Lewd and Notorious: Female Transgression in the Eighteenth by Katharine Kittredge

By Katharine Kittredge

Money owed of women's transgressive habit in eighteenth-century literature and social records have a lot to coach us approximately buildings of femininity through the interval frequently pointed out as having shaped our society's gender norms. Lewd and infamous explores the eighteenth century's shadows, inhabited via marginal girls of many forms and levels of contrariness. The reader meets Laetitia Pilkington, whose sexual indiscretions brought on her to fall from social and literary grace to turn into an articulate memoirist of non-public scandal, and Elizabeth Brownrigg, who tortured and starved her younger servants, propelling herself to an infamy akin to Susan Smith's or Myra Hindley's. extra lousy ladies wait among those covers to educate us approximately society's reception (and development) in their debauchery and dangerousness. The authors draw upon a wealthy diversity of latest texts to light up the lives of those ladies. Astute research of literary, felony, evangelical, epistolary, and political files offers an realizing of 1700s womanhood. From lusty outdated maids to murderous mistresses, the characters who exemplify this period's imaginative and prescient of ladies at the aspect are crucial neighbors for an individual wishing to appreciate the advance and ramifications of conceptions of femininity. Katharine Kittredge is affiliate Professor of English, Ithaca university.

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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).

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.

And when Mrs. Barlow thinks people are staring at Lister because her gown “was so tumbled & shabby,” Lister “explained that it was not that. ” (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).

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