasionally Moll and Roxana are able to leave their children in good hands, but neither is concerned about the psychological damage to their children that their departures cause. After Robin dies, Moll remarks, “MY two Children were indeed taken happily off of my Hands, by my Husband’s Father and Mother, and that by the way was all they got by Mrs. Betty” (MF 59); when Roxana’s affair with the prince is over, he attends to the needs of their sons, as she blithely comments, “Now I was at Liberty to go to any Part of the World, and take Care of my Money myself “ (R 111). The fathers of these children are often unavailable or unwilling to alter the maternal decision of abandonment. One gets the sense that the men in Moll Flanders’s life do not know much about their children, and while some of the men in Roxana’s life take responsibility for their children (notably the prince, and belatedly the Dutch merchant), the brewer sets the tone for negligent paternalism throughout the novel.20 As a result, Moll and Roxana can dispose of the children of each liaison before entering a new relationship, and in so doing, they complicate the moral politics of abandonment. Not only do these novels suggest that women who have illegitimate children have all the fun, but they also suggest alternate societies in which personal illegitimacy can exist uncensured and even ›ourish, as in the case of Moll herself. Neither Moll nor Roxana is stigmatized because of their sexual behaviors (at least not in the company they keep) or for the abandonment of their children, largely because such information remains in their control. It is true that as adults the progeny of Moll and Roxana are granted a level of autonomy, but even then it is only at a distance, and only on maternal terms. Humphry and Susan are useful, even prey to sentimentalization in the minds of their respective mothers, as long as they do not impinge on their mothers’ plans or lives. Humphry suitably plays his part and even provides the ‹nancial wherewithal to advance Moll’s career as a landowner (MF 336–38). Even more importantly, Humphry does not insist that Moll live with him, thereby allowing his mother to glean the monetary bene‹ts from her past (her son’s wealth, his care of her estate in her absence) and avoid the social and psychological liabilities of her

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incest. Humphry does elicit self-conscious maternal behavior from Moll, as she kisses the ground he has walked on (MF 322), but their relationship is essentially an extended business transaction. And as the only revenueproducing child, Humphry’s position is unique among Moll’s progeny; as Moll refers to Humphry as her “one, and only Child” (MF 333), she expresses no maternal sentiment or even curiosity about the fate of her other, non-revenue-producing children. Fittingly, Moll makes Humphry her heir, as her maternal inclinations, like Roxana’s, can only be translated into monetary terms. Similarly, Roxana appreciates her children most when they are far away. She is proud of her ability to provide for them, as she sets up her sons in business and enables her daughters to live like gentlewomen, but her pride is mitigated by the source of her income (R 192, 198, 203–4, 263). Roxana at once wants her children to bene‹t from her experience and to be ignorant that they are doing so. As Susan challenges the parental distance that Roxana has established, she unwittingly elicits all of Roxana’s anxieties about her inadequacies as a mother and forces Roxana to face the paradox of her monstrous maternity (R 268ff.).21 If her children knew of her actions and loved her, Roxana would not respect them—yet if they reviled her, she would be forced to revile herself. Ironically, it is Roxana’s belief in the verity of the social standards that she has transgressed that makes her irretrievably conventional and her novel more of a morality tale of maternity gone astray than Moll Flanders. iii. monstrous mothering The experience of choosing between their children and their own needs marks Moll and especially Roxana—so much so that they keep on reenacting the psychology of that choice, even when they no longer have to. Their assertion of maternal autonomy is made possible largely through the absence of a reproduction of mothering.22 Similarly, the Proposer posits that the fertile Irish mothers, like Moll and Roxana, establish boundaries between themselves and the children that they bear—and virtually all the people they encounter for that matter. That these mothers are able to do so is partly a re›ection of the economic imperatives for survival, as well as their own personal history (and Swift’s seemingly historyless breeders, Moll’s absent mother, and Roxana’s largely marginalized one are telling in this regard). Moll’s kindly nurse, who functions as a maternal surrogate to the young Moll, is apparently the exception to the rule. Yet while she keeps Moll on longer than the other parish children in her care, she does so only because Moll is useful and pro‹table and attracts attention from local gentry (MF 10–16). Thus without experiencing the bene‹ts of self-denying maternal love (as traditionally de‹ned),

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women cannot imitate those sympathetic, empathetic behaviors. And, without suf‹cient wealth, Moll, Roxana, and the Irish breeders cannot afford (in all senses) to mother. In straightened circumstances, the primacy of self is necessary to endure; moreover, it is irrational to expect women who have been trained in self-interest and hardship to suddenly abandon the psychology of the self upon the birth of a child. The notion that mothers are animated by an irresistible maternal instinct, while compelling to the patriarchy, was mere ‹ction to the women who were subject to it.23 As Moll and Roxana distance themselves from society’s demands by abandoning and/or killing their children, they also express their desire to be mothered. This inversion de‹es social categorization, as women simultaneously sustain two seemingly incompatible positions: that of biological mother and that of psychological child. As Dinnerstein suggests, people want the security of being mothered without the boundaries that maternity can impose on being a child.24 Yet the maternal transgression in these works is less a reversion to childhood or infantilization than it is a means to gain attention and to realize their personal desires. None of these women is looking for the lost mother of their youth or trying to compensate for the perceived inadequacies of their mothers. (Curiously, when Moll accidentally ‹nds her biological mother, they function more as peers than as a mother-daughter pair, with Moll often taking the lead by mothering her mother [MF 85–99].)25 Nevertheless, the desire for psychological mothering is alluring, and even the Proposer uses it when he claims that the “breeders” will be better tended to, if not mothered, by their husbands and society, once they become producers of capital. As for Moll and Roxana, the presence of nurturing, enabling women allows them to dominate new subversive social orders of their own creation. Mother Midnight and Amy (both aptly named—the “mother” of the darkest hour, and the “friend,” the “ami”) displace the traditional reproduction of mothering as they provide empathy and support for their respective charges.26 They also teach Moll and Roxana how to gratify their desires by preying upon the social system—through theft, prostitution, blackmail, and eventually murder. This is not to say that Moll and Roxana are devoid of felonious inclinations on their own, for they do initiate a number of crimes that ‹ttingly involve harassing mothers and children—Moll steals jewelry and watches from unattended children and pregnant women, while Roxana plays upon the poverty of the Quakeress with the four children, even as she identi‹es with her plight (MF 194–95, 201–2, 257–59, cf. 205–6; R 212–13). But it is Mother Midnight who knows how to dispose of unwanted children, to fence stolen goods, to take advantage of a ‹re, and to ‹nd someone to teach Moll how to shoplift (MF 197–98, 200–201, 204). And it is Amy who knows how to get

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rid of Roxana’s children, to ‹nd the Dutch merchant, to locate Roxana’s children and set up trust funds for them, and to act as the whore for Roxana (R 18, 230–32, 216–18, 188–98, 46–48).27 In a sense, it is Mother Midnight and Amy who are the “true” monstrous mothers in these novels, for as surrogate parents (itself constructed as an unnatural maternity in this period), they propagate monstrous behaviors through their “children.” Moll and Mother Midnight partly articulate this monstrosity through their appropriation of maternal rhetoric; Moll is initially called “child” in the colloquial sense, in reference to her age and relative inexperience, but later the term “child,” like the title of “Mother Midnight,” gains more than idiomatic signi‹cance as their unusual relationship develops.28 Even in narrative terms, both Mother Midnight and Amy behave like monstrous mothers, for they undergo the threat of maternal erasure, but they never fully fade away as traditional mothers should. As Moll admits that Mother Midnight’s history, although not fully told, is a tale to rival her own, so too Amy’s story, although subordinate to Roxana’s, menaces Roxana even when Amy is gone (MF 213, cf. her response to Jemy’s history, 300–301; R 323–29). The initial relationships of Moll and Mother Midnight, and Roxana and Amy, are unbounded and mimic the psychological blurring that marks the traditional mother-child dyad. Yet as these relationships progress, they evolve from maternal pedagogy to symbiosis; in the case of Roxana and Amy, that symbiosis crosses class boundaries as well as ‹lial ones.29 At their most successful, Moll and Roxana procure cash through their respective trades, while Mother Midnight and Amy look for opportunities, invest wisely, and clean up any unexpected messes. As the exchange of talents becomes regularized, the mothering aspects of Mother Midnight and Amy diminish, and Moll and Roxana learn to articulate and satisfy their needs on their own. Generally Moll is more independent of Mother Midnight than Roxana is of Amy, for Roxana is committed to her alternate world with Amy, while Moll can ›oat in and out of a series of alterities and roles. Yet in both cases, the symbiosis eventually breaks down completely, as Moll and Roxana effectively “outgrow” the female communities that they have established. Mother Midnight undergoes illness and repentance, while Amy reads Roxana’s murderous desire but misreads her intent regarding her daughter Susan— and the women who seemingly understood and served them so well lose touch with Moll and Roxana (MF 286, 293–94; R 323). Once again, the requisite subordination of the maternal will to the will of the child does not occur, as Moll, and especially Roxana, feel the effects of being mothered monstrously. When Amy and Mother Midnight no longer serve their purposes, Moll and Roxana stand alone—whether hardily selfreliant or less securely so.

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It is telling that even within this system of unbounded female-female relationships, there is no replication of, or extension of, nurturing beyond the pairs of women: boundaries are once again reestablished. Moll and Roxana have no desire to be mothered and to be mothers at the same time; if anything, their children are obstacles to the female relationships that enable them to satisfy their desires. (Moll’s case is ironic in this regard, since it is her unwanted pregnancy that leads her to Mother Midnight in the ‹rst place.) Nor do Moll or Roxana take on protégées to teach the tricks of the trade after their nurturing relations with Mother Midnight and Amy have concluded. Moll happily retreats to a monogamous marriage (which she comically subverts by keeping her Lancastershire husband largely ignorant of her family, their marital ‹nances, and her plans), while Roxana, whose Dutch husband is also in the dark regarding her affairs, seemingly heads toward a nervous breakdown (MF 326–29, 341; R 264–65, 324–30). As subversive female society fails to nurture itself through the perpetuation of a new generation, so too Moll and Roxana remain unnatural and anomalous—this time, by failing to become mothers who nurture monstrously. Ironically, the failure of monstrous maternity to reproduce itself safeguards the status quo, as these female societies are kept perpetually at the margins. iv. the chaos of the monstrous mother Defoe articulates the entrenched social agenda by leaving the monstrous mother only two options after the failure of her female community, conformity or madness—and Moll, who has taken the more traditional route by relishing the roles of wife and mother (however unconventionally she does so), is rewarded in ways that Roxana is not. Yet this choice forecloses the option of self-interest that seemingly de‹ned transgressive maternity in the ‹rst place. One would anticipate not only that both Moll and Roxana would seek absolute autonomy but that their characters would require them to do so. Instead, Defoe (and Swift for that matter) separate the autonomy of the monstrous mother from her identity, so that the agency of the deviant mother is one source of her monstrosity, while her character is another. The identity of the transgressive mother is a source of monstrosity because it is not unitary, for the transgressive mother takes the traditional erasure of the maternal psyche and turns it into an opportunity for masquerade, for a multiplicity of identities to be assumed and discarded at will.30 Consequently, Moll’s and Roxana’s explorations of identity can be read as tacit acknowledgments that a female is not limited to being a mother. Arguably their masks could also be construed as compensatory measures, for if there really is no identity other than maternity for women, then Moll and Roxana are perpetually decentered and displaced,

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working on constructing identities that are bound to fail. In either case, the resultant chaos of female identity undermines the hierarchical grid of society by which men measure themselves and replaces it with a female ›uidity that de‹es boundaries. What makes this particularly insidious for the patriarchy is that monstrous mothers set boundaries on their relationships with others, but they do not set boundaries on themselves. Thus the chaos of the mother (or rather, the mother who refuses to mother) lies not only in her refusal to replicate predictably the patriarchal imperative but in the fact that her multivalent identity injects unpredictability into all of her social interactions. The allegorical monstrous mothers of the period—like Swift’s Criticism and Pope’s Dulness—generate chaos through their progeny and their fertility, but their identities are limited to their allegorization. Conversely, the “real” monstrous mother may be generating chaos in spite of her fertility; she is more dangerous to society precisely because there are no parameters (literary, social, or sexual) to her personality(ies). Thus the transgressive mother of realist ‹ction is a chameleon, an independent “Man-Woman,” as Roxana enthusiastically puts it (R 171), who lacks a stable identity as a mother, a lover, a wife, or a professional. Accordingly, the namelessness of the Irish mothers in A Modest Proposal suggests both an attempt by Swift to manage these mothers by reasserting their psychic erasure and the Odyssean possibilities of anonymity—like the classical trickster, they are “no one” and “everyone” at once. Defoe’s mothers, embedded in a realistic fiction, embody the multiplicity that Swift’s Irish mothers imply, as both Moll and Roxana metamorphose repeatedly throughout their novels. The title pages of their respective “histories” reveal their mercurial natures: Moll’s careers as a whore, a thief, a wife, a participant in an incestuous relationship, and a penitent are all listed on the cover, while Roxana’s title page notes that this is “a History of the Life and Vast Variety of Fortunes of Mademoiselle de Beleau, afterwards called the Countess of Wintelsheim, in Germany Being the Person known by the Name of the Lady Roxana in the time of Charles II.” Neither Moll nor Roxana tells us her true name (shades of Rumpelstiltskin here), and both are named by others after their most notorious careers.31 Indeed, even the unifying in›uence of a single name proves to be a surface ‹ction. As a thief, Moll dresses alternately as a beggar, a widow, an upper-class matron, and, most tellingly, a man (MF 253–55, 241ff., 257, 215–18). Not only is Moll successful in each of these roles (and so successful that while disguised as an man, she shares a bed with a man who does not recognize her true gender), but she uses them to determine how she feels about each social position she appropriates.32 She dislikes the dirt and untidiness of the beggar; she ‹nds male clothes to be awkward,

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and they make her uncomfortably conscious of her body; the expectation of widowly demureness does not suit her taste either. While Moll’s adventures in role-playing can be construed as a quest for self and identity, it would be more accurate to say that Moll enjoys role-playing for its own sake—she likes knowing that she can keep her wits about her, even in a foreign situation, even in a role that is not her own. When Moll has the opportunity to become the role she likes best (that of a wealthy matron on her second visit to Virginia), she still manipulates her identity and its presentations. During her stay in the colonies, Moll’s husband Jemy ‹nds out about her identity as a mother, but only at the very end of the narrative; her son Humphry remains ignorant of her status as a wife (she claims to be getting married to Jemy when they have already wed); and neither one knows fully about her business endeavors (MF 342). Thus Moll plays the role of mother without mothering and the role of wife without wiving; she’s both roles and neither. Moll never fully reveals who she is or what she knows—and while she tells her readers about her subterfuges and lies, they never know whether they are being duped by a disguise as well. Similarly, Roxana passes herself off as the widow of Poictou, a Quaker, a woman in need of investment advice, a countess, and a Turkish princess—but she does not relish her roles as Moll does (R 57, 211, 166–71, 240–41, 173ff.). If disguise is escapist play for Moll, then it is ambiguous self-defense for Roxana. While her multiple identities have led to a considerable fortune (one that makes Moll’s look meager by comparison), Roxana’s ambivalence leads to schizophrenia about her self and her desires. It is Roxana, not Moll, who insists upon an antidisguise scene, in which she forces the prince to scrub her face to prove that her beauty is natural, and not paint (R 72). And it is Roxana, not Moll, who is afraid of being exposed (R 278). Moll acknowledges that her fame has exposed her already, and her fears center on being committed to Newgate. Yet because Roxana has never reconciled herself with fame, her anxieties regarding exposure (and the inevitable confrontation of her transgressive maternity that must follow) are so much the greater. As a result, Roxana is forced into playing role after role that she cannot condone or condemn, failing to renounce or revel in her parts. As Roxana continues to act, she controls her performances and audiences as much as possible. Unlike Moll, whose best performances are in public, in the random, crowded streets, Roxana performs in private, contained spaces—in bedrooms and in secluded castles. Her most public performance is her dance in Turkish costume in a private ballroom, and she carefully de‹nes the setting and the presentation (R 172–81).33 Yet ultimately all transgressive mothers are trapped by their theatrical stages and their failure to domesticate space. Like Swift’s mothers begging on the

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side of the road, Roxana and Moll are spatially marginal. Moll responds to this dilemma by being perpetually on the move, from one end of London to another, out to the country and back, and from one socially questionable space to another—from boarding houses to debtor’s prison to the colonies. The change of scene allows Moll to extend the range of her performance opportunities, and she is emotionally stable as long as she is physically transient. For Moll, staying still leads to psychic disintegration, as her incarceration in Newgate makes apparent. By returning to her prison birthplace, Moll is forced back to the womb, to be born again as a (nearly) reformed citizen (MF 273–78). On the other hand, Roxana ‹nds travel uncomfortable and disorienting. Roxana prefers the private spaces that de‹ne her persona as the kept mistress, even as the feminized, womblike nature of those private rooms literalizes her social and psychological entrapment (R 67, 181–82). As Susan invades Roxana’s well-de‹ned hidden space, trying to bring her out, Roxana psychically splits in two, at once desirous of performing the roles of the loving, devoted mother and the autonomous, independent recluse. It is at this point that Amy makes the murderous decision that at once horri‹es Roxana and frees her from Susan. Yet even as Roxana escapes active maternity, she is trapped by it, for she is paralyzed by guilt over her inability to protect her child and by Amy’s maternal infantilization of her. Although Amy removes the threat of exposure by murdering Susan, Roxana’s disguise implodes, as her ability to disorient her society—by being a mother without mothering, a mistress who embodies and repudiates the exotic, a wife who is less a wife than a business partner— destroys itself. Roxana’s psychological collapse serves to underline how thoroughly female identity is overwhelmed by maternity.34 Women have identities, whereas mothers do not. Mothers are de‹ned solely by their relationships to their children, and even the specter of maternity threatens to negate female identity altogether. As a result, maternity is never truly integrated into the female experience—maternity never becomes one role to play in a series of roles, because motherhood swallows all other identities. Accordingly, mothering itself is a monstrosity, and the problem for Moll and Roxana is that they are biologically, if not psychologically and socially, implicated in motherhood. That Moll and Roxana construct the monstrosity of motherhood differently from one another is crucial, for while Roxana perceives the failure to be a traditional mother as exceedingly transgressive, Moll does not. Roxana particularly feels that she has failed, and in light of her early experience with the family romance, as a child and a mother, she has. Even though Roxana acknowledges that she is fond of her legitimate children (in her own way, of course), she comments on how unnatural it is for her not to be attached to some of her

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children, like her son with the Dutch merchant (R 263). Roxana is trapped, for being a mother and failing to mother are both designated as horri‹c for her, and she is implicated in both categories. Moll, on the other hand, resists constructing herself as a mother, despite extended periods of parenting (most notably with Robin, her half brother, and the banker). Consequently, Moll lacks the guilt at what society would deed to be her maternal failures; in Moll’s mind “mother” remains “other” as she separates herself from the maternal experience. By choosing to be something other than a mother, or not only a mother, women call into question the parameters of female sexuality as well as the de‹nition of being female. The dif‹culty for women in these works becomes a matter of how to separate sexuality from fertility. Or to put it into different terms, is it possible to be a woman and not be a mother? And is it possible to be a woman and a mother? Or must femininity (and female sexuality for that matter) collapse into maternity by de‹nition? For men, the imperative to de‹ne femininity as maternity has distinct bene‹ts, for it is a means to contain female sexuality by suggesting one legitimate route of sexual expression at the expense of all others. The necessity of maternity, and the fear that it may be a means of female empowerment, mandate the reinscription of motherhood as subordinate, if not debilitating. Accordingly, for women, the liability of the “femininity = maternity” equation is clear: such a de‹nition traps women and mothers through social requirements of legitimacy (i.e., sexual activity only within marriage), wealth (or at least solvency), fertility (enough, but not too much to be impoverishing), and psychological self-negation. The failure to ful‹ll any of these exacting expectations leads to criticism; the attempt to evade these requirements, or to rede‹ne being female, leads to marginalization. Accordingly, the refusal to mother challenges the validity of the social order not only because it fails to replicate the existing system but also because it explores the alternatives: the rami‹cations of female autonomy, the possibilities of female identity, and the establishment of female society—all of which circumvent male participation and dominance. Yet even as Swift and Defoe allow for such interrogation of social norms, they ensure the transmission of patriarchal imperatives through the criminalization of the autonomous mother. In other words, even as Swift and Defoe make the case for social change—for parental responsibility for children; for female authority to control their social and economic positions; and for a social system that provides options for distressed mothers other than starvation, crime, and death—they also argue that mothers who thwart social order and expectations, even in dire circumstances, are monstrous.

