By Cynthia B. Herrup
Intercourse, privilege, corruption, and revenge--these are components that we think to discover splashed throughout ultra-modern tabloid headlines. yet in seventeenth century England, a intercourse scandal within which the 2d Earl of Castlehaven used to be completed 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 ailment, 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 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 common order of his family by means of reveling in instead of restraining the intemperate passions of these he was once anticipated to rule and shield. Herrup argues that simply because an orderly apartment used to be thought of either an instance and endorsement of aristocratic governance, the riotousness presided over