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 within which the second Earl of Castlehaven used to be achieved 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 affliction, Cynthia Herrup provides a strikingly new interpretation either one of the case itself and of the sexual and social anxieties it solid into such daring reduction. Castlehaven was once 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 typical order of his family by means of reveling in instead of restraining the intemperate passions of these he used to be anticipated to rule and shield. Herrup argues that simply because an orderly apartment was once thought of either an instance and endorsement of aristocratic governance, the riotousness presided over by means of Castlehaven was once the main damning proof 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 basic conclusions approximately guilt or innocence, Herrup focuses in its place at the interesting criminal, 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, strong governance, and the function of legislations in regulating either.
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Extra resources for A House in Gross Disorder: Sex, Law, and the 2nd Earl of Castlehaven
12 However, things were no easier when intercourse was conceded, and the issue was consent. , crying out, complaining quickly). But that is not to say that a woman’s behavior after being raped and her prior reputation did not matter. Even while arguing the legal insigniﬁcance of such standards, the author 30 A House in Gross Disorder of Lawes Resolution acknowledged their importance. ” Castlehaven certainly felt justiﬁed in raising questions about his wife’s initial silence and her past life. ”13 We do not have to share his pride to recognize the inescapable veracity of his statement.
For many early modern English Protestants, Catholicism and Irishness were the negatives against which they deﬁned their own integrity. The negative associations were there to be exploited, and the history of the Earl’s life made them difﬁcult, perhaps impossible, to contravene. To the early modern English, the family and its head could be conﬂated to a single entity: Castlehaven was his household. In the test of character that his trial became, that subsumption was even clearer: Castlehaven’s credibility was a critical determination of his criminality.
He was associated with the bugbears of both Catholicism and Irishness. Since neither as an individual nor as a nobleman had he demonstrated unblemished honor, the accusations against Castlehaven seemed far from preposterous. His reputation did not condemn him, but had it been otherwise, it might have helped to save him. Had Castlehaven been someone different, the self-interest of his son and others, the multifaceted tensions between the Touchets and the Stanleys, and the strained relations between the Touchets and the Crown might have given his contemporaries more pause.
A House in Gross Disorder: Sex, Law, and the 2nd Earl of Castlehaven by Cynthia B. Herrup