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Swift and Defoe achieve these characterizations of maternal transgression through an accumulating network of negative attributes. As Stallybrass and White suggest, both the classicist impulse of the eighteenth century and the rising professional classes were in concert to separate high culture from low and to invoke a code of containment for proper physical and social behavior.35 As appropriate behaviors were culturally aligned, actions that were excluded (like the transgressive behaviors of the grotesque, the carnival, and the crowd) were also mutually reinforcing and necessary to de‹ne and sustain the codes of propriety. Swift associated the sexually transgressive behaviors of monstrous maternity with theologically transgressive behaviors (it is all those Catholics who are breeding, after all) and socially transgressive behaviors (and they do not get married anyway) (MP 114, 115). Yet through the Proposer, Swift contains the monstrosity of his mothers by limiting them to infanticide. Unlike the actions of Moll and Roxana, who engage in a range of illicit behaviors, infanticide may prevent the Irish breeders from committing other crimes, particularly since the Proposer has constructed infanticide as a suf‹ciently pro‹table enterprise on its own. The parameters of the proposal let Swift avoid a full examination of female identity and autonomy, as well as forestall the exploration of female community and the maternal role in the family (or whatever may be left of it). Since the strength of the satire relies on the Proposer’s reduction of humanity to its bodily existence, Swift cannot let the Proposer acknowledge human psychology without having the satire implode. As a result, the Proposal’s erasure of the female psyche leads to the question of what constitutes that psyche, without providing an answer. All that remains is the documentation of one kind of monstrous maternity and the proposal of another. Defoe also follows this cumulative process by associating monstrous maternity with multiple subversive readings of power, community, identity, and sexuality. Although he too ultimately discredits female autonomy and community, Defoe renders himself and his subject ambiguous by heroicizing his protagonists. Moll and Roxana are admirable for their energy, their ability to survive and overcome disabling circumstances, their common sense, and their knowledge of human nature; their histories make an eloquent case for female suf‹ciency, industry, and intellect. Yet the very traits that make Defoe’s women socially viable also make them socially volatile. Moll continuously wrestles with social de‹nitions (like the term “gentlewoman”), while Roxana repudiates both the democratic vision of her princely lover and the image of middle-class respectability advocated by the Dutch merchant (MF 13; R 81–82, 151–53). Roxana can build a convincing case for female autonomy by arguing that being a wife is no better than being an upper servant, as she lures the Dutch merchant into offering the marriage that she wants—just

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as Moll can argue consistently and ironically that untended children should be stolen from, as a warning to their parents to take better care (R 147ff.; MF 194). Moll and Roxana repeatedly interrogate the social landscape, and they transcend it by defying gender and class constructions through strategies of rationalization, reinscription, and subterfuge. As they realign their priorities, Moll and Roxana present themselves as pragmatists, not to be blamed for their need to abandon their children; rather, it is the society that puts women in these positions that comes under attack. While clearly there are ›aws in their arguments—which Defoe points to by “editing” these histories as admonitory tales with conclusions of repentance—the narrative time, energy, and interest in both of these novels are spent on Moll’s, and Roxana’s, adventures preying upon mainstream society. In the end, these texts seem to argue for the impossibility of maternity altogether. Women become mothers biologically, but they cannot be maternal, for the material conditions that make nurturance possible are largely beyond their control. If the requisite support from fathers and/or the extended family disappears, mothers cannot provide the parenting that is necessary for the health of their children, as Swift and Defoe suggest. Thus independent women are almost bound to fail, and they are bound to be condemned for it. In such socioeconomic circumstances, it is not irrational that women would want to avoid motherhood, nor is it illogical that they would want to abdicate the responsibilities of motherhood when maternity is thrust upon them. But even when the demands of motherhood can be met, as in Defoe’s novels, the psychological cost of maternity is too dear. And perhaps that is the ‹nal transgression: even when Moll and Roxana are ‹nancially secure and socially safe, these mothers still refuse to mother. notes 1. Through her analysis of conduct literature in the period, Nancy Armstrong puts forth a compelling case for the rise of domesticity in the eighteenth century in her book Desire and Domestic Fiction (New York: Oxford University Press, 1987). Randolph Trumbach’s The Rise of The Egalitarian Family: Aristocratic Kinship and Domestic Relations in Eighteenth-Century England (New York: Academic Press, 1978) and Lawrence Stone’s contested but in›uential Family, Sex and Marriage in England, 1500–1800 (New York: Harper Torchbooks, 1977) present historical and demographic data to substantiate their arguments for the rise of domesticity and affective relationships as the century progressed. See also James Christen Steward’s extensive catalogue of the Berkeley exhibition, The New Child: British Art and the Origins of Modern Childhood, 1730–1830 (Berkeley: University Art Museum and Paci‹c Film Archive, 1995). 2. The obvious exception is in cases of rape. While it was considered something of a boon for men to produce illegitimate children—Charles II had many

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children from his adulterous affairs, and he granted titles and estates to a number of them—there was no glamor for women in giving birth to bastards. See Squire Western’s comments in Tom Jones when it is assumed that Tom is the father of Molly Seagrim’s bastard child: “It will do’n no Harm with he, assure your self; nor with any Body else. Ask Sophy there.—You have not the worse Opinion of a young Fellow for getting a Bastard, have you Girl? No, no, the Women will like un the better for’t” (The Wesleyan Edition of the Works of Henry Fielding, ed. Fredson Bowers [Middletown, Conn.: Wesleyan University Press, 1975], 190). 3. As Freud argued, mothers are at once feared and loved precisely because of their power as primary caregivers. Modern psychology persistently privileges the child’s needs over the mother’s, so that the existence of an independent maternal will is rarely acknowledged, even today; that it could be exercised for a mother’s own bene‹t is either denied or stigmatized. See Janice Doane and Devon Hodges’s From Klein to Kristeva: Psychoanalytic Feminism and the Search for the “Good Enough” Mother (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1992), in which they summarize and criticize the maternal analyses of Klein, Winnicott, Chodorow, and Kristeva in terms of object-relations theory. In Doane and Hodges’s reading, all of these psychologists assume that the mother is subordinate to (if not damaging to) the child, and consequently, they fail to take maternal needs into consideration at all. 4. Mothers who express themselves through their power over their children are vili‹ed and punished throughout Western literature—either the mother is banished from society (like Euripides’ Medea), metamorphosed into an animal (like Ovid’s Procne), or sentenced to death (like Gretchen in Goethe’s Faust). Indeed, the death of a child at the hands of the mother is a metaphor for absolute destruction, as in the repeated images of maternal cannibalism in the Book of Lamentations (Lam. 2:20, 4:10, cf. 4:3–4). The only autonomous mothers in the Western tradition who are not demonized for their separation from their children are those who dedicate their unborn children to God, like the mothers of Samuel and Samson (1 Sam. 1:1–28; Judg. 13:2–25). While the children are the answers to these infertile women’s prayers, the mothers are ennobled by their conscious maternal withdrawal as their sons become priests. But of course, these “good” mothers sustain their literary characters precisely because they are never seen in the act of mothering. 5. The historical evidence regarding maternal status in cases of abandonment and infanticide is very speci‹c: while some of these mothers were widows, most were unmarried, working-class women who would lose their employment and their social status if their pregnancies were known. On the social and economic causes of infanticide in the eighteenth century, see R.W. Malcolmson, “Infanticide in the Eighteenth Century,” in Crime in England, ed. J. S. Cockburn (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1977), 192–93; and J. M. Beattie, Crime and the Courts in England, 1660–1800 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1986), 114. On the causes of abandonment (which were largely similar to those of infanticide), see Valerie Fildes, “Maternal Feelings Re-assessed: Child Abandonment and Neglect in London and Westminster, 1550–1800,” in Women as Mothers in Pre-Industrial England, ed. Valerie Fildes (London: Routledge, 1990), 133–78. Fildes also notes that many mothers left letters with their abandoned children,

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giving the child’s age, name, baptismal status, and the circumstances that led to their decision (152–58). Often mothers left trinkets at the Foundling Hospital that would be used to identify abandoned children should the mother be in the position to support the child at a later date. See Ruth McClure’s Coram’s Children: The London Foundling Hospital in the Eighteenth Century (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1981), chap. 4. 6. For a discussion of the allegorical representations of monstrous maternity in the Restoration and eighteenth century, see Marilyn Francus, “The Monstrous Mother: Reproductive Anxiety in Swift and Pope,” ELH 61, no. 4 (1994): 829–51. 7. Jonathan Swift, The Prose Works of Jonathan Swift, ed. Herbert Davis, vol. 12 (Oxford: Blackwell, 1965), 109. All subsequent references to A Modest Proposal (MP) will appear in the text. 8. For a profertility argument in the period, see Samuel Dugard’s A Discourse Concerning the Having Many Children. In Which the Prejudices against a Numerous Offspring are Removed and the Objections Answered (London, 1695), in which he argues that the economic and theological reasons against bringing more children into the world (i.e., that children are expensive, that they embody and generate sin, and so on) undermine divine intention and fail to acknowledge divine help. 9. Toni Bowers’s The Politics of Motherhood, British Writing, and Culture 1680–1760 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996) was published as I was ‹nishing editing this essay for publication in this volume. Those who are familiar with Professor Bowers’ ‹ne book will recognise that her discussions of Moll and Roxana (98–123), particularly regarding maternal agency and the material conditions of motherhood, are comparable to my analysis here. 10. See Moll Flanders, ed. G. A. Starr (London: Oxford University Press, 1971), 58, 61–64, 105, 118, 127, 153, 189–90, 311–12, cf. 261–62; and Roxana, ed. Jane Jack (London: Oxford University Press, 1964), 42, 55, 58, 70–71, 75, 102, 111, 162, 164, 167ff., 182–83. All subsequent references to Moll Flanders (MF) and Roxana (R) will appear in the text. 11. There have been a number of analyses of Defoe’s women and ‹nance that are cognate with my argument of Moll’s and Roxana’s ‹scal responsibility and ‹nancial empowerment. In particular, see Mona Scheuermann’s Her Bread to Earn: Women, Money, and Society from Defoe to Austen (Lexington: The University Press of Kentucky, 1993), in which she argues that Defoe inveighs against female victimization through his characterizations of Moll and Roxana as capable ‹nancial managers and the autonomy they derive from their ‹nancial skill. Her feminist reading of Defoe is accurate, I think, but it does not suf‹ciently take into account the diminution of female authority at the end of these novels, especially in Roxana. Laura Brown’s Ends of Empire: Women and Ideology in Early Eighteenth-Century English Literature (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1993) provides a closer reading of the concluding turn in Roxana insofar as she locates con›icts of gender, capitalism, and violence in Roxana herself: “The fully elaborated development of the Amazon motif in Defoe’s novel produces a constellation of ideological contradictions, in which pro‹t and murder, violence and empire, commodi‹cation and trade, all joined with protofeminist female autonomy, are variously and reciprocally superimposed” (155). See also Lois A. Chaber’s

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“Matriarchal Mirror: Women and Capital in Moll Flanders,” PMLA 97 (1982): 212–26, in which Chaber argues that Defoe’s criticism of the material conditions of women in Moll is cognate with a Marxist-feminist interpretation of eighteenthcentury culture. 12. Such an assumption would not have been unwarranted given the social (but not legal) conventions of marriage among the lower classes. See John R. Gillis’s “Married but Not Churched: Plebeian Sexual Relations and Marital Nonconformity in Eighteenth-Century Britain,” in ‘Tis Nature’s Fault: Unauthorized Sexuality in the Enlightenment, ed. Robert P. Maccubbin (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987), 31–42. 13. For a psychoanalytic reading of the relationship between Roxana and Amy, and especially this scene, see Terry Castle’s essay “‘Amy, Who Knew My Disease’: A Psychosexual Pattern in Defoe’s Roxana,” English Literary History 46, no. 1 (1979): 81–96. (This essay has been reprinted in Castle’s collection The Female Thermometer: Eighteenth-Century Culture and the Invention of the Uncanny [New York: Oxford University Press, 1995], 44–55.) Castle argues that Amy functions as a vice ‹gure, a double, and a surrogate mother for Roxana, and in this seduction scene, Castle suggests that Roxana takes on the role of voyeuristic child watching Amy and the jeweler (“her parents”) having sex. While I concur that Amy is a mother ‹gure for Roxana, I read their relationship as far more codependent than Castle does. 14. Moll has two children with Robin, whom she leaves with his parents (MF 58–59), and one child with the draper, who dies in infancy (MF 64). There are three pregnancies with her half brother, two of these children surviving infancy and Humphry being the only one the reader learns about as an adult (MF 88, 91); three pregnancies from her liaison with the repentant married man in Bath, with one son surviving (MF 120); Jemy’s son, who is farmed out by Mother Midnight (MF 160–77); and two children with the banker (MF 189). What is unusual here is the survival rate, assuming, of course, that all the children that she does not know of as being dead are still alive. The survival rate of Roxana’s children is more understandable considering that their rearing is ‹nanced more steadily than that of Moll’s children. 15. Roxana has ‹ve children with the brewer, and three survive—Susan, the eldest; the third child, a girl; and the ‹fth child, a son, who is funded to be a merchant (R 17, 189–90, 192). Of her two pregnancies with the jeweler, only the second child, a son, survives, and he too is set up in business (R 49, 263). Roxana becomes pregnant three times during her relationship with the prince, and two of those children survive—one of whom becomes a colonel in a regiment in Italy (R 79, 104, 106); and she has a son with the Dutch merchant (R 154, 164)—for a total of eleven pregnancies and seven surviving children. 16. Defoe’s invocation of excessive fertility may simply be a narrative strategy, but the unusual fertility of Moll and Roxana may partly re›ect the progressive rise in fertility that occurred as women started having children at younger ages. See E. A. Wrigley’s “Marriage, Fertility and Population Growth in EighteenthCentury England,” in Marriage and Society: Studies in the Social History of Marriage, ed. R. B. Outhwaite (New York: St. Martins, 1981), 145–49. In general, however, lower- and middle-class women of the period were not able to marry

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until they were in their early to mid-twenties, since they could not afford to set up households until then. As Lawrence Stone remarks, “Since the female age of marriage was commonly between twenty-three and twenty-seven, and the menopause began at about forty, the period during which the average wife could give birth was fairly limited. Moreover, many marriages did not last through the full female reproductive span, owing to the premature death of one spouse or the other. The average number of children born to one wife was therefore only four or less in upperclass England and six or eight among yeomen and freeholders in the much healthier conditions of New England” (52). Stone also notes that the poor in this period had fewer children than the wealthy (“There is reason to think that unhealthy living conditions, bad hygiene, rotten food and a chronic state of malnutrition may have been powerful causes of the low fertility, as well as the high infant mortality, of the poor” [54]). Thus to be pregnant eleven or twelve times, and have seven or eight surviving children, as Moll and Roxana do, is highly signi‹cant. 17. See Ann Louise Kibbie’s “Monstrous Generation: The Birth of Capital in Defoe’s Moll Flanders and Roxana,” PMLA 110 (1995): 1023–34, on the seventeenth- and eighteenth-century rhetoric of usury, which correlates monstrosity and biological generation with the unnatural production of money. 18. See Shari L. Thurer’s The Myths of Motherhood: How Culture Reinvents the Good Mother (New York: Penguin, 1994) for a discussion of the work and in›uence of Philippe Aries, who argued not only that “the idea of childhood as a separate phase in the human cycle simply did not exist” until the eighteenth century but that children were largely ignored (even in pictorial representations) because of the high mortality rate (85–95). Thurer identi‹es Lloyd de Mause, Edward Shorter, and Lawrence Stone among Aries’s followers (88) and Peter Laslett, John Hajnal, David Herlihy, Barbara Hanawalt, and Linda Pollock as the critical opposition, whose response, as Thurer puts it, was “swift, sharp, and vehement—[which] suggests that the absence of so basic an emotion as mother love was an offense too painful to endure” (93). 19. Cf. Bowers’s discussion of Moll’s abandonment of her children (104–11). According to Bowers, Roxana differs from Moll in that Roxana “spends no time worrying about maternal imperatives not consistent with her own survival.” While Bowers’s implication is that Moll’s concerns are more genuine than Roxana’s, I am less sure whether Moll truly considers compromising her maternal imperative—or whether Moll may want the reader to believe that she has done so. 20. Arguably monstrous maternity marginalizes fathers insofar as it empowers women. Yet Roxana argues that men marginalize themselves, particularly in cases of illegitimacy, because they construct parenthood as a maternal and/or ‹nancial responsibility: “Great Men are, indeed, deliver’d from the Burthen of their Natural Children, or Bastards, as to their Maintenance: This is the main Af›iction in other Cases, where there is not Substance suf‹cient, without breaking into the Fortunes of the Family; in those Cases, either a Man’s legitimate Children suffer, which is very unnatural; or the unfortunate Mother of that illegitimate Birth, has a dreadful Af›iction, either of being turn’d off with her Child, and be left to starve, &c. or of seeing the poor Infant pack’d off with a Piece of

