By Cynthia B. Herrup
Intercourse, privilege, corruption, and revenge--these are parts that we think to discover splashed throughout state-of-the-art tabloid headlines. yet in seventeenth century England, a intercourse scandal during which the 2d Earl of Castlehaven used to be accomplished 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 sickness, 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 aid. Castlehaven used to be convicted of abetting the rape of his spouse and of committing sodomy together with his servants. greater than that, he stood accused of inverting the normal order of his family by way 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 residence was once thought of either an instance and endorsement of aristocratic governance, the riotousness presided over via Castlehaven used to be the main damning proof opposed to him. Castlehaven himself argued that he was once the sufferer of an impatient son, an unsatisfied spouse, and courtiers grasping for his lands. Eschewing basic conclusions approximately guilt or innocence, Herrup focuses as a substitute at the interesting criminal, social and political dynamics of the case and its next retellings. In prose as riveting because the ethical and felony dramas it depicts, a home in Gross illness reconsiders a scandal that also speaks to modern anxieties approximately intercourse, solid governance, and the function of legislations in regulating either.
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Additional info for A House in Gross Disorder: Sex, Law, and the 2nd Earl of Castlehaven
15 Not being a Catholic and not being suspected of being a Catholic, however, are two different things, and the difference exposes the dilemma of the Earl’s position. Given the common Protestant understanding of Catholic duplicity, it was no easy matter to disavow an interest in Catholicism convincingly, and Castlehaven’s openly Catholic relatives and lack of presence made it still harder. At his trial, prosecutors alleged that Castlehaven was religiously capricious, not a papist, but rumors that he adhered to Rome were so persistent that in the week before he was beheaded, he felt compelled to issue a confession of his resolute belief in the tenets of the Church of England.
In contrast, we can identify close to twenty servants who were in residence more regularly than these offspring. 11 The 2nd Earl of Castlehaven was not a signiﬁcant presence in the public life of either the nation or the locality. 12 Recognition of status apparently concerned him more than the rewards and obligations of public service. Castlehaven’s father had refused to sit in the Irish Parliament unless he was given precedence over all Irish Barons; Castlehaven, when just an English Baron’s son, had left Dublin rather than cede rank to the members of the Irish Privy Coun- A Household Kept unto Itself 15 cil.
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. Interpretative issues confused the category of sodomy as well. Alan Bray and Alan Stewart have deftly shown us how (and why) in a society that valorized male intimacy, the behavior of most men provided the raw materials from which to construct an accusation of sodomy.
A House in Gross Disorder: Sex, Law, and the 2nd Earl of Castlehaven by Cynthia B. Herrup