By Katherine Binhammer
Eighteenth-century literature monitors a fascination with the seduction of a virtuous younger heroine, such a lot famously illustrated via Samuel Richardson's Clarissa and repeated in 1790s radical women's novels, within the many memoirs by way of fictional or actual penitent prostitutes, and in highway print. throughout fiction, ballads, essays and miscellanies, tales have been informed of women's unsuitable trust of their enthusiasts' vows. during this ebook Katherine Binhammer surveys seduction narratives from the past due eighteenth century in the context of the recent excellent of marriage-for-love and indicates how those stories inform various tales of women's emotional and sexual lives. Drawing on new historicism, feminism, and narrative idea, Binhammer argues that the seduction narrative allowed writers to discover various fates for the heroine than the domesticity that grew to become the dominant shape in later literature. This learn will attract students of eighteenth-century literature, social and cultural heritage, and women's and gender reviews.
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Extra resources for The Seduction Narrative in Britain, 1747-1800
While Belford concludes that Lovelace thinks he knows more than he does, he comes to see that Clarissa knows both more than all the rakes who surround her, and more than those rakes think she does. He ﬁrst meets her at Sinclair’s brothel where he immediately recognizes her acute critical faculties, commenting on her “very uncommon judgement” (711). But from his own libertine perspective where women are either innocent or experienced he initially believes that “her wit wants that maturity which only years and experience can give it.
The ﬁrst, the libertine amatory version, sees love as reducible to sexual desire and the second, the bourgeois sentimental, sees sexual desire as reducible to love but both plots assume sexuality to be the master key to female subjectivity and deﬁne Woman entirely in relation to love and sex. ”34 Women never escape their sex in either narrative mode, their plots are fated in both, but Clarissa’s narrative, I argue, imagines love and sex separately and by disarticulating female knowledge from sexual experience, her discourse of love tells a diﬀerent story, one in which the event of her love is plotted.
In addition to the trial with her mother noted above, the narrative time between her leaving her father’s house and the rape unfolds at a snail’s pace and, in so doing, is critical to Clarissa’s emplotment and provides a way of understanding why she fails to anticipate the central Knowing love: The epistemology of Clarissa 37 event in the novel, the rape. Most seduction narratives before Richardson and many, if not most, after Clarissa, collapse the heroine’s loss of the protection of her father’s house into her sexual fall; the two events happen close together in the text and thus the reader comes to expect the second when she reads the ﬁrst.
The Seduction Narrative in Britain, 1747-1800 by Katherine Binhammer