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Money, to some of those She-Butchers, who take Children off of their Hands, as ‘tis call’d; that is to say, starve ‘em, and in a Word, murther ‘em” (R 79–80). See also Trumbach’s comments on distant fathers and legitimate offspring: “Before 1750 men positively avoided their infant children. After 1750 their fear of children was moderated and some fathers began to take a close interest even in the ‹rst year of childhood. But fathers never managed to associate very closely with their daughters at any age, and they avoided their sons until they were about seven” (238). 21. Cf. Bowers 116–18. 22. One of Nancy Chodorow’s main arguments in The Reproduction of Mothering: Psychoanalysis and the Sociology of Gender (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1978) is that mothers can establish boundaries with their sons but not with their daughters, because mothers cannot help identifying with the samesex child. Thus as sons learn to separate from their mothers and become autonomous, daughters never do so, and the mother-daughter relationship becomes one of ambivalent codependence that gets repeated from generation to generation. 23. Elisabeth Badinter argues against the notion of instinctive maternal love by providing historical evidence of maternal indifference in common parenting practices in France. See her Mother Love: Myth and Reality, Motherhood in Modern History (New York: Macmillan, 1981). 24. See Dorothy Dinnerstein’s The Mermaid and the Minotaur: Sexual Arrangements and Human Malaise (New York: Harper Colophon, 1977): “Few of us ever outgrow the yearning to be guided as we were when we were children, to be told what to do, for our own good, by someone powerful who knows better and will protect us. Few of us even wholeheartedly try to outgrow it. What we do try hard to outgrow, however, is our subjugation to female power: the power on which we were dependent before we could judge, or even wonder, whether or not the one who wielded it knew better and was bossing us for our own good; the power whose protectiveness—although we once clung to it with all our might, and although it was steadier and more encompassing than any we are apt to meet again—seemed at that time both oppressive and perfectly reliable” (188). See also Jane Flax’s “The Con›ict between Nurturance and Autonomy in Mother-Daughter Relationships and within Feminism,” Feminist Studies 4, no. 2 (1978): 171–89, which diagrams the psychoanalytic reading of mother-daughter ambivalence from childhood through adulthood. While much of Flax’s initial argument echoes that of Chodorow, Flax pursues the implications of the dual desires for nurturance and autonomy in terms of women and the workplace (and anxieties regarding professional success), gender anxiety, the politics of feminism and antifeminism, and homophobia. 25. The absence of a generational hierarchy between Moll and her mother is perfectly Chodorovian. See Marianne Hirsch’s The Mother/Daughter Plot: Narrative, Psychoanalysis, Feminism (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1989), in which she argues that because of the erasure of the maternal plot, daughters in literature do not hear maternal stories or learn from them—so that daughters perpetually repeat the errors of their mothers. Fittingly, Moll only hears her mother’s criminal tale after she has begun to enact it herself. It is notable that Bowers

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argues that Moll and her mother must separate because of the confusion of relationships that they represent (102–4), but presumably, they cannot coexist because they cannot live the same narrative as mother and daughter simultaneously. 26. Castle remarks that Amy’s name may also signal “a ‘me’—an oddly displaced and altered version of the speaker herself” (Thermometer 46). 27. Castle argues that Amy’s endless activity empowers her and eventually leads to her maternal role and the infantilization of the passive Roxana (Thermometer 48–49, 52–53). 28. Moll repeatedly refers to Mother Midnight as if she were her mother, if not something better than a mother: “Her Care of me in my Travail, and after my Lying-Inn, was such, that if she had been my own Mother it cou’d not have been better” (171); “My Governess acted a true Mother to me” (282); “I was never so sorrowful at parting with my own Mother as I was at parting with her” (319); and so on. 29. Cf. Bowers on the con›ation of Amy and Roxana, especially concerning the assignment of responsibility for Susan’s death (120) and Castle’s argument, noted earlier, regarding Amy and Roxana as doubles. 30. As monstrous maternity confuses the conventional de‹nitions of maternal identity and community, it imitates the hybridization mechanisms of transgressive events like the carnival and the masquerade. See Stallybrass and White’s The Politics and Poetics of Transgression (London: Methuen, 1986), in which they argue that carnival/fair/masquerade events not only manifest the reversal of the high/low order but generate hybrids of orders as well. 31. “Moll Flanders” is the appropriate name for a thief of contraband Holland linen, just as the harem name “Roxana” ‹ts the kept woman who dons a Turkish costume and performs an exotic dance. Moll is also referred to as “Betty,” the generic name for a servant, when she is working in the house of the elder brother and Robin, and she chooses the name “Mrs. Flanders” when she enters debtor’s prison (foreshadowing the time when that name will be given to her by the criminal community). 32. For a discussion of transvestism in the period, see Lynne Friedli’s “‘Passing Women’: A Study of Gender Boundaries in the Eighteenth Century,” in Sexual Underworlds of the Enlightenment, ed. G. S. Rousseau and Roy Porter (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1988), 234–60. 33. See Felicity Nussbaum’s discussion of Roxana’s Turkish costume and dance in light of the sexualized other and maternal eroticism in Torrid Zones: Maternity, Sexuality, and Empire in Eighteenth-Century English Narratives (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1995), 34–41. 34. Cf. Bowers 119: “For a mother, Roxana suggests, a coherent self cannot be constructed in competition with other selves; with no other model for self-construction available, Roxana’s eventual disintegration is inevitable.” 35. Stallybrass and White 80–124.

Ruined Women and Illegitimate Daughters revolution and female sexuality

Julie Shaffer

M ary Robinson’s 1799 novel The Natural Daughter takes place almost entirely in England but shifts to the scene of the Reign of Terror, post-Revolutionary Paris, in two key scenes that frame the rest of the novel’s action. In the one near the beginning of the story, we learn the tale of Lady Susan, an Englishwoman imprisoned as a foreign national by Marat in the Abbaye, the Parisian prison that during the Terror took the role the Bastille had before 14 July 1789. She is told that she “should . . . be set at liberty” (1:210) if she marries an Englishman who had likewise been a prisoner but has subsequently been freed. She weds him à la Revolution and discovers only after he impregnates and abandons her that he is already married and clearly colluded with Marat in this ruse. Months later, when she is heavily pregnant and still imprisoned, Marat tries to seduce her, threatening to have her beheaded for refusing him. The political tide changes by the next morning, however, and Marat is himself executed; she is liberated. The scene occurring near the novel’s end takes place as the female protagonist, Martha, travels through France with her husband, Morley, on their way to ‹nd Lady Susan, who has gone to Switzerland with her illegitimate daughter, Frances. In Paris, they, like Lady Susan before them, are then imprisoned in the Abbaye as nationals of an enemy country; here they discover that Martha’s sister, Julia, who was also Morley’s lover during much of his marriage to Martha, has become the leering mistress of the sanguinary Robespierre. The ‹nancially needy Robinson may have added these melodramatic scenes to pander to the novel-reading public’s vitiated tastes.1 But this decade following the French Revolution was too socially and politically

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sensitive for such scenes to be read thus innocently, witnessing as it did the Reign of Terror and the beginning of Britain’s war with France. As Gary Kelly reminds us, all 1790s novels can be read as taking sides in ideological wars, even when not explicitly referring to political events; a writer’s avoiding mentioning such events was political in itself (“Women”). “Thanks to [the Jacobins’] controversial work,” Kelly explains, “the novel gained new prestige as a vehicle for ideological communication in an age of crisis”; it was, he asserts, in fact “the most important single vehicle of ideological communication amongst the middle and upper classes in Britain” (English Fiction 30; “Jane Austen” 302). In these scenes, Robinson links her negative characters with those most easily identi‹ed as having betrayed the Revolution and its early causes: not just a social system based on meritocracy and equality for all men but one based on equality for women as well, fought for through the Girondin Revolution.2 By framing her narrative thus, and by giving two of her characters linked to the protagonists names that remind us of the revolutionary country—the illegitimate child, Frances; and her putative father, Sir Francis—Robinson invites us to believe that positions represented by the novel’s protagonists will be revolutionary, aligned with support for the early revolutionary stance she also expresses in poetry, other novels, and her political tracts, the 1791 Impartial Re›ections on the Present Situation of the Queen of France and the 1799 Thoughts on the Condition of Women, on the Injustice of Mental Subordination.3 Through these references to the Revolution, Robinson’s work challenges many current constructs of women’s writing in the era as needing to appear conservative both so that female authors could avoid being seen as inadequately feminine and so that they could see their work into publication at all; women with subversive tendencies who wanted to publish and protect their reputations for femininity, according to this construct, had to hide their views beneath a conservative veneer. While any departure from conservative character portrayal and plotting might be read as political, Robinson’s references to and scenes from the French Revolution underline the political nature of The Natural Daughter, foregrounding her awareness that what she writes here is as political as what she argues in her explicitly political tracts. Any work including reference to the French Revolution or to other revolutions or revolutionary social views insists that we reconsider the extent to which women were able to—and did—use their novels to participate explicitly in political debates at the end of the eighteenth century. Furthermore, such references demand that we reexamine elements of these novels that do not at ‹rst seem political and consider whether they are as politically loaded as the overt politics offered elsewhere in these novels. Robinson’s reference to the French Revolution, for instance, highlights

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the political nature of her treatment of the main focus of this novel, female sexual slippage and others’ reactions to it. Her argument throughout the novel that women who fall sexually should be forgiven and socially recuperated is not immediately obviously politically revolutionary, but it is in fact quite radical. In taking this position, Robinson enters the debate, highlighted elsewhere in Lewd and Notorious, over views of women as always de‹ned by their sexuality—as pure and therefore nubile, worth loving and possessing, on the one hand; or, on the other, as impure and hence incapable of being absorbed into a social system protected and undergirded by female chastity. In The Natural Daughter, Robinson attacks these stereotypical views of women to suggest that wherever women’s morality seems thus to be at issue, the implications are equally social and, by extension, political. Through linking lenience toward female sexual slippage with the French Revolution, Robinson insists that the cultural pressure to demonize, exclude, and eradicate fallen women has a negative social and political impact not only on women but also on the nation as a whole. In her tolerance toward sexually fallen women, Robinson is not alone among female novelists of the 1790s and early 1800s. Others include Mary Wollstonecraft, with her 1798 Maria; or, the Wrongs of Woman, and Amelia Opie, who explores such themes in her 1805 Adeline Mowbray and her 1800 The Father and the Daughter. Those who likewise voiced such views but whose novels including this theme are not their best-known works include Elizabeth Inchbald, best known for her 1791 A Simple Story but advocating such views in her 1796 Nature and Art, and Mary Hays, best known for her 1796 Memoirs of Emma Courtney but presenting such views in her 1799 The Victim of Prejudice. Others now less well known include Miss Street, in her 1793 The Recluse of the Appenines [sic]; Miss A. Kendall, in her 1798 Derwent Priory and her 1800 Tales of the Abbey; Mrs. Yeates, in her 1800 Eliza; Mary Charlton, in her 1803 The Wife and the Mistress; and Harriet Lee, in her 1805 “The Landlady’s Tale: Mary Lawson.” Readers familiar only with canonical and subcanonical novels of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries—those currently circulating at libraries in nineteenth- through twenty-‹rst-century editions and available for purchase in recent reprint editions—may be surprised that so many women writers in the period are lenient toward sexual slippage in female characters. Our need both to rethink women’s relation to publishing in this era and to recognize the social and political signi‹cance of women writers’ lenience to female sexual slips will become clear after a review of current beliefs about women, writing, and publishing then— beliefs grounded in many but by no means all women’s novels printed in the late eighteenth century.

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women’s publishing and sexualized vilification In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, an era witnessing the solidi‹cation of the ideology of the modest, sexually passive, and passionless domestic woman that came to reign in the Victorian era and since, any woman departing from prescribed roles, attributes, and attitudes opened herself to being criticized as improper at best, a harridan, sexual monster, or animal at worst (Yeazell 13–14). Wollstonecraft, for instance, was judged as motivated in her feminism by sexual frigidity, according to the Bon Ton Magazine in 1793, and by sexual voraciousness, according to the Anti-Jacobin Review in 1798 (Binhammer 409); she was called a “hyena in petticoats” by Horace Walpole, once the nature of her liaisons with Imlay and Godwin became known (Vindication 242).4 Richard Polwhele’s 1798 “The Unsex’d Females” and Thomas James Mathias’s 1794–97 The Pursuits of Literature make similar attacks not just on Wollstonecraft but on other politically vocal women as well, including Robinson, Mrs. Barbauld, Charlotte Smith, Helen Maria Williams, and Mary Hays, as William Gifford does in works from 1791 to 1800 (Adams 128). Any woman wanting to avoid such ostracism but desiring or needing to publish could protect herself in a number of ways. In the ‹fteen or so years following the French Revolution, women writers concerned about their reputations frequently apologized for immodestly pushing themselves into print and constrained themselves to writing conservatively only, reaf‹rming and protecting the social and political status quo without explicitly addressing politics, since to do so would have meant thrusting themselves unfemininely into a masculine sphere.5 Many women who transgressed rules requiring female modesty and self-effacement by publishing therefore presented themselves—in prefaces, for instance—as forced to publish to feed ailing husbands and helpless children. Such selfpresentation could be based in real neediness: Robinson, for instance, began publishing during the ten months that she, her husband, and their infant daughter were in debtor’s prison to provide for them there and to earn money necessary for their release. Female authors could further protect themselves by writing works easily viewed as teaching a female readership sanctioned cultural roles and behaviors. Many did so, we know, by sticking to a “generally decorous tonal and descriptive range” (Cullens 278), going beyond avoiding politics to avoiding language or events, such as rape, that might offend a polite audience, as Frances Burney’s half sister, Sarah Burney, points out is her intent in her 1808 Geraldine Fauconberg. In her dedication, Burney states that she excludes “atrocious character[,] . . . vice and malevolence”

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to avoid shocking her unnamed addressee and, by extension, her audience as a whole (vii). Female authors who did include those elements that Sarah Burney felt were likely to shock a polite audience generally at least excluded them from the main story line. The rape and near-rape that one ‹nds in earlier heroines’ stories—in Richardson’s 1747–48 Clarissa and 1740 Pamela, respectively, for instance—get transformed to seduction in most novels, at least those by women, by the end of the century; they are likewise moved from centrality to minor characters’ story lines in such novels as Jane Austen’s 1813 Pride and Prejudice, with Lydia’s story; Charlotte Smith’s 1788 Emmeline; or, Orphan of the Castle, with Lady Adelina’s story; and Frances Burney’s 1782 Cecilia, with Eugenia’s story.6 Female novelists could further comply with constraints on their writing by casting heroines’ stories in marriage plots, con‹rming that the acceptable trajectory for women’s lives led to marriage; by rewarding heroines whose behavior ‹t the period’s codes for female morality; and by punishing those whose behavior was less strict. Modest, tractable, self-effacing, and above all chaste heroines gained the reward of a loving, titled, wealthy husband as their stories moved to a euphoric close. Those departing from these behaviors—especially those seduced or raped, albeit with exceptions such as Pride and Prejudice, Emmeline, and Cecilia— ended with the marriage plot’s dysphoric conclusion: death, signaling exclusion from the social system for failure to follow its rules.7 The construct of the female writer as decorously avoiding anything that might taint her reputation for feminine propriety has until recently been so strong and supported by so much of what survived the Victorian era to remain available to current readers that we might be surprised to ‹nd any late eighteenth-century woman-penned novels that do otherwise.8 Any woman departing from this model must seem extremely committed to her politics, as Wollstonecraft, Hays, Inchbald, and Robinson clearly were, evidenced by their publishing political tracts in addition to belletristic texts. But recognizing that women who broke from constraints were committed to their politics does not adequately help us understand the complex ways women’s political stances got sexualized and the ways writers responded by inverting their accusers’ equation, politicizing female sexuality in the same way that their politics were sexualized. The complexity of the issue may be gathered from reactions to these women’s writing both before and after Godwin’s publication of his Memoirs of Wollstonecraft, with her posthumously printed Maria; or, the Wrongs of Woman in 1798. As R. M Janes explains, Wollstonecraft’s Vindication of the Rights of Woman was originally fairly kindly received; the most vituperative attacks on her came after her death, in part as a response

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to what Godwin’s Memoirs revealed about her relationship ‹rst with Imlay and later with him. Janes suggests that from this point on, it became easier to condemn all writers identi‹ed as Jacobins for sexual irregularity and to link their politics to what was seen as sexual immorality. Even before this point, however, it was equally possible to revile women whose ‹ction was tolerant to women who slipped and so appeared to sanction a sexuality otherwise held as dangerously immoral. Hays published her Memoirs of Emma Courtney, for example, two years before Wollstonecraft’s demonization. Hays’s outspokenness in this novel is quali‹ed; the eponymous female protagonist sets forth her radical sentiments about love as negative exemplar. Nonetheless, the heroine’s passion and outspokenness were derided and held to be not only autobiographical but more valorized in the novel than is actually the case.9 Inchbald was at least concerned enough about the politics in her Nature and Art, a novel containing sympathy to fallen women, to delay publication of the work for two years and tone it down to the form in which it was ‹nally published in 1796, in which form it was nonetheless “condemned by counter-revolutionary reviewers” (Kelly, “Women” 377).10 That Mathias and Gifford attacked politically vocal female writers as sexually unnatural even before Godwin’s Memoirs was published suggests that Godwin’s revelations did not constitute the turning point in sexualizing and thus stigmatizing women whose works were not conservative in politics, plotting, or characterization. As Katherine Binhammer explains, throughout the 1790s at least, feminists’ “demands were discredited by the portrayal of the political female as sexually unnatural” (413); and, Roxanne Eberle adds, “a woman [could be named] ‘whore’ . . . because she is intellectually transgressive” (123). This state of affairs, including the backlash to Godwin’s Memoirs, did not, however, cause all women writers to protect themselves by writing about safe topics in sanctioned ways. Hays’s Victim of Prejudice, after all, was published in 1799, and much of Robinson’s scandalous work, including The Natural Daughter, was published in 1799 and 1800. Kendall’s, Yeates’s, Charlton’s, and Lee’s novelistic lenience toward women who fall likewise appeared after the 1798 publication of Godwin’s Memoirs, these authors’ works ‹nding their way into print from 1800 to 1805. Female authors’ treatment of female sexuality, itself seeming to have little to do with revolutionary politics, must nonetheless be recognized as political. Hays, Wollstonecraft, Robinson, and Inchbald directly address political issues in a variety of genres and incorporate explicitly political themes in their novels. In addition, even where they do not obviously comment on the political situation of the day, they nonetheless reveal their political stance. After all, if avoiding political themes already constitutes a political stance, then even if one considers

