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

By Cynthia B. Herrup

Intercourse, privilege, corruption, and revenge--these are parts that we predict to discover splashed throughout present day tabloid headlines. yet in seventeenth century England, a intercourse scandal during which the second Earl of Castlehaven used to be performed for crimes so terrible that "a Christian guy ought scarce to call them" threatened the very foundations of aristocratic hierarchy. In a home in Gross disease, Cynthia Herrup offers a strikingly new interpretation either one of the case itself and of the sexual and social anxieties it solid into such daring reduction. Castlehaven used to be convicted of abetting the rape of his spouse and of committing sodomy along with his servants. greater than that, he stood accused of inverting the common order of his family through reveling in instead of restraining the intemperate passions of these he was once anticipated to rule and safeguard. Herrup argues that simply because an orderly condo used to be thought of either an instance and endorsement of aristocratic governance, the riotousness presided over through Castlehaven was once the main damning facts opposed to him. Castlehaven himself argued that he used to be the sufferer of an impatient son, an unsatisfied spouse, and courtiers grasping for his lands. Eschewing uncomplicated conclusions approximately guilt or innocence, Herrup focuses in its place at the interesting felony, social and political dynamics of the case and its next retellings. In prose as riveting because the ethical and criminal dramas it depicts, a home in Gross illness reconsiders a scandal that also speaks to modern anxieties approximately intercourse, stable governance, and the function of legislations in regulating either.

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

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They threatened inheritance and loyalty, familial order and individual sobriety. Both categories encompassed, but were not defined by, sexual behavior; 38 A House in Gross Disorder physical acts became felonious only when they accompanied other disorders. Rapists and buggers were overconsumers; they lusted after property and luxury as well as men and women. They embodied an immoderation that was as destructive as it was enticing, and it was that excess, not specific acts, that so endangered society.

Whether or not actually pederastic, the sodomitical relationships described in the legal records invariably paired authority and dependency—men and boys, masters and servants, teachers and pupils, patrons and clients. 22 And sodomy was seen as an invading force; born not in English hearts, but carried to English shores to be left as a corrosive 34 A House in Gross Disorder legacy. Coke believed that it arrived in England with the immigration of the Lombards; John Marston wrote that it had entered the country with the Jesuits.

2 Pory’s expectations reflected the novelty of the trial as well as its particulars; no English peer had been tried for felony in a generation. No peer in memory had been tried for rape or sodomy. 3 RAPE AND SODOMY IN CASTLEHAVEN’S TIME However unusual the allegations against the Earl, and however important his background was to the outcome of his trial, to understand what happened, we must begin with the two crimes for which he was indicted: rape and sodomy. The evidence through which to contextualize charges of either crime is elliptical.

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