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the fallen woman as an unlikely political ‹gure, focusing on her must nonetheless be political. But these novelists more explicitly make this apparently nonpolitical, at least nonrevolutionary, issue highly political, using it to voice protofeminist social, economic, and political polemics. The link between female writers’ treatment of women’s sexual slippage and political radicalism in the period following the French Revolution becomes especially clear through a focus on two overlapping groups of novels. The ‹rst group, which includes Robinson’s The Natural Daughter, Miss Street’s The Recluse of the Appenines, and Miss A. Kendall’s Derwent Priory, links tolerance of extramarital female sexuality to revolutions or to the breaking of class lines, thereby signaling the revolutionary nature of lenity toward illicit female sexuality. In a movement in the second group of novels, from Inchbald’s Nature and Art to Hays’s The Victim of Prejudice and back to The Natural Daughter, women’s link to uncondoned sexuality comes increasingly to stand for women’s illegitimate position in Britain’s social, economic, and political spheres. As we shall see, these authors use sexual politics to re›ect on their place in postrevolutionary British culture, refusing to be cowed by threats of sexual demonization. Through their approach to the subject, they repudiate the view that biology, gender, or sexual experience, whether desired or not—or even actual or not—adequately de‹ne the sex and its place in culture. the politics of female sexuality Over the course of the eighteenth century, the relation between the sexes’ biologies and natures was revised in response to “political, economic, and cultural transformations of the eighteenth century,” and changes in understandings of the sexes’ divergent physiologies were accompanied by changes in views of how women, especially, functioned (Laqueur, “Orgasm” 35).11 Before the eighteenth century and indeed well into it, women were considered to be at least as sexually appetitive as men and to require orgasms to ovulate and conceive. By the end of the century, however, female orgasm was no longer seen as necessary for conception—no longer seen as necessary, in fact, at all (except, one imagines, to women, whose experiences may have belied sanctioned knowledge). Women’s attractiveness was increasingly based in their ability to bear and nurture children rather than in a more immediate sexual appeal. These changes accompanied and helped bring about the view of women as naturally sexually passive or passionless. The changes were carried out through medical treatises, conduct books, philosophical tracts, sermons, educational treatises, marriage manuals, and belletristic texts.12 The American Revolutionary War, the French Revolution, and Britain’s war with France were the principal political and cultural events

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solidifying these views in Great Britain. As the middle classes grew increasingly wealthy and so able to live like and pass for their betters, there were fears throughout the eighteenth century that the class structure itself was endangered, and these three wars brought such fears to a head.13 The revolution in France, destroying as it did a system privileging royalty and aristocracy, was seen as threatening the British system as well; there was widespread fear that either through an actual invasion more successful than those of Fishguard and Bantry Bay or through the in›uence of British Jacobin sympathizers, France could wreak the democratic havoc in Great Britain that French rebels had wrought at home. One argument about how such fears were mitigated suggests that as threats to the class system became felt and as calls were made for equality for all (men), hierarchy was maintained, but gender came to replace class as the ostensibly natural and deciding category that warranted the dominance of one group over another.14 The survival of the power structure itself required that one group retain privileges and dominance over another, despite a political climate in which there were calls for equal rights for all; revising views of gender differences to rationalize women’s remaining subordinate protected that structure. Ruth Perry explains, “In the context of late eighteenth-century claims for equality . . . [for everyone], the physiological differences between male and female had to be reinvented, so to speak, to offset potentially subversive claims women might make for political equality” (116). Reinterpreting women’s physiology in this manner helped prevent women’s claiming or being seen as deserving equality with men. They could then be seen not only as naturally sexually undemanding, selfeffacing, and tractable but also as naturally, normally undemanding in nonsexual realms as well, such as politics and the marketplace. In fact, works describing women’s natural and normal attributes produced for female consumption rarely directly address sexuality; they naturalize selfeffacement, passivity, and tractability vis-à-vis other elements of behavior, in part because to address sexuality would already be to expose their readership to sexual pollution (Yeazell 51–71). As a result, the new construct of female sexuality invaded all elements of natural, normal female behavior and thought processes. It then became easy to contain women’s demands for equality by dismissing women making such demands as inadequately self-effacing and as therefore unnatural. That politically vocal women were dismissed as sexually and hence socially abnormal demonstrates that in a period long before Freud’s, sexuality and a gendered libido were treated as the key motivators in personality and hence in the ways individuals melded with larger sociopolitical structures. The political situation in this era furthered the sexualization of women’s participation in public, political discourse. According to Linda

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Colley, for instance, the increased discussion about and shifts in gender roles occurred at this period because of the outbreak of an increasingly radical revolution in a nation [France] viewed as peculiarly “feminine” and susceptible to female in›uence, and because of the active participation of women in the early stages of that revolution and the well-publicized fate of Marie-Antoinette—it was scarcely surprising that pre-existing anxieties about the position of women should have become still more intense in Britain after the war with France broke out in 1793. (Quoted in Binhammer 413) These sentiments accompanied a perception that Britain was undergoing a moral crisis, seemingly corroborated by a perceived increase in adultery trials brought by husbands, along with a rise in prostitution in London (Binhammer 414). This crisis may have been more felt than actual, and the rise in numbers, if veri‹able, could re›ect heightened awareness and reporting of problems, the criminalization of situations previously tolerated or considered merely private. More attention to adultery trials and prostitution, in other words, might signal the increased symbolic importance of adultery and prostitution because of fears about national security. Whenever a group—a kinship group or nationality, for instance— feels its borders threatened, it polices borders it can control, ‹guratively purging itself of impurities. And the easiest borders to police—those traditionally policed—are those constituted by female sexuality (Armstrong 23; Boose esp. 64–68; Eberle 123; Watson 9–11). The patrilineal structure of British inheritance made policing borders represented by female sexuality particularly important: keeping classes pure depended on women’s functioning as reliable conduits for husbands’ bloodlines and, thereby, for their lands and titles.15 Samuel Johnson makes this clear when he argues that a woman’s adultery is a crime not just against her husband but against society as a whole: “Consider . . . of what importance to society the chastity of women is”; “Confusion of progeny constitutes the essence of the crime [of adultery]” because “the unchastity of a woman transfers [property] from the rightful owner” (quoted in Poovey 5–6; Thomas 209; Poovey 6).16 If a husband mistook bastard offspring for his own, his estate and any title he might have could pass not only out of his legitimate line but perhaps out of his class as well. An adulterous woman could scandalously blur class lines, destroying the hierarchical class structure. And it was not only women who intentionally indulged in illicit sexuality who were seen as thus threatening. Those seduced or even raped were believed to become sexually insatiable (Todd 116). Although women’s sexuality was argued to be “naturally” passive, it was simultaneously held as a force that could

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become overpowering if roused. A woman might develop a sexual appetite after a sexual crime committed against her and become sexually criminal herself and therefore as potentially destructive to the social structure as the woman whose appetite needed no such awakening. Given the overdetermination of female sexuality in the 1790s, it is not surprising that with fears about Britain’s moral integrity and very survival as a nation running rampant, writers of both genders across the political spectrum linked nations’ welfare to female chastity. Wollstonecraft, despite having already lived unmarried with Imlay, for instance, blamed Sweden’s imperfect state on its generally low sexual morality (Binhammer 418 n. 26).17 Female manners were made central to Britain’s well-being by “a wide spectrum of women writers” from radicals to religious conservatives (Myers 201). Following the French Revolution, any slippage from female modesty or chastity could be represented as treasonous, threatening to the survival of civilized—British—society itself (Eberle 123; Yeazell 23). The ubiquity of discourses linking countries’ welfare and female chastity would have made novelists well aware of the social and political issues at stake in tolerating female sexual slippage, and it cannot be a coincidence that not only Wollstonecraft, Hays, and Robinson but likewise novelists Mary Anne Radcliffe, Laetitia-Matilda Hawkins, Hannah More, and others on both sides of republican and feminist issues participated in these other discourses. It should then come as no surprise that even those writers calling for lenience toward illicit female sexuality did not call simply for greater sexual freedom for women. They were not concerned simply with sex in and of itself; given their awareness of the period’s tendency to sexualize women’s political claims, their permissiveness toward illicit female sexuality must likewise be seen as political, inviting examination of the political, social, and economic issues they address through their treatment of fallen female characters. revolution and the radicality of lenience toward the ruined woman If we accept that most female novelists gave in to “ideologically enforced capitulation” to prescribed plots (Cullens 268), rewarding passive, passionless women and punishing their more appetitive sisters with social banishment or death, then Jane Austen must seem lenient toward Lydia Bennet Wickham in Pride and Prejudice, as does Charlotte Smith toward Lady Adelina in Emmeline: Lydia has premarital relations with Wickham but gets to marry, not die; and Lady Adelina gets pregnant by her extramarital lover but is able to marry him, if she so chooses, after her husband dies. But Mary Robinson’s The Natural Daughter much more explicitly sympathizes with women who slip, by showing through its

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treatment of its secondary female protagonist, Lady Susan, that some slip by accident. She is, after all, unknowingly premaritally sexually active, having been forced into marriage as the only means of preserving her life and consummating the relationship because believing, at least temporarily, that the marriage was valid. She may be excusable, but her reproductive system cannot differentiate between guilt and victimization to save her reputation; she becomes pregnant. Because she lacks a husband, her pregnancy marks her as fallen, so her family repudiates her. She gives birth in a cottage where she is discovered, incognita, by Martha; when Martha offers to tend the baby for a few hours, Lady Susan ›ees, abandoning her child to ease her social reincorporation. While not intentionally guilty, Lady Susan suffers as much as if she were. She mourns leaving her child, and, because her family repudiates her, she must make a living on her own, a dif‹cult proposition for women in this period. She works as a traveling actress, ‹lling an occupation that, despite the increased respect garnered by the theater and actors over the course of the century, remained comparable to prostitution at the century’s end, re›ecting her social status once she has slipped.18 And Martha’s experiences match and overlap with Lady Susan’s. After she adopts the abandoned child, Morley returns from a trip abroad, suspects the child is Martha’s by some other man, and so kicks her out of her marital home, upon which her family disowns her. She too then must become self-supporting and ends up joining acting forces with Lady Susan. Martha’s dif‹culties ‹nding and keeping a job to stay alive, dif‹culties on which the novel dwells at length and that I discuss in the next section of this chapter, exemplify those that come to women who slip sexually, just as Lady Susan’s do. By linking Martha’s and Lady Susan’s experiences, The Natural Daughter invites the reader to compare the reasons for their problems and to conclude that both are relatively innocent, undeserving of their suffering, in part by directing attention to guilt residing elsewhere: to the cause of their woes, Martha’s husband, Morley, who turns out to be Lady Susan’s seducer and the father of the child he believes to be Martha’s by another man. He is extravagantly licentious, malicious, and ruinous. After marrying Martha, after all, he has relationships not only with Lady Susan but also with Martha’s sister, Julia. And when Julia bears him a child, he supplies the poison to have it murdered. Yet he thrives socially to such an extent that he is able to go on seducing, at least until the end of the novel, when he falls off a cliff and, horribly mangled, dies. Through the novel’s title, which seems to refer to Lady Susan’s bastard daughter, Robinson evokes the cultural view that female adultery is criminal because women’s offspring’s paternity is uncertain, and she stresses this view through Morley’s demands that Martha tell him who

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fathered the child. By her treatment of these characters, however, Robinson rejects Johnson’s pronouncements. No woman in this novel cheats on her own husband in producing the work’s bastard child, so its conception and birth wrong no husband. Robinson inverts the conventional eighteenth-century view to show that the victims of adultery are equally likely to be women: here, not only Lady Susan but also Martha, who is generally taken to be the child’s mother. Martha’s musings when Lady Susan originally abandons her child argue that women who judge erring women harshly are perhaps as much to blame as are adulterous husbands, certainly more to blame than the women who err. Their judgment leads unwed mothers to prefer abandoning offspring to suffering the consequences of being known to have slipped; female gossip then causes unwed mothers to betray their maternal role to keep body and soul together. And The Natural Daughter, throughout an indictment of hypocrisy, suggests that the women who judge most harshly are clear in reputation only, simply more adept at hiding their adultery than is Lady Susan. Robinson stresses how guilty judgmental women are in her 1797 Walsingham as well, arguing that even women guiltier of sexual slippage than Lady Susan might recover their morality were it not for the treatment they receive from luckier women. One character there asserts that women [who] err . . . are generally victims of credulity, affection, or . . . childish vanity. But credulity soon awakes from her delusive dream, affection sickens by neglect and insult; and vanity grows weary of her most brilliant atchievements [sic]; the wanderer then . . . retreads the path which she was tempted to abandon. . . . Then comes the busy demon—calumny; . . . the envious and obdurate of her sex . . . unite in a terri‹c phalanx, by taunts and persecutions to drive her back to ruin. (2:174–75) In Walsingham, Robinson suggests that, driven out of respectable jobs, many such women must turn to prostitution to survive, although Martha avoids this last fate in The Natural Daughter. In presenting women’s slippage thus, Robinson foresees responses to Lord Auckland’s unsuccessful 1800 anti-adultery bill, which would have prevented adulterous wives from marrying their lovers after divorce; the Duke of Clarence, for instance, felt the bill “contained no provision for the poor unfortunate female who should fall a victim to her own vanity, or weakness” because she couldn’t wed the man “whose arts had beguiled her of virtue,” and he felt this left prostitution as her only means of subsistence (quoted in Binhammer 431). By suggesting that a woman’s own vanity need not be the sole or main cause of her fall, the bill’s detractors break the link between vanity—one kind of lack of modesty—and chastity—the

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loss of which frequently is represented as following any lapse of modesty. Ruth Bernard Yeazell suggests that retaining that link is more common in this period in which “the idea that modesty was not a ‘sexual virtue’ clearly represented a minority position. . . . [F]emale modesty [was held to be], in the words of one anti-Jacobin tract, ‘the last barrier of civilized society’” (8, 23). By arguing that women who slip should be allowed to recuperate their sexual, social, and moral reputations and lives, Robinson explicitly expresses greater tolerance toward extramaritally sexually active women than do novels such as Pride and Prejudice and Emmeline: while Lydia gets the reward of more strictly well-behaved heroines, she is presented as unrecuperable in terms of female morality, propriety, and socialization after all; and while Lady Adelina fares better, she characterizes herself as too “ruined” from her affair to marry her lover.19 She asks no exculpation for what she asserts is her guilt, and no one contradicts her, although we are left believing she will marry him. The Natural Daughter suggests that Lady Susan is not guilty, and in Walsingham, Robinson forgives her more appetitive sisters as well, as long as they remain free from hypocrisy. Given the period’s belief that female sexuality was uncontrollable once incorrectly roused, whether a woman indulged in illicit sexuality willingly or not should make no difference: either might go on to criminally unbounded licentiousness. That Lady Susan does not enables the novel to challenge such a view of female sexuality. The political nature of this sympathy for females’ sexual lapses is foregrounded through reference to the French Revolution—speci‹cally, through Robinson’s tying the wicked characters in The Natural Daughter to those who, through leading the Reign of Terror, betrayed the original impetus of the revolution; through so doing, Robinson makes social critique into political critique. When Morley has his illegitimate child with Julia killed, for instance, he proves just as capable as Marat of advocating the murder of others (although Marat, in his position of power, sanctioned killing many more than Morley has killed). Furthermore, Marat is similar to Morley in being responsible for ruining the hopes of many—women, especially—when he could be argued to have usurped fatherhood—taken illegitimate parentage—of the Revolution, as the Montagnards took over from the Girondins. And Julia is as depraved as Morley: she is instrumental in convincing Morley that Martha has borne her adopted child out of wedlock, leading to Martha’s ejection from her marital home; and she later has her mother, Mrs. Bradford, locked in a madhouse to keep her from impeding Julia’s irregular sex life, preceding by a year the similar incarceration of Wollstonecraft’s better-known Maria. Then, when Morley ‹nally ends his liaison with Julia, she moves from his bed to Robespierre’s.

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By linking such characters with the Reign of Terror, Robinson suggests that their behavior and treatment of others are equivalent to the Terror’s betrayal of the better impulses of the French Revolution. While the Revolution stood in part for rejecting a social structure bene‹tting those wellborn, regardless of their behavior, Morley and the fashionable women with whom he fraternizes, for instance, abuse their privileged position, theirs by accidents of birth. In addition, Julia’s betrayal of Martha, based as it is in a desire to secure footing in the privileged classes above the bourgeois class into which she was born, depends on the retention of the class structure for her rise to be meaningful; her competition with, rather than feelings of sororité toward, her sister is as inimical to revolutionary sentiments as is Morley’s voracious, murderous, and jealous sexuality. Robinson by extension aligns her more moral characters—speci‹cally, honest but vulnerable women, a category that includes not only Martha and Lady Susan but also Mrs. Bradford—with the better originary impulses of the French Revolution, which included a call for the rights of women, those impulses betrayed by Marat, Robespierre, and their adherents. Mrs. Bradford’s incarceration in a madhouse repeats and alludes to Lady Susan’s imprisonment in the Abbaye, and through these two female characters’ imprisonment, Robinson deploys a trope used by Jacobins to signal the tyranny practiced by those in power, who are then represented as denying liberty to all. She in fact does so even earlier in the novel; not long after Martha and Morley’s marriage, Martha balks at doing something that her husband wants her to do but that goes against her conscience. He tells her then, “Remember that it is your husband who commands, and I conjure you to obey” (1:108). She replies, tellingly, “Then women, from the moment that they marry, do not submit to personal captivity only? . . . I detest the thought” (1:109). The novel also contains a scene in which “Morley locks Martha in a London hotel room just weeks before they are both incarcerated in a Paris prison” (Setzer 541). Through use of this Jacobin trope, Robinson politicizes these personal relationships, something we will see repeated in Inchbald’s Nature and Art and Hays’s The Victim of Prejudice.20 By linking her evil characters to Marat and Robespierre in part through their voraciously licentious sexuality, a sexuality that results in the displacement and imprisonment of innocent women, Robinson further suggests that women’s sexual slippage is more likely based in their easy victimization than in their own depravity. And through showing where depravity truly lies, Robinson treats such victimized women as needing rights that would have been theirs (in France, at least) had early revolutionary movements succeeded in feminist aims, granting women status as full citizens. Miss Street’s 1793 The Recluse of the Appenines links forgiveness of

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extramarital sexuality to revolution even more explicitly. Overt revolutionary stances make up the story of the male protagonist, Ferdinand de Rohilla, and his father, Don Pedro. As the novel opens, Ferdinand accompanies his father into exile in the Apennines; Don Pedro had represented the local underclass in their complaints against the injustices of the governor of Castille, but the king, as abusively despotic as the governor, had sided with his governor, dispossessed Don Pedro of his lands, and declared him a traitor. Ferdinand too sides with the downtrodden rather than the ruling classes; as his story progresses, he ‹ghts on the side of Spain in Mexico, but after meeting the deposed Mexican prince, Ferdinand switches allegiance, deserting the group he sees as the oppressors. As in The Natural Daughter, here too scenes and tales of revolution get linked to stories of women’s sexual slips. Before Ferdinand leaves for Mexico, while he is in the Apennines, he and his father observe the local peasantry who are presented in Rousseauian terms as naturally good, not having developed the decadent hypocrisy and ambitions of more “civilized” parts of the Old World. Ferdinand meets a shepherdess, Luxuna, who is as ignorant of the world and thus as innocently pure as the rest of the locals. He teaches her to read and write; falls in love with her; and, as he sees it, seduces her. While he castigates himself for this wickedness, Luxuna sees nothing wrong in their actions and considers herself besides a willing participant; child of nature rather than society, she sees no reason not to act on her feelings. And the novel endorses her view; rather than being punished by death or at least social condemnation or selfloathing, Luxuna receives the reward traditionally lavished on strictly virtuous heroines only: she gets to marry the man she loves, who ultimately brings with him fortune and status. She also becomes reunited with her true, wellborn parents by the novel’s end, themselves reunited by Ferdinand, and is thereby promoted from poor peasant status to the illustrious family standing and fortune that is rightfully hers by birth. In treating Luxuna’s sexuality thus leniently, The Recluse of the Appenines goes further than The Natural Daughter in breaking from the period’s consensual version of femininity. In so doing, Street takes a stance toward female sexuality that is at least as socially and politically radical as is Robinson’s. In The Natural Daughter, Robinson to some extent supports the sanctioned view of femininity: Lady Susan is not sexually active by choice, while Julia is unnaturally viciously appetitive in every way. The novel thereby suggests that a “good” woman’s illicit sexuality occurs only through victimization or a culpability that is not sexually criminal, being rooted in credulity or vanity. Only her more appetitive sister need be considered criminal in fact. While Robinson departs from sanctioned views by suggesting that seduced women do not then become criminally sexual, Street goes further by suggesting that a woman

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who condones her own premarital sexual activity may also not be criminally sexually active; she may not threaten the social structure through later lapses in chastity. By presenting Luxuna as monogamous, Street breaks not only from conventional splits between women as pure or as fallen and inhuman but also from Robinson’s split between good women as victimized by extramarital sexual activity and bad women as intentionally indulging in it. Luxuna’s marriage crosses no class boundaries, so the novel might seem no more pitched against the class system than others about false Cinderellas, such as Emmeline and Burney’s Evelina, in which the heroine seems born into a class well below that of the man who eventually marries her but is discovered to be highborn after all and so not raised in status simply through marriage. What makes Street’s novel socially subversive nonetheless is its allowing its heroine a sexuality elsewhere treated as dangerous in part precisely for its potential to undermine the class system. The radical aspect of this sexuality is underscored by Luxuna’s story’s being depicted alongside overt revolutionary politics. By pairing the story of a heroine who is sexually active before marriage and still fares sensationally with one in which male characters ‹ght despots to support the rights of the oppressed, the novel suggests that Luxuna’s attitudes and behaviors and their outcome are as revolutionary as are Don Pedro’s and Ferdinand’s beliefs and actions. Presenting her as a Rousseauian innocent native further underlines the revolutionary nature of her behavior since Rousseau was, as Burke put it, “a ‹gure ‘next in sanctity to that of a father’” for the Revolution (quoted in Watson 6 n. 11). Again, my point here is not that the era’s heroine-centered novels must grant heroines sexual freedom to be revolutionary. The Recluse of the Appenines, like The Natural Daughter, need not—indeed does not— highlight women’s right to active sexual freedom to imply that its heroine’s sexuality is transgressive. By raising the issue of extramarital sexuality but looking primarily away from sex itself, these novels make clear that such sexuality is important for what it represents in less individual, personal terms: a transgression of the social order that could destroy it. That the issue is a call not for sexual freedom but rather for what transgressive sexuality represents in other terms is highlighted where heroines unexpectedly rewarded are illegitimate rather than illicitly sexually active themselves. They thus bear the sign of other women’s—mothers’—unrestrained sexual appetites. In the logic of the period, any connection with illicit sexuality made a woman unreliable as a conduit for the transferral of property between males in the period’s patrilineal system; illegitimate daughters were seen as carrying the seed of wayward sexuality, as though sexual depravity were genetic. In part for this reason, in many of the period’s novels—in Evelina and Emmeline, for

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instance, along with Edgeworth’s 1812 The Absentee, in which the issue of female sexual reproachability’s being passed from mother to daughter is explicitly addressed—heroines suspected of illegitimacy are proved in the end to have been conceived and born in wedlock after all.21 A truly illegitimate heroine should be as little likely as one who is sexually active to receive heroines’ conventional rewards; such a woman represents, after all, the same potential for the sexual laxness that can lead to social chaos as does the premaritally sexually active woman. Works with heroines of illegitimate birth themselves therefore make it even clearer that the issue at stake is the survival of the class-striated social structure rather than a call for greater sexual freedom for women in and of itself. Such is the case in Miss A. Kendall’s 1798 Derwent Priory, in which the heroine conceived and born out of wedlock is as well rewarded as any heroine. This work contains the marriage plots of two female protagonists: the wellborn, wealthy Lady Laura Merioneth and the illegitimate, relatively fortuneless Miss Rutland. Lady Laura, about to come of age, marries Mr. Clifford, though his fortune and status are well below her own: he is the son of a banker of compromised fortune. This marriage represents a threat to strict class boundaries, allowing as it does the incursion of the bourgeois classes into the realm of the aristocracy, which is highlighted by her relatives’ protests against this match. More threateningly crossing class lines is Miss Rutland’s marriage to Lady Laura’s cousin Lord Merioneth, heir to the family estate. Both Miss Rutland’s parents were wellborn, so had she been legitimate, the match would not radically cross class boundaries. But given her birth, not only could she be assumed to bring potential destructive sexuality to the match, but she is herself casteless, having no legitimate claim to her parents’ class. The novel attempts to disarm her illegitimacy by revealing late that her parents had been wed by a Catholic priest when her mother was pregnant. But there is nothing to suggest that this marriage took place before 1753, when Lord Hardwicke’s Marriage Act came into effect. Thereafter, for a marriage to be legal, parental consent had to be given for those under twenty-one; banns had to be published; and, unless Quakers or Jews, the couple had to be united in a regularized ceremony conducted by an Anglican clergyman. Miss Rutland’s parents’ union cannot be held as an informal, irregular, but binding marriage, as it might have had it occurred before the 1753 Marriage Act came into effect; as they never then went through a legal marriage ceremony, Miss Rutland therefore remains irredeemably illegitimate. None of the novels I have discussed thus far follows up on the potential threat to the class system represented by their rewarding illicit female sexuality and its products; the heroines themselves remain chaste despite any previous slips of their own or of their mothers, so no further slippage

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or scandalous class crossing down the line gets suggested. Yet that this female sexuality gets presented and rewarded in this age in which the ideological effect of novels was widely recognized and discussed, and that this sexuality gets tied to explicit crossing of class lines or discussion or portrayal of revolution, foreground the subversive, radical nature of these novels’ treatments of their heroines. the illegitimacy of women in the public realm By focusing on illegitimacy, The Natural Daughter highlights ways women are wronged because they, rather than men, show signs of illicit sexual activity, and it is joined in this by Inchbald’s Nature and Art and Hays’s The Victim of Prejudice. In this grouping of novels, illegitimacy is treated increasingly metaphorically, getting used to re›ect women’s cultural and economic status when they try to act as self-suf‹cient individuals. Of the three works in quesion, illegitimacy seems least metaphoric in Nature and Art, because the sexual fall of Hannah Primrose and the presence of the illegitimate child she bears very much shape Hannah’s story. Actual illegitimacy seems to diminish in signi‹cance in The Victim of Prejudice and The Natural Daughter; nonetheless, the stories of these novels’ female protagonists resemble Hannah’s. While the importance of actual illegitimacy is downplayed, The Victim of Prejudice and The Natural Daughter still rely on it in their representation of the treatment their female protagonists receive. As this occurs, attention is directed to the female protagonists’ self-reliance; the trace of illegitimacy that remains demonstrates the sexual taint associated with such female self-reliance.22 Much of Nature and Art progresses through the divergent fates and attitudes of two brothers, Henry and William, and the brothers’ sons, each named after his father. Both Henrys are naive and good-hearted and remain fairly poor; both Williams are manipulative, sel‹sh, and socially successful. The lower-class Hannah Primrose enters their story when she attracts the second-generation William, who seduces, impregnates, and abandons her, without even allowing her Lady Susan’s excuse of mistakenly believing herself married. Hannah leaves her child to die, but when she discovers that it has been saved, she claims it and refuses to give it up, although parting with it is the condition of support from her seducer’s family. She does not, in other words, allow a desire for social reabsorption to interfere with her maternal bond, as Robinson’s Martha realizes Lady Susan must; Hannah is either more maternally virtuous or more naive than the female protagonists of The Natural Daughter. Furthermore, Hannah is not the actress that Lady Susan becomes; her bearing, along with the presence of her child, give away her condition and make it extremely hard for her to ‹nd jobs: “her child, her dejected looks, her

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broken sentences, a wildness in her eye, a kind of bold despair which at times overspread her features, her imperfect story, who and what she was, prejudiced all those to whom she applied” (2:87–88). She gets a job tending cattle for a farmer, hard work she is able to retain until the farmer dies. In part because of her “doubtful manner” (2:97), she can get no other job in the area and so goes to London. There, her lack of skills ‹tting respectable city work, coupled with her prettiness, make ‹nding employment dif‹cult; her youthful beauty makes well-bred women especially hesitant to employ her, seeing her as sexually tempting to male family members. One woman does hire her—albeit at very low rates—but when she learns Hannah has a child, she ‹res her for her sexually volatility. By no means irredeemable but desperate, she becomes a maid at a brothel: Her feelings of rectitude submitted to those of hunger; her principles of virtue (which the loss of virtue had not destroyed) received a shock when she engaged to be the abettor of vice, from which her delicacy, morality, and religion shrunk; but persons of honour and of reputation would not employ her: was she then to perish? That perhaps was easy to resolve; but she had a child to leave behind! (2:106) From there, she internalizes others’ intolerance and inevitably becomes a prostitute, reasoning, “Why . . . should I ungratefully persist to contemn women, who alone are so kind as to accept me for a companion? Why refuse conformity to their customs, since none of my sex besides will admit me to their society a partaker of theirs?” (2:111) She then sinks to begging—here presented as below prostitution—and then, from neediness, becomes a forger. She gets caught and is sentenced to death by a magistrate who turns out, coincidentally, to be her seducer. Her son, lacking parental care, then dies. Nature and Art, like The Natural Daughter, indicts the hypocrisy that allows seducers to thrive while their victims suffer, but this is only one form of hypocrisy that Inchbald targets in this thoroughgoing Jacobin satire, and it is developed primarily in the second half of the novel. It is perhaps for these two reasons that Hannah’s story has rarely been the main focus of critical discussion of this novel, having at times been seen as constituting a ›aw in what some critics identify as the real purpose of the novel, the focus on two generations of Williams and Henrys (Maurer xxi–xxii). In such a view of the novel, Hannah’s treatment at the hands of her seducer is but one instance among many of a travesty of “the Burkean ideal of paternalism” (Ty, Unsex’d 107), that model of power and responsibility that anchors and justi‹es the late eighteenth-century British social structure.23 As such, critical focus has primarily been

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directed to noting what the episode reveals about William and “the values of the social structures and systems he exempli‹es” (Ty, Unsex’d 107), his ability to manipulate Hannah thanks both to his superior mastery of language and to his privileged social class, which lead Hannah to believe he will stand by his word to be true to her (Ty, Unsex’d 106–8; Maurer xix–xxvii; Scheuermann 189). Both that mastery of language and high class status allow William to be excused while Hannah is not; she is exiled to a vulnerability that leads, ultimately, to her execution, while for William, the episode is dismissed as “an affair of some little gallantry” (quoted in Maurer xxviii).24 In such a schema, Hannah’s wrongs are obviously signi‹cant, but because the focus is directed more toward the target than the victim of the satire, these discussions do not ask what is either unusual or perhaps absolutely predictable about Hannah’s fate. As we have seen, that a female character should die after seduction is perhaps more to be expected than otherwise, since literary convention establishes that fallen women must be cleared from the narrative before the social integration of remaining characters is celebrated at a novel’s conclusion. What remains unusual about Inchbald’s treatment of Hannah, however, is both her lengthy elaboration both of Hannah’s attempts and then failure to make an honest living and of the role her child plays in this fate. In great part it is the presence of her child (along with the naiveté/morality that prevents her from acting more “pure” than she is) that marks her as sexually criminal, despite readerly ability to judge her as more of a victim than a perpetrator of a sexual crime. Despite the sympathy that Nature and Art engenders for Hannah, its plotline accepts Hannah’s culpability for committing the social crime of extramarital sexual activity, making her imprisonment and ‹nal death before the plot’s closure ‹tting in a culture (literary and otherwise) intolerant of sexual lapses in women. Much more unusual is Wollstonecraft’s Maria, in allowing the illegitimate ex-prostitute Jemima, the fallen Maria, and Maria’s daughter to survive in a caring, supportive union—at least in one of that un‹nished novel’s possible endings. Both because that novel is so frequently discussed and because it works via a quite different argument than the one to which this chapter is dedicated, rather than examining it here, I will turn instead to Hays’s The Victim of Prejudice, in which, again, the unusual presence of the fruit of extramarital sexual activity signi‹cantly shapes the action. This novel recounts the trials that come to Mary Raymond, a woman connected to illicit sexuality as offspring of her mother’s seduction and as the victim of rape. She never becomes criminally sexually active herself, but connected to illicit sexuality as she is through birth and victimization, she suffers as much as if she

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did, and she does so in precisely those ways that she might be expected to suffer had she committed the crimes of which she is in fact the victim. From the outset, Mary’s situation seems more promising than Hannah’s in that she is raised by a clergyman, Raymond, who gives her his name, educates her well, and ensures that she has a fortune, albeit not a large one; she thus seems less susceptible to the seduction and ‹nancial neediness that together undo Hannah. Her illegitimacy, however, prevents William Pelham, her suitor, from marrying her; his father, the Honourable Mr. Pelham, insists that his “family honour . . . had been preserved uncontaminated for many generations, and it was his pride that it should descend unsullied to posterity” (8). Mary’s sexual attractiveness, along with her undesirability on the marriage market, leave her as vulnerable as was Hannah. Unable to claim the protection of the man she loves, Mary’s situation deteriorates when Raymond dies and she passes to the care of the Nevilles. Her victimization gains momentum when she gives her fortune, anonymously, to the Nevilles, who lose their income through the conniving of Sir Peter Osborne, who aims to seduce her. Her gift enables them to take the only job offered them, which is located abroad. The Nevilles’ resultant distance renders them ineffectual as guardians, which is all part of Sir Peter’s plan to bring her, helpless, into his hands. She ends up trapped in his house, where he rapes her and she loses her intellects. Once she recovers and escapes, she tries working to survive but is driven from respectable employment because, like Hannah, she is persistently represented as sexually harmful, a seductress rather than victim of rape. As Eleanor Ty notes in her introduction to The Victim of Prejudice, Mary’s being raped and temporarily losing her mind reiterate Richardson’s Clarissa’s experiences; her surviving to suffer through trying to make her own way afterward revises Richardson’s plot, shifting emphasis from questions of Mary’s morality, which is irrelevant in her world, to feminist social issues, showing the dif‹culty a woman has making her own way once fallen through either seduction or rape. This becomes clear in Mary’s series of attempts to ‹nd and retain paid employment. She is ‹rst almost hired as a young woman’s companion, but due to Sir Peter’s interference, she is refused, her potential employer saying she’s been told Mary’s story—but a version in which Mary was a willing party to her “seduction.” She must refuse to hire Mary, she says, “to prevent the probable mischiefs which might ensue from the admission of a young woman of such a description into an innocent and respectable family” (135). Mary ‹nds work drawing, but her employer, again thinking her a willing partner to her earlier sexual experience, propositions her, so she ›ees, horri‹ed. Another young woman almost

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hires her as traveling companion but then is told that Mary’s residence with her would be “improper,” as Mary’s situation is “in a great degree, wilful”; the woman dismisses Mary, saying that “had she found [Mary] either traduced or reclaimable, she would have been [Mary’s] friend” (145). Wherever Mary looks for work, she learns that “dif‹culties almost insuperable, . . . peculiar to my sex, my age, and my unfortunate situation, opposed themselves to my efforts on every side” (141). She is imprisoned twice for debt when she refuses to accept marriage or other ‹nancial aid from her rapist. Although raped, not seduced, and therefore not criminal as her mother was, Mary comes to see her woes as deriving from her link to her mother’s criminality—especially the seduction that leaves Mary illegitimate. She recognizes that she suffers nearly as much, and in much the same ways, as her mother did, and comes to see her tie with her mother, in other words, as responsible for her extremely similar fate. Yet the chains of events that lead to their suffering are utterly divergent. The protagonist’s mother, also named Mary, was “softened into imbecility” (63) by a luxurious upbringing; she was then easily seduced, and after her lover abandoned her, she realized she was pregnant. She fell into viciousness when kept from “return[ing] to virtue” by those, including her parents, who saw her as irretrievably fallen (66). A friend of her seducer’s took her in and seduced her in his turn, but after she gave birth to Mary, he too abandoned her, and by then, “evil communication, habits of voluptuous extravagance, despair of retrieving a blasted fame, gradually sti›ed the declining struggles of virtue; while the libertine manner of those, of whom I was now compelled to be the associate, advanced the corruption” (65). She fell deeper into vice until found drunk and holding the arm of one man while another stabbed him, at which point she was imprisoned for abetting in the murder and then executed. The heroine’s mother—the ‹rst Mary—makes it clear that, as in Hannah’s case, her original fall did not signal her complete viciousness but rather led others to see her as so fallen that they drove her into viciousness; as she explains, “Society, . . . by opposing to my return to virtue almost insuperable barriers, had plunged me into irremediable ruin” (66). She presents this as a gendered situation; a man, she suggests, would neither ‹nd his return to respectability barred nor become as capable as a woman of falling into utter viciousness. She exclaims, “Despair shuts not against [man] every avenue to repentance; despair drives him not from human sympathies; despair hurls him not from hope, from pity, from life’s common charities, to plunge him into desperate, damned, guilt” (67). The second Mary is clearly guilty of none of her mother’s weaknesses or crimes. She nonetheless ‹nds the same bars placed to her social recuperation and comes to believe that she is “involved, as by a fatal mecha-

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nism, in the infamy of my wretched mother, thrown into similar circumstances”—poverty and prison. She is aware of her innocence, but it does her little material good; as she notes, “I have still the consolation of remembering that I suffered not despair to plunge my soul in crime . . . but it avails me not!” Despite her rectitude, she “sink[s] beneath a torrent, whose resistless waves overwhelm alike in a common ruin the guiltless and the guilty” (168). That she is not criminal, being one step removed from the actual criminal sexuality (and murder-abetting) of her mother, makes her trials and others’ judgments on her seem the harsher. Her illegitimacy leads in great part to her original vulnerability. The link between others’ judgments of her and her unprotected, necessitous status, however, suggests that it is precisely that status, rather than her illegitimacy itself, that makes her sexually suspect. Women alone, the novel suggests, must be sexually criminal. The Natural Daughter takes this logic yet further, especially in Martha’s story. Martha is neither extramaritally sexually active nor illegitimate but is only assumed to be the mother of the illegitimate child she ‹nds. She too is hounded from legitimate protection and forced to make her own living; and, as this novel too demonstrates, such women are least permitted to do so. Where Mary Raymond refuses to disguise her identity, believing that as she has done no wrong she should not need to hide who she is, the more savvy Martha takes a pseudonym to get and retain a job. She is nonetheless driven from jobs because dogged by rumors that she has mothered her adoptive child. This occurs when she works as lady’s companion and again when she becomes a traveling actress, joining Lady Susan, who has also taken a pseudonym. In the latter case, it is Martha’s sister, Julia, who spreads rumors about her fallen status, leading to Martha’s being drummed off the stage. We see what we’ve learned elsewhere: that women, even if wellborn, suffer if lacking the protection of birth or marital family. The situation is worse if the unprotected woman is illegitimate, as is the case of Hays’s Mary Raymond, but earlier novels whose heroines are legitimate and of good family focus primarily on their heroines’ sexual rather than economic vulnerability once left unprotected by parents or husbands; few focus on problems coming to women who must labor to survive. Sarah Fielding’s David Simple and Wollstonecraft’s Maria show that for wellborn women, working as a lady’s companion or governess was not enviable and that working as a milliner or mantua-maker meant moving down the social ladder; the latter novel shows too through Jemima’s narrative that the working life of the poor could be terrible. But I know of no earlier book—none perhaps before Burney’s 1814 The Wanderer— that shows the dif‹culties of “respectable” wellborn women who must work—certainly not at length, in the story of the female protagonist.25

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In fact the issue in The Natural Daughter is not that the jobs themselves are hard and demeaning but rather that Martha, willing to do anything moral, cannot keep even the worst jobs she accepts and that these jobs continually become sexualized, no matter what they are. It is likewise noteworthy that Martha loses her jobs on the basis of rumor alone; unlike Hannah Primrose, Martha gives the baby into others’ care and so does not have it along to signal her ostensible sexual criminality. The difference suggests that Martha’s sexual reputation is metaphoric for her status as a woman moving in the public sphere, no matter how chaste she might actually be. Early on, after all, Martha recognizes that keeping an illegitimate baby is a detriment, which she makes clear in noting that Lady Susan must abandon her child if she wishes to be employable (89–91); she recognizes that a woman who has fallen, willingly or not, must betray her maternal role if she wants to keep herself alive. Martha’s mistake is allowing herself to be connected, even through adoption, to an illegitimate child. In fact, this “natural daughter” virtually disappears from the story in part because once Martha is kicked out of her marital home, she lets the baby be adopted by someone else. It reappears perhaps twice, but otherwise, Martha rarely even thinks about it; her thoughts when Lady Susan abandons it are more with the mother’s welfare than with the child’s (although her adopting the child shows her obvious concern for it). Focus thus shifts from the child onto its mother ‹gures: the real mother who abandons it, hiding her connection with it to survive; and the adoptive mother, who of course suffers. The two women are linked, partly through their maternal roles to the baby; partly through their both taking pseudonyms, highlighting that both are independent and solitary, de‹ned neither by original nor marital family; and partly through their working together in a job that foregrounds their sexual, borderline status vis-à-vis their culture. That they are linked further directs attention away from the illegitimate child onto the women who suffer because it has been born, or, better said, fathered out of wedlock. The novel, after all, is composed of these two women’s similar stories; there is little of the baby’s tale in the text. The infant brings the two together and forces them into an independent and precarious position, but once attention ceases to be drawn to the child itself, its illegitimacy becomes precisely a metaphor for their position. Because Martha is consistently seen by others as sexually criminal, as the mother of an actual illegitimate child, her status need perhaps not be seen as simply metaphorically illegitimate. Virtually no one knows that Lady Susan has been sexually criminal, albeit inadvertently, however; and that Martha and Lady Susan are linked—that Lady Susan is thought innocent and Martha actually is so—suggests that what is truly troubling to their

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culture is the independence they have in common, however unsought it may be, and their need to provide for themselves. Women unde‹ned by others, bearing neither fathers’ nor husbands’ names, are treated as illegitimate, and working to keep themselves alive is presented as unlicensed and as so intolerable that they are driven out of respectable means of selfreliance. That self-reliant women are seen as illegitimate, criminal in ways speci‹cally linked with illicit sexuality, becomes clear as one examines what happens to Martha in jobs she takes after leaving acting, jobs that are not obviously sexually suspect. As in The Victim of Prejudice, Martha’s reputation continually interferes. She loses her job as a girls’ schoolteacher when it becomes known she was an actress and so sexually suspect. She tries selling her writing to a bookseller but ceases when he tries to make her his mistress and boasts to others that he already has; she refuses to prostitute herself to survive. She also gives up publishing by subscription when more attention is paid to her beauty and past profession than to her writing. She learns that a woman’s authorship has little meaning or desirability unless it is marked by her bodily attractiveness, her sexuality; her mental creations can only come into the world when legitimated through sexual activity with a man who thus “fathers” her work.26 While we have become familiar with the idea that women, whose skills are suspected as being lesser than men’s, only thrive when they sleep their way to the top, that idea was less visible in the 1790s, when women did not directly compete with men for jobs. They did compete in the ‹eld of professional writing, but there, their work was quickly gendered, women in general being assumed to be most competent at writing novels. When women in earlier novels are forced to make their own way, as in Defoe’s Moll Flanders, they are explicitly criminal, and it is noteworthy that part of their criminality is sexual. The Natural Daughter is one of the earliest novels—perhaps the ‹rst—in which women trying to make their own way are seen as criminal when they are not. Martha’s losing her last job through connection with sexuality is more attenuated: she loses her position as companion to a young woman because she is kidnapped; the girl’s stepmother had planned to have the girl taken off so as to enjoy the father without interruption. To protect the girl when the kidnappers arrive, however, Martha claims to be her ward and gets taken in the girl’s place to a private madhouse. Here she ‹nds her mother, who has been locked up by Julia, who has found Mrs. Bradford an impediment to sex. Martha, in place of her ward, is treated as competition for the husband/father’s affections; it is because the girl is seen thus that the stepmother wants her removed. As in a reverse Electra complex, the mother, fearing the daughter’s seductiveness, tries to eradi-

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cate the competition. Julia works similarly, although inversely, with her mother. In both cases, female sexuality betrays mother-daughter support. Doubling the situation shows that social relations are indeed troubled in the world Robinson depicts, that even familial relations between women are endangered because female sexuality either goes out of bounds or is read as threat where it doesn’t exist; Martha’s ward is no real threat to her stepmother, as Mrs. Bradford is none to Julia. In The Natural Daughter, then, female sexuality is perceived to rage even where it does not, but when it does, it tolerates no competition, driving others to imprisonment and, at times, madness. Martha evades these as lasting fates in part because the madhouse catches on ‹re, allowing her and her mother to escape. Appropriately enough, both women’s heads had been shaved on their entering the madhouse, a punishment traditional for sexually criminal women that, in a normative sexual economy, also desexualizes them, taking away as it does one sexual allure. After this temporary incarceration and desexualization, Martha gets the protection of two characters who believe her innocent. Because she ceases being ‹nancially needy and no longer needs to pursue public self-reliance, there is no further reason to predicate her as sexually criminal, and she escapes further torment. Martha’s story fuels views that women should continue to be restricted to the home because they are incapable of fending for themselves. Women who venture out, The Natural Daughter suggests, will, after all, be viewed as criminal even if they have committed no crime. That their criminality gets cast as sexual demonstrates the persistent view that women are always “the sex,” their de‹ning feature their sexuality. The problem for women on the marketplace is that they, rather than the product or labor they have to sell, are viewed as goods to be marketed. But The Natural Daughter problematizes the issue by foregrounding it and showing women’s multiple victimization. The novel shows that some women must venture out to survive. Given the construction of the woman in public as sexually criminal, however, women most in need suffer because seen as un‹t for intercourse with “polite” society. Those made vulnerable because betrayed by family or by the patriarchal system that is supposed to look out communally for the dispossessed simply remain vulnerable. The Natural Daughter shows that in this respect the sexual double standard wrongs women socially more than it wrongs men: while a cuckolded man may not recognize that his wife’s offspring are not his, leading to his property being passed in the future to another man’s offspring, a woman whose reputation has been ruined, be it from seduction, rape, or malicious gossip, once ejected from the family, has virtually no means of surviving. That the titular illegitimate child sets these two women’s problems underway further directs

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our attention to the fact that those most wronged, where bastardy is in question, are women themselves—naive women at least—who cannot, like men and scheming women, hide their seductions and survive. They cannot drive others into a version of liberty—unprotected isolation—that is little desirable because it denies women even that limited societal protection that is theirs as long as they remain legally and ‹nancially dependent on others. That the child plays little role in the novel underlines the novel’s critique of social rules that treat women primarily as conduits of men’s property. It further suggests that the way the culture is arranged, those most easily oppressed will remain so because lacking means to power. The pun in the novel’s title allows Robinson to critique “unnatural” human interaction, which she suggests may be endemic to a hierarchical social structure. The novel shows that women who have slipped must become unnatural, as mothers, to survive: if they don’t cast off and endanger the offspring that prove their slippage, others’ treatment may drive them to become irrevocably sexually criminal, as is the case with Hannah Primrose. Then, on our introduction to Martha and her nuclear family, the novel suggests that Martha’s behavior is what should be natural in a culture in which the family is based on affective, sentimental bonds. Martha’s problems begin because she, Cordelia-like, cares more sincerely than Julia for her gouty father’s welfare but remains unappreciated because refusing to pander to his self-destructive desires for alcohol and dissipation. She recognizes that she may be the more “natural” daughter here in the sense not of bastardy but rather of being most led by nature into useful concern for her family. She becomes so tired of her family’s unkindness, however, that she marries Morley, although she does not know him well enough to predict whether he will be an honorable and ethical husband. Julia is more favored by their parents because she panders, courtier-like, to her father. Martha’s more “natural” ‹lial love, not based in a desire for personal gain or certainty of an emotional or material reward, is further demonstrated by her rescuing her mother from the madhouse; although Mrs. Bradford has supported Julia and undermined Martha’s familial position, Martha, not Julia, pursues her mother’s welfare. That she is the only family member who responds to others with disinterested love raises questions about how natural this love is; the novel suggests through reference to the French Revolution and its betrayal by the Reign of Terror, however, that this love is perhaps natural, that other modes of behavior are based, as Rousseau and British Jacobins would have suggested, in the suppression of the natural that occurs in a hierarchical society in which competition and power over others are rewarded. Robinson is able to further her social, political critique in this sense by

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the novel’s title’s possibly referring both to Martha, whose love is natural, and to Lady Susan’s baby, who is natural in the sense of being illegitimate. The two women become linked through the title; through their relationship to the baby, who is borne by one and adopted by the other; and through their relationship to Morley, one as legitimate wife, the other as seduced nonwife. Martha and Lady Susan have reason to compete, first for Morley, on whom each is equally dependent for her welfare, and later for acting parts, on which they become dependent for their livelihood. Instead, they form a sisterly concern for one another, sharing Lady Susan’s offspring as if it belonged to both and dividing up acting parts so they complement rather than compete with one another. They also become linked through Martha’s growing relationship with Sir Francis, Lady Susan’s brother, whom Martha weds after Morley dies. Although Sir Francis ‹rst repudiates Lady Susan as sister because of her sexual slip, Martha convinces him to forgive her and re-offer his protection, and he does not protest Martha’s giving her inheritance from Morley to Lady Susan. By the end of the novel, Sir Francis, Martha, Lady Susan, and the child form a community based on sibling/marital/‹lialparental bonds, making good the desire for fraternité promised by the French Revolution. By concluding with a community composed primarily of characters wronged by those aligned with the Reign of Terror, Robinson suggests that their mode of community represents what the Revolution promised at best for France and, by extension, through Robinson’s treatment, for England itself, should it heed her indictment of interactions based on competition and replace them with sentimental, supportive interactions that recognize the claims even of those most traditionally disenfranchised. It does not ‹nally carve out an alternative to retired domesticity for women; by using illegitimacy to challenge viewing their appearance in public as sexually suspect, however, The Natural Daughter suggests that treating women thus is unnatural. It suggests as well that it is socially wrongheaded to hound and incarcerate women like Martha, who offer the best social cure: by helping, not hindering others; by offering familial love freely to the moral, making strangers family and so recuperating rather than criminalizing them; and by recognizing the common humanity of women, rather than seeing them solely as the sex, always already criminal. notes Parts of Shaffer’s “Ruined Women and Illegitimate Daughters: Revolution and Female Sexuality” were previously published as “Non-Canonical Women’s Novels in the Romantic Era: Romantic Ideologies and the Problematics of Gender and Genre,” Studies in the Novel 28.4 (1996): 469–492, and are reprinted here with the journal’s permission.

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1. On Robinson’s ‹nancial neediness, see Fergus and Thaddeus (esp. 194–97). 2. Adams points out that to Robinson, Marat and Robespierre in particular represented the ways the Terror betrayed the original impetuses of the Revolution; he notes that to her, “the name of liberty was profaned by the cruelties of Marat and Robespierre” (121). Kelly argues that different stages of the French Revolution were gendered, seeing the early and Girondin Revolution as favorable to women’s rights and saying that “the Girondin-led Revolution” in particular “was represented as a feminization of politics and the public sphere” (“Women” 372), with the Jacobin Revolution, led by Marat, then representing a remasculinization of the political climate and structure. 3. Robinson further stresses her engagement with revolutionary issues by having Frances conceived after her mother has entered a marriage à la Revolution in France. As Sharon Setzer points out, Lady Susan’s reason for this marriage and Frances’s place of conception call to mind the situation of Mary Wollstonecraft, who passed as the wife of the American Imlay to avoid imprisonment while in revolutionary France; of her illegitimate Frances, conceived during this nonmarriage à la Revolution; and perhaps too of Imlay’s abandonment of Wollstonecraft, all of which were outlined in Godwin’s memoir of his late wife, published the year before The Natural Daughter appeared in print (Setzer 538). Alluding to this woman’s life and child signals Robinson’s political sympathy with her. Robinson can also be seen as signaling alliance to Rousseau, so-called father of the Revolution, when she has Lady Susan move to Switzerland, where she is counseled by a philosopher of sorts, suggesting she may be learning about the liberty she is unable to ‹nd either in France or in her own birthplace, England. 4. R. M. Janes notes that the shift in views of all Wollstonecraft’s works occurred after Godwin published his revelatory Memoirs of her, with her Maria; or, the Wrongs of Woman, published the year after she died. Once she became known to have had sexual relations with men to whom she was not married, her political and educational treatises, previously seen as tame, became reinterpreted as dangerously radical and linked to her sexual irregularities. However, as I explain later in the body of my chapter, in my discussion of the earlier sexual demonization of politically vocal women, Godwin’s revelations were not necessary for Wollstonecraft, her work, and work similar to hers to be seen as dangerous. 5. Some critics from the 1960s on who have participated in constructing this view of women and publishing include the following, in chronological order: Tompkins, in 1961 (116–22); Poovey, in 1984 (35–39); Spencer, in 1986 (20–26); Perry and Yeazell, in 1991, and Cullens, in 1994 (277–78). 6. Todd and Green align themselves with Armstrong’s discussion of Pamela to locate the middle of the eighteenth century as the period when sanctioned female sexuality became passive (Armstrong 108–34; Green esp. 25–31; Todd). This dating obviously precedes the French Revolution, so seeing the 1790s as the decade in which the change occurred overstates the case. As Armstrong, Laqueur, and Yeazell note, the change occurred unevenly and in a contested fashion throughout the century, solidifying by the end of century. 7. Nancy K. Miller identi‹es these two plot conclusions as euphoric and dysphoric poles of the same story, one that presents women’s outcome according to

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their ability to negotiate threats to their chastity. Eliza Fenwick’s 1795 Secresy follows the dysphoric plot line so thoroughly that despite other characters’ sympathy for its premaritally sexually active heroine, I have not included it in my list of novels tolerant toward women who slip sexually. 8. This does not include the gothic, recently republished examples of which are much more lurid than any novel I discuss in this chapter. Choosing to write in the gothic genre both gave women license to depart from strictures guiding other female novelists and meant they might expect to have their work dismissed as improper for its hyperbolic imagination and for the crimes there outlined. Furthermore, this genre by and large ‹ts with the paradigm I have outlined for works unacceptable to conservative Victorian readers; many gothic novels slipped from wide accessibility until very recent publishing work directed to recovering women’s novels that depart from what we’ve come to see as the norm—more chaste sentimental novels. 9. Whether the work is autobiographical is less important, for my argument, than the fact that it was seen to be and that even a framed, quali‹ed treatment of female passion re›ected on the writer, her sexuality, and hence her morality. For responses to the work when ‹rst published, see Sally Cline. 10. Inchbald may also have delayed publication because the treason trials of 1794 made that year an especially unsafe one to satirize the sociopolitical status quo. Later changes, which did not extensively tone down the work’s revolutionary satire, were made between the 1796 ‹rst and 1797 second editions, but one of the female protagonists, Hannah Primrose, becomes Agnes Primrose in the third edition, and it is thus that most readers might know her. I cite the second edition and so retain the name Hannah. 11. In Torrid Zones, Felicity Nussbaum critiques Laqueur’s discussion, in both “Orgasm, Generation, and the Politics of Reproductive Biology” and Making Sex, of eighteenth-century biological “‹ndings” of the sexes as incommensurate to warn that a binary method of sexual differentiation is inadequate for recognizing the complexity and diversity of eighteenth-century representations and experience of sexual identity and behavior (96). Keeping these cautions in mind does not require rejecting what both agree to be the case: that a shift in the understanding of the sexes’ biological organization did in fact take place, replacing a hierarchical model with an incommensurate one. Most important for my argument here, however, is that regardless of how individuals saw their own sexual identities and behaviors, differences continued to get deployed precisely in ways that reinforced women’s subordination to men. 12. Dating of when the change actually occurred varies. Identifying exact dates for paradigm shifts is probably not possible. Nancy Armstrong, Thomas Laqueur (“Orgasm,” Making Sex), Mary Poovey, Ruth Perry, and Ruth Bernard Yeazell offer divergent dates for the shift and trace its occurrence in these different discourses. 13. Again, accurately citing origins for paradigm changes is extremely hard, which accounts for the fact that different scholars view the shift as occurring at different points. The crisis felt about class lines, for instance, is usually cited as occurring at the end of the eighteenth century, but examples McKendrick provides

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appear regularly from the seventeenth century through the eighteenth (McKendrick, Brewer, and Plumb 9–99); sumptuary laws likewise occur in earlier centuries, suggesting an ongoing perceived crisis in class boundaries. That this crisis was in fact ongoing supports Roddey Reid’s argument that a felt crisis in family structures has likewise always been ongoing, responding to an imagined era in which families and hence classes were always pure and behaved as they ought. 14. Gender obviously did not take the place of class in the power structures of British economic, social, and political systems completely; the period did not witness the demise of the class system. Votes did not come to all men, for instance, until 1832. 15. Binhammer remarks that at issue in the period’s trials about adultery are men’s property rights in women; in observing that lower-class husbands were granted smaller damages than gentry and aristocratic husbands, she points out that also at stake were husbands’ “honor and reputation,” of which the middling classes were assumed to have smaller stock (423 n. 38). The most obvious difference between men of these classes, however, was that landed gentry and their betters would have landed property and sometimes titles as well. Moveable properties potentially passing to illegitimate offspring would have been as at issue among wealthy merchants and traders as among landed classes. Because land and titles only set the landed gentry, the aristocracy, and royalty apart from the wealthy middle classes, it must therefore be on their basis that these upper classes’ honor and reputation derived. For another view on damages awarded and their signi‹cance, see Staves. 16. Thomas argues that Johnson elsewhere suggests that the real issue is men’s desire to be sole possessors of their wife’s or lovers’ bodies (209–17). 17. Obviously simply cohabiting need not mean a relationship must be seen as immoral; Wollstonecraft had scruples about legal marriage but clearly was emotionally committed and monogamous in both her extramarital relationships. The irony in Wollstonecraft’s judgment of Sweden would nonetheless have been evident to readers coming to this work after learning about her relationships with Imlay and Godwin. 18. On attitudes linking actresses to prostitution and illicit sexuality in general, see Straub, especially her chapter “The Construction of Actresses’ Femininity” (89–108). Robinson was an actress for a while and knew ‹rsthand how this profession could be sexualized, as it was thus that she met and attracted the Prince of Wales. For a discussion of attitudes toward actresses that is then situated in Robinson’s own life and in her Walsingham, see Cullens (280–83). 19. In addition to Smith’s Lady Adelina, who feels too “ruined” to marry her seducer, we see such self-loathing in Mrs. Ross’s The Strangers of Lindenfeldt; or, Who is My Father?, when the protagonist, named Walsingham (as one of Robinson’s protagonists is likewise named), offers to marry Julie, a Frenchwoman he has seduced. She protests, “Once I was worthy of you; but . . . I will not give your mistress to your arms in th[e] sacred character [of a wife]” (2:30). While Lady Adelina recovers enough to consider marrying her seducer, Julie wastes away through a sense of her guilt and dies. 20. Kelly notes that

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the imprisonment motif had a sharper edge in English Jacobin ‹ction of the 1790s than hitherto, and a greater ambiguity, owing to the image of the Bastille, but also to the images of the Terror. Nevertheless, [it] . . . was usually employed as a means of protesting against what was seen . . . as a social and political hegemony still unjustly exercised by a decadent aristocratic chivalric and feudal culture. (“Jane Austen” 286) Kelly does not note situations in which the prison is a madhouse. The incarceration in a madhouse experienced by Wollstonecraft’s Maria and by Robinson’s Martha and Mrs. Bradford may be seen as going one step further than the situation Kelly notes; it works ironically to indict as insane the culture that allows such women’s imprisonment. 21. Lord Colambre, male protagonist of The Absentee, decides against marrying his cousin Miss Nugent because he’s heard that none of the women in her family line is “sans reproche” and because his mother has (mistakenly) con‹rmed that the woman is illegitimate. In conversation, Lord Colambre asserts he would like the woman he marries to be from a family in which “all the daughters [were] chaste”; his interlocutor responds, “In marrying, a man does not, to be sure, marry his wife’s mother; and yet a prudent man, when he begins to think of the daughter, would look sharp at the mother; ay, and back to the grandmother too, and along the whole female line of ancestry” (221–22). Tracing a family’s female sexual history might be important for ascertaining what has been modeled and hence taught within a family, but the further back one goes, the more irrelevant the issue of behavior modeling becomes; looking back one or two generations would be suf‹cient if such were really the issue. When so many generations are examined, the interest becomes more clearly one of traits passed on elsewise— genetically, for instance. 22. I do not mean to suggest that this movement was intentionally arranged by its authors, either singly or in concert. Given that Hays’s and Robinson’s novels were both published in the same year, 1799, Robinson could hardly have read Hays’s and constructed hers to further metaphorize Hays’s treatment of illegitimacy, and there is no record that the two women held collaboratory meetings or correspondence on these novels before their publication. 23. In The English Jacobin Novel, for instance, Gary Kelly focuses on Hannah primarily insofar as she allows him to identify Inchbald as a Jacobin novelist. His main concern about Hannah and other female characters in the novel is whether their education prepares them to be moral in ways that go beyond simply retaining virginity until marriage. According to Kelly, Inchbald’s focus on education and her treatment of it link her to other Jacobin novelists (93–112). 24. According to Staves, this ‹ctional treatment of the situation matches what occurred in the extraliterary eighteenth-century world. She outlines the tendency for real upper-class men, especially, to escape punishment, in part because they controlled appointments of those clergy who ruled in ecclesiastic courts (123–24). 25. The treatment of upper-class women’s dif‹culties working in Maria appears in Maria’s discussion of her sisters’ fates. Burney’s The Wanderer also brings in the French Revolution; it too thereby politicizes the situation of the woman who must labor to survive but who is driven from jobs because inadequately de‹ned by paternal or marital name.

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26. Robinson’s treatment of a woman’s experience with publishing may, like much else, be a response to her own experiences. Her ‹rst novel, Vancenza, sold out on the ‹rst day of its publication because readers thought it would narrate her relationship with the Prince of Wales; she also believed that her works were harshly reviewed because of her liberal views (Adams 128). Robinson’s concentration on illegitimacy in her novels also derives from her life, since her husband proved to be illegitimate, leaving them with less support of any kind from his family than she’d been led to believe would be forthcoming. Her focusing on women’s working as actresses likewise derives from her life, as it was something at which she’d thrived for much of her early life. Cullens notes that Robinson brings her experiences into Walsingham too. Robinson’s criticizing the sexualization of authorship in The Natural Daughter may be seen as part of her attempt to excuse her own reputation for being a demimondaine, further carried out in her Memoirs. Situating it in a novel already including scenes from the French Revolution, however, depersonalizes and politicizes the issue, as does her including other elements of her life in other politically tinged novels. Furthermore, many Jacobin writers lived their lives according to their social and political philosophies, so while it is traditional to dismiss elements of female writers’ work as “merely” reiterating their experiences, doing so in Robinson’s case may be wrongheaded (though I would argue that dismissing anybody’s work thus hardly leads to fruitful discussion). Robinson was, however, consummately aware of others’ consumption of her life and appearance; thus, recognizing where her life and ‹ction intersect must be signi‹cant for anyone interested in her treatment of her ‹ctionalization of her life. For a discussion of ways scandalous memoirs such as Robinson’s set out to recuperate women’s characters, see Nussbaum’s Autobiographical Subject (178–200).

works cited primary sources Burney, Sarah. Geraldine Fauconberg. 3 vols. London: Wilkie and Robinson, 1808. Edgeworth, Maria. The Absentee. 1812. Reprint, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Hays, Mary. The Memoirs of Emma Courtney. 1796. Reprint, London: Pandora, 1987. ———. The Victim of Prejudice. 2 vols. London: J. Johnson, 1799. Reprint, Petersborough, Ont.: Broadview, 1994. Inchbald, Elizabeth. Nature and Art. 1796. 2 vols. 2d ed. London: G. G and J. Robinson, 1797. Kendall, Miss A. Derwent Priory; or, Memoirs of an Orphan. 2 vols. London: Symonds, 1798. Robinson, Mary. Memoirs of the Late Mrs. Robinson, Written by Herself. Comp. and ed. Maria Robinson. 2 vols. London: Phillips, 1801. Reprinted as Perdita: The Memoirs of Mary Robinson. Ed. M. J. Levy. London: Owen, 1994. ———. The Natural Daughter. 2 vols. London: Longman and Rees, 1799.

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About the Editor and Contributors

b e t s y b o l t o n is an Associate Professor at Swarthmore College and the author of Women, Nationalism, and the Romantic Stage: Theatre and Politics in Britain, 1780–1800 (2001). Other publications include essays in Studies in Romanticism, English Literary History, and Eighteenth-Century Theory and Interpretation. She is currently working on two projects: one addressing sentimental drama and politics, the other focused on women poets and formal innovation. j u l i e t f e i b e l earned her Ph.D. at the University of Michigan. The title of her dissertation is “Painting Clio: The Historical Arts and Nationalism in Eighteenth-Century Britain.” m a r i l y n f r a n c u s is an Associate Professor of English at West Virginia University. She is the author of The Converting Imagination: Linguistic Theory and Swift’s Satiric Prose (1994) and has had articles appear in Eighteenth-Century Life and Studies in Philology. She is working on a book on monstrous maternity. s u s a n g o u l d i n g is an Associate Professor at Monmouth University. She is the author of a dissertation entitled “Placing a Claim: Women Writers and Literary Tradition in Eighteenth-Century England,” and has published articles on female elegists and on Mary Leapor. She is working on a book entitled “Buried in the Text: Women’s Literary Authority in Restoration and Eighteenth-Century Britain.” e l i z a b e t h h u n t completed her Ph.D. at the University of New Mexico in 1998. Her dissertation, “Thinking through the Grotesque,” deals with eighteenth-century literary and visual arts and addresses the use of the grotesque in discourse concerning the female body; the macaroni, or effeminately dressed man, as an un-English “alien”; and the space of public entertainment. c a t h e r i n e i n g r a s s i a is an Associate Professor of English at Virginia Commonwealth University. She is the author of Authorship, Commerce and Gender in Early Eighteenth-Century England: A Culture of Paper Credit (1998) and coeditor of “More Solid Learning”: New Perspectives on Alexander Pope’s Dunciad (2000). She is editing an edition of Eliza Haywood’s Anti-Pamela and Henry Fielding’s Shamela for Broadview Press. Her current project is a study of the ‹ction of Eliza Haywood. 319

320

About the Editor and Contributors

k a t h a r i n e k i t t r e d g e is an Associate Professor of English at Ithaca College, where she teaches courses on eighteenth-century British literature, women’s autobiography, an introduction to women’s studies course, and science ‹ction. She has published articles on Samuel Richardson, Jane Austen and her experiences playing ice hockey in the all-male recreational leagues in Binghamton, NY. She is co-editor of the forthcoming book, Power and Poverty: Old Age in Preindustrial Western Society with Lynne Botelho and Susannah Ottaway. She is currently researching the lives of rural women in eighteenth-century Britain. s u s a n s . l a n s e r is Professor of English and Chair of Women’s Studies at Brandeis University. She has written The Narrative Act (Princeton, 1981) and Fictions of Authority: Women Writers and Narrative Voice (Cornell, 1992); has co-edited Women Critics 1660–1820: An Anthology (1995) and the Broadview Edition of Helen Maria Williams’ Letters Written in France (2001); and has published essays in a range of journals from Eighteenth-Century Studies and Eighteenth-Century Life to Feminist Studies, Textual Practice and Style. Her contribution to this volume is part of a larger project on representations of sapphism in eighteenth-century Europe. c i n d y m c c r e e r y is currently a lecturer in history at the University of Sydney in Australia. Her research interests include satirical prints of women in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century British and American port communities. She has published several journal articles and book chapters on these topics, and a book, Ports of the World: Prints from the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, c. 1700–1870 (1999). Her chapter in this book is an expanded version of material presented in her dissertation. A revised version of the dissertation, entitled Uneasy Fascination: Satirical Prints of Women in Late Eighteenth-Century England, will be published by Oxford University Press in 2004. j u d i t h m o o r e is Professor of English at the University of Alaska, Anchorage. In addition to publishing widely in the ‹elds of eighteenthand nineteenth-century literature and culture, she is a ‹ction writer and poet. Her chapter in this collection is connected to the subject of her most recent book, The Appearance of Truth: The Story of Elizabeth Canning and Eighteenth-Century Narrative (1994). j e s s i c a k i m b a l l p r i n t z is a Ph.D. student at the University of Michigan. She is working on a dissertation on the depiction of men and women as public speakers in eighteenth-century British ephemera and the novel. She has published articles in Callaloo and in the collection Radical Revisions: Rereading 1930s Culture (1996).

About the Editor and Contributors

321

p a t t y s e l e s k i is Professor of history at California State University, San Marcos. Her published work explores the question of class con›ict and class relations between women in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. She is working on a manuscript, Managing the Middle-Class Home: Middle-Class Women, Labor Relations and the Political Economy of the Household in London, 1750–1850, which examines middleclass domestic ideology and its effects on the lives of domestic servants and their mistresses. j u l i e s h a f f e r is an Assistant Professor at the University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh. She writes about canonical and noncanonical women novelists of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, focusing on their challenges to a number of literary and extraliterary conventions and their informing ideologies. Her publications include articles in Criticism, Studies in the Novel, A Dialogue of Voices: Feminist Literary Theory and Bakhtin (1994), and Bodily Discursions. She is currently at work on a book on illegitimacy and late eighteenth-century and early nineteenthcentury British women writers.

Index

Brown, Laura, 278 Brownrigg, Elizabeth, 210–18; abuse of servants, 219–20; execution, 211–12, 220, 223, 224; maternal role, 223–27; personal history, 213–15; role as housewife, 215–16, 222–23; trial, 220–21 Brownrigg, James, 210, 213–15, 220, 221 Brownrigg, John, 220, 221 Buck’s Bottle Companion, 112 Burney, Frances: Cecilia, 287; Evelina, 183, 258, 298; The Wanderer, 305 Burney, Sarah, 286–87 Butler, Eleanor, 36 Butler, Nathaniel, 170, 174 Byron, George Frederick, 128

Abortion, 199 The Accomplish’d Housewife, 218 Addison, Joseph, 71, 77, 84; Spectator, 72, 83, 93 Adolescence, 198–99, 203 Adultery, 48–49, 51–53, 98, 157, 159, 178, 258, 291, 294, 308 Aging. See Older men; Older women Amazons, 25, 92 Aristotle, The Art of Rhetoric, 72 Armstrong, Nancy, 2, 5, 276 “Attitudes” (performances by Emma Hamilton), 134, 141–46, 149, 152–53 Aubin, Penelope, 183 Austen, Jane, 183, 258, 259, 287, 292, 295 Badinter, Elisabeth, 281 Baker, David Erskine, 253 Bakhtin, Mikhail, 92, 100, 107 Barbauld, Anna Laetitia, 286 Barker, Jane, Patch-Work Screen for the Ladies, 28, 183 Barry, Iris, 50 Beattie, J. M., 277 Beckford, William, 36 Behn, Aphra, 49, 183, 251, 252 Bentley, Richard, 70, 78 Beresford, James, 124 Bianchi, Giovanni, Breve Storia della Vita di Catterina Vizzani Romana, 32 Biblical allusions, 177–79 Binhammer, Katherine, 288 Boigne, Comtesse de, 143–45 Bon Ton Magazine, 286 Boswell, James, 75 Bowers, Toni, 278, 280, 281, 282 Brooten, Bernadette, 23, 24 Brophy, Elizabeth, 2

Canning, Elizabeth, 197–208; as adolescent, 198–99, 203; chastity, 198, 203–7; contemporary depictions, 198–200; historical depictions, 205–7; transportation, 207–8; trial, 200–203 Caricatures, 112–29, 135, 152–60 Carleton, Mary, 182 Carnival, 100–101 Carrick, Valentine, 170, 171 Carter, Elizabeth: All the Works of Epictetus, 71, 77, 81; education, 83; Memoirs, 69; physical hardship, 84; publication by subscription, 81; as scholar, 69–70, 77–78, 80–84; The Whole Art and Mystery of Punning, 69–85 Carter, Molly, 36 Castle, Terry, 93, 279, 282 Cats, 127–28 Caul‹eld, James, 204 323

324

Index

Cavendish, Margaret, Convent of Pleasure, 38 Cervantes, Miguel de, Don Quixote, 60–61 Chaber, Lois, 278–79 Charke, Charlotte Cibber, 50 Charlton, Mary, 285, 288 Child abandonment, 259, 262, 265–66, 277, 278, 280, 293; and fathers, 266 Childers, Hugh, 207 Chocolate, 59 Chodorow, Nancy, 281 Christina, queen of Sweden, 25 Churchill, C., 128 Cinderella, 298 Clark, Margaret, 169 Class, social, 5, 7, 8, 96–100, 113–14, 120–21, 127, 136–42, 145–46, 167–68, 175–76, 204, 205, 207, 211, 214–18, 225, 244, 261, 263, 271, 272, 276, 290, 292, 296, 298–99, 301–6. See also Middle class Cleland, John, Fanny Hill, 7–8, 37, 38, 47, 253 Clifford, Mary, 210–14, 216, 219, 220, 221, 223 Clipson, William, 210 Clitoris, 22, 24, 26, 27, 29, 33–34 Clover, Carol J., 102 Colley, Linda, 156, 290–91 Collier, Sarah, 218 Colquohuon, Patrick, 215 The Controverted Hard Case; or, Mary Squire’s Magazine of Facts Re-Examin’d, 199, 201 Coverley, Roger, 82 Cox, Daniel, 199 Crawford, Patricia, 24 Creed, Barbara, 104 Criminal biographies, 167–85; in context, 167–69; conventions of, 169–72; feminist critical response to, 179–85; leveling of class and gender, 175–79; penitence, 172–75 Cromwell, Oliver, 100

Cross-dressing, 24, 25, 30–37, 100, 238, 271, 272 Cruikshank, Isaac, 152, 153, 159–60 Curll, Edmund, 52 Damer, Anne, 36 Daston, Lorraine, 23 Davidoff, Leonore, 212 Davis, Natalie Zemon, 13, 100 Davy, William, 198, 200, 202 Defoe, Daniel, 218; Moll Flanders, 47, 181, 259, 262, 307; Moll and child abandonment, 265–66; Moll and domesticity, 264; Moll and economics, 262–63; Moll and fertility, 265; Moll and Humphry, 266–67; Moll and identity, 270, 271–72; Moll and Mother Midnight, 268, 269, 270, 282; Moll and sex, 262–63, 264; Roxana, 181, 259, 262; Roxana and Amy, 268, 269, 270, 273, 282; Roxana and child abandonment, 265–66; Roxana and domesticity, 264; Roxana and economics, 262–63; Roxana and fertility, 265; Roxana and identity, 270, 271, 272, 273; Roxana and sex, 262–64; Roxana and Susan, 266, 267 de la Torre, Lillian, 205, 206, 207 Dennis, John, 72 Dildo, 27, 33, 34, 37 Dinnerstein, Dorothy, 268, 281 Dinshaw, Carolyn, 76 Diogenes Laertius, Lives of the Philosophers, 75–76 Disorderly women, 3, 4, 13, 14, 15, 16 Divorce, 95, 294 Doane, Janice, 277 Dodd, James Solas, 199 Dolan, Frances, 3, 7, 14 Dollimore, Jonathan, 13 Domestic femininity, 2, 5, 13, 14, 137–41, 214–16, 222, 258, 262, 264 Donoghue, Emma, 33 Doody, Margaret, 54, 181

Index

Dryden, John: Absalom and Achitophel, 61; translation of Juvenal’s Sixth Satire, 70 Dugaw, Dianne, 33, 40 Eberle, Roxanne, 288 Edgeworth, Maria: Belinda, 36–37, 127; “Letter from a Gentleman to his Friend upon the Birth of a Daughter,” 118 Elfenbein, Andrew, 36 Elias, A. C., Jr., 48 Evans, Ann, 179 Execution, 169–72, 203, 210, 211–12, 224, 301, 302 Faller, Lincoln, 167–68 Female community, 39–40, 71, 147–52, 236, 239–40, 247–51, 261, 268–70, 275, 302, 310 Female masculinity, 25–27, 30–35, 39–41, 239–40 Female scholars, 13, 70–71, 80–81, 84, 118–21, 247–51 Feminine discourse, 70, 72–75 Fertility, 258, 260, 265, 271, 279–80 Fetterley, Judith, 14 Fielding, Henry, 197, 198; The Female Husband, 32; Jonathan Wild, 185; “The Masquerade,” 93; Tom Jones, 258, 277 Fielding, Sarah, 305 Fildes, Valerie, 277 Finch, Anne, 184 Flax, Jane, 281 Flogging, 8, 26, 82–83 Fordyce, James, 7 Foucault, Michel, 105, 169 Foulkes, Robert, 171, 174, 175 Fox, Charles James, 119 French Revolution, 283, 284, 289, 290, 296, 309, 310 Freud, Sigmund, 38, 290; Interpretation of Dreams, 205 Fricatrice, use of term, 24 Friedli, Lynne, 282

325

Gallagher, Catherine, 251 Gascoyne, Sir Crisp, 197, 201, 202, 204 Gender, 6, 7, 8, 13–16, 33–41, 72–75, 94, 167, 176–80, 185, 204, 205, 221–26, 235–36, 239–40, 251, 252, 274, 276, 284, 285, 290, 297 Genuine and Impartial Memoirs of Elizabeth Canning, 199, 202, 203, 205 Gifford, William, 286, 288 Gillis, John R., 279 Gillray, James, 128, 152, 153–54, 159–60 Goldsmith, Oliver, The Vicar of Wake‹eld, 258, 259 Gowing, Laura, 4, 7 Gregory, John, A Father’s Legacy to his Daughters, 115 Greville, Charles, 135–42, 145 Grif‹n, Benjamin, 93–94 Grif‹n, Dustin, 48, 55, 58 Grif‹n, Jane, 174, 175 Grotesque female body, 91–108, 112–29 Gypsy, 200–202, 206 Halberstam, Judith, 26, 101 Hall, Catherine, 212 Hall, Radclyffe, Well of Loneliness, 40 Hamilton, Emma, née Hart, 133–60; attitudes, 142–46; caricatures of, 152–60; friend of Maria Carolina, queen of Naples, 147–60; iconic status, 134; mistress of Charles Greville, 135–42; mistress of Lord Nelson, 134, 149–60; wife of Sir Hamilton, 136, 138–42, 144–60. See also “Attitudes” Hamilton, Mary, 32 Hamilton, William, 136, 138–42, 144–60 Hanway, Jonas, 211 Hardwicke’s Marriage Act, 299 Harlot. See Prostitution; Whore Hart, Lynn, 8 Hatchett, William, 253

326

Index

Hawkins, Laetitia-Matilda, 292 Hayley, William, 133, 135, 137–38 Hays, Mary, 285, 286, 287, 288, 289, 292, 295, 296, 300–305, 307 Haywood, Eliza, 91–92, 183, 235–53; British Recluse, 238, 244; The City Jilt, 238, 244; History of Jemmy and Jenny Jessamy, 238; History of Miss Betsy Thoughtless, 237–38; Love in Excess, 239; The Rash Resolve, 238, 239–47; The Tea Table, 238, 247–50 Hermaphrodite, 23–29, 33, 251 Hic Mulier; or, The man-woman, 25 Hill, Bridget, 5, 113 Hill, Dr. John, 198, 205 Hirsch, Marianne, 281 Hitchcock, Tim, 22, 23, 41 Hodges, Devon, 277 Hogarth, William, 91–92, 96–98, 102–3, 114, 127 Holland, Lady, 144 Holstun, James, 250 Homoeroticism, female, 22–41, 237, 251–53; early modern depictions, 23–24 Hufton, Olwen, 3, 5 Illegitimate children, 244–47, 259, 262, 265–66, 277, 278, 280, 293–94, 298–99, 300–306, 308–10 Impenitential narratives, 182–85 Inchbald, Elizabeth, 285, 287, 288, 289, 296, 300–302 Infanticide, 174–75, 199, 259, 260, 262, 275, 277, 293 Irigaray, Luce, 76 Jacob, Giles, Tractatus de Hermaphroditus, 26–27, 29, 37 James I, 25 Janes, R. M., 287 Johnson, Samuel, 69, 72, 73–75, 120, 291 Jones, Ann Rosalind, 23 Jones, Mary, 214, 223 Jones, Vivien, 14

Kane, Stuart, 3, 7, 14 Kendall, Miss A., 285, 288, 289, 299 Kenny, Courtney, 203, 208 Kibbie, Ann Louise, 280 King, Kathryn, 28, 236 King, William, 82–83 Kirk, Edmund, 179 Knapp, Andrew, and William Baldwin, The New Newgate Calendar, 220 Kristeva, Julia, 76, 105–6 Kroker, Arthur, 92, 107 Kroker, Marilouise, 92, 107 Kubek, Elizabeth, 103 Lady’s Magazine, 216 Learned ladies. See Female scholars Lee, Harriet, 285, 288 Lesbianism. See Sapphism Lewd, 2–3, 9 Lister, Anne, 22, 38–40; homoerotic writing, 22; masculinity, 39–40; members of her female community, 39 London Evening Post, 221–22 London Magazine, 114, 117–18, 129, 227 Lyly, John, Galathea, 25 Macaulay, Catharine, 119–21, 124 Machen, Arthur, 204, 206 Madhouse, 307–8 Malcolmson, R. W., 277 Male education, 82–83 Manly, Delariviere, 183, 251, 252 Mannish women, 35–37, 40, 239–40 Marat, Jean-Paul, 283, 296 Maria Carolina, queen of Naples, 147–52 Marriage, 30–31, 32, 95, 114–15, 120, 235, 236, 237, 244–45, 263, 264, 268, 283, 291, 296, 298–300, 309 Mary Magdalen, 178, 179 Masquerade, 91–108, 137–38 Maternity: agency, 259; autonomy, 267, 270; desire to be mothered, 268,

Index

270; and erasure, 259, 271; and identity, 259, 270–71, 273; and monstrosity, 211, 212, 222–28, 253, 258, 260, 262, 265, 269, 270, 271, 275, 278, 280, 282, 306, 309; and nurturance, 258, 259, 281; sexual desire, 258; and transgression, 258, 260, 268, 270, 275 Mathias, Thomas James, 286, 288 Maynard, Robert, 175 McClure, Ruth, 278 McKeon, Michael, 34 McLynn, Frank, 206–7 Memoirs: by Canning, 197–208; by Carter, 69; by Pilkington, 47–62; scandalous, 47–49 Mendelson, Sara, 24 Menstruation, 181–82 Middle class, 215–18, 226–28, 290. See also Class, social Midwives, 211, 213–14, 268–70 Mitchell, Mary, 214, 219, 220, 223 Mitford, John, 148–49 Monroe, Marilyn, 134 Monstrosity, 170, 210, 214, 223, 309 Montagu, Charles, 58 Moore, John, 211, 224–25 More, Hannah, 292 Moreton, William, 203 Morton, Donald, 21 Mulvey, Laura, 104 Murder, 3, 9, 167, 170–71, 174–76, 210, 220, 223, 224, 293, 305 Natural, 300, 306 Nelson, Horatio, 134, 135, 149–60 Neoclassical discourse, 71–74, 76 Neville, Sylas, 211–12 Nicholson, Francis, 169, 174 Nussbaum, Felicity, 282 Obesity, 96, 156 O’Driscoll, Sally, 15, 238, 246 Older men, 117, 119 Older women, 102, 107, 200–202, 206; caricatures of, 112–29; cosmetics used, 124–25; obesity, 96, 101–2;

327

physical appearance, 122, 200–201; status, 113; thinness, 127–28 Old maids. See Spinsters Onania; or, the Heinous Sin of Self-Pollution, 28 Opie, Amelia, 285 Paré, Ambroise, On Monsters and Prodigies, 23 Park, Katharine, 23 Parker, Patricia, 3, 13 Parsons, James, Mechanical and Critical Enquiry into the Nature of Hermaphrodites, 28–29 Pearson, Edmund, 204 Pedantry, 78–81 Penitence, 166, 171–73 Penitential narratives. See Criminal biographies Pennington, Montagu, 69, 70 Perry, Ruth, 290 Phillips, Katherine, 184 Pilkington, Lætitia, Memoirs, 47–68; adultery in, 48–49, 51–53; compared to male-authored satires, 48–61; explicit satire, 57–61; language in, 51–55, 57; rede‹ning virtue, 48, 54–55; as satire, 48–62; use of allusions, 50, 55, 58–60; use of digressions, 55–56; as written by woman, 48–61 Pilkington, Matthew, 49, 51–52 Piozzi, Gabriel, 120–21 Plato, Symposium, 73 Pollak, Ellen, 2 Polwhele, Richard, 286 Ponsonby, Sarah, 36 Pope, Alexander, 54, 71, 78, 80, 84, 253; The Dunciad, 72, 73, 260; “Epistle II,” 76; “First Satire of the Second Book of Horace Imitated,” 58; Moral Essay, 80; Peri Bathos, 72; Preface to the Iliad, 50; Rape of the Lock, 72, 75, 125 Prison, 165, 167, 170, 224–25, 302, 304, 305

328

Index

Prostitution, 37, 49, 50, 53, 54, 61, 91–92, 95, 125, 178–79, 238, 263, 264, 268, 291, 294, 301 Publishing through subscriptions, 80–81, 307 Puns, 70–79 “P.W.,” A Seasonable Apology for Mr. Heidegger, 95–96, 98 Queer, de‹ned, 21 Quintilian, Institutio Oratoria, 72–73, 76, 77 Radcliffe, Ann, 292; The Mysteries of Udolpho, 258 Ralph, James, 93 Rambler’s Magazine, 121, 127, 129 Ramsay, Allan, 198, 205 Rape. See Sexual assault Rehberg, Frederick, 143 Renaissance, 3–4, 13 Richardson, Samuel: Clarissa, 69, 183, 258, 259, 287, 303; Pamela, 48, 183, 243, 263, 287; Sir Charles Grandison, 35–36 Riley, Denise, 184 Robespierre, 283, 295, 296 Robinson, Mary: The Natural Daughter, 284–307; Walsingham, 294–95 Roche, Philip, 170 Romney, George, 133, 135, 137–38, 142, 146, 152 Rowe, Elizabeth, 183 Rowe, Kathleen, 92 Rowlandson, Thomas, 124, 152, 153, 159–60 Russo, Mary, 101–2, 106, 107 “Sapphick Epistle,” 36 Sapphic relationships, 26–27, 30–32, 37, 238, 239–51 Sapphism, 7, 8, 15, 21–41, 237, 251–53; Anne Lister and, 22, 38–40; early modern views, 23–25; eighteenth-century literary representations, 28, 30–33, 37; as hermaphroditism, 23–29, 33

Sappho-an, 34 Satan’s Harvest Home, 29 Satire: by Carter, 69–71, 78–86; by Pilkington, 48–62 Savage, Richard, 253 Savage, Thomas, 171, 179 Scheuermann, Mona, 278 Scold’s bridle, 3 Scott, Sarah, Millenium Hall, 236 Sedgwick, Eve, 8 Seduction, 52, 75, 94, 140–41, 204–5, 240–41, 263, 285, 293, 294, 295, 297, 301, 309, 310 Sensibility, 133–34, 211 Servants, 5, 170, 174, 197, 199, 204–6, 212–13, 217–28, 244, 301, 303–5 Sexual assault, 7, 198, 206–8, 291, 292, 302, 303, 308 Shackleton, Elizabeth, 219 Shakespeare, William, 50, 72–75, 135 Sharp, Jane, 29 Sharpe, J. A., 168–69, 176 Shaw, Sheila, 102 Shepherd, John, 170, 171 Sheridan, Richard Brinsley, 119 Shevelow, Kathryn, 226 Slut (modern meaning), 1, 15. See also Whore Smith, Adam, 135–36 Smith, Charlotte, 286, 287, 292, 295 Smith, Samuel, 165, 170 Smith-Rosenberg, Carroll, 241 Smollett, Tobias, 204; Peregrine Pickle, 50 Speculation, 135–36 Spenser, Barbara, 171 Spinsters, 115, 117, 122, 127–29 Squires, Mary, 197–207 Stafford, Barbara Maria, 91 Stallybrass, Peter, 23, 282 Sterling, James, 235 Stern, John, 170, 174, 175 Steward, James Christen, 276 Stone, Lawrence, 276, 280 Street, Miss, 285, 289, 296–98 Swift, Jonathan, 80, 84; Ars Punica,

Index

71–74, 76–79; Battle of the Books, 70, 260; “A Beautiful Young Nymph Going to Bed,” 125; Irish “breeders” and economics, 260–61, 262; “The Lady’s Dressing Room,” 125; and Lætitia Pilkington, 47, 49, 52–62; “Libel on Dr. Delany,” 57; and maternal erasure, 260, 261; and maternal identity, 260, 261, 275; and maternal monstrosity, 260, 275; “A Modest Defense of Punning,” 71; A Modest Proposal, 259, 260–61, 262, 271; Tale of a Tub, 56, 59, 60, 71, 79, 81; “Verses on the Death of Dr. Swift,” 60 Taylore, Ann Martin, 218 Tegg, Thomas, Caricature Magazine, 113, 121, 125 Thomas, Claudia, 70, 80 Thomas, Keith, 5 Thrale, Hester, 36, 75, 119–21 Thurer, Shari, 280 Todd, Janet, 9, 181, 240 “Tommy” (as term), 36 Town and Country Magazine, 117, 119–20, 129 “Town, Mr.,” Connoisseur, 94 Traherne, John, 205, 206, 207, 208 Traub, Valerie, 25, 27, 247 The Travels and Adventures of Mademoiselle de Richelieu, 30–32 Travels in Turkey, 29 Tribades, use of term, 24, 28, 33, 35 Trumbach, Randolph, 23, 276, 281

329

Turner, James, 170 Ty, Eleanor, 303 Unnatural, 309–10 Unruly women. See Disorderly women Vigée-Le Brun, Madame, 159 Vizzani, Catterina, 32–33 Walpole, Edward, 58 Walpole, Horace, 136, 144, 286 Ward, Ned, 5–6 Warton, Joseph, Ranelagh House, 94, 96 Watt, Ian, 80 Wells, Susannah, 197, 202 Whim, use of term, 39 White, Allon, 282 Whore, 4, 5, 6. See also Prostitution Widows, 115, 117, 122, 127–29 Wilkes, John, 119 Williams, Helen Maria, 286 Witchcraft, 4, 128 Wolf, Naomi, 1, 6, 7 Wollstonecraft, Mary, 226, 285, 286, 287, 288, 292, 302, 305 Women writers, 48–55, 58–62, 69, 80–81, 183–84, 235–53, 284–85, 292, 307 Woolf, Virginia, 47 Wrigley, E. A., 279 Wroth, Lady Mary, Urania, 24 Yeates, Mrs., 285, 288 Yeazell, Ruth Bernard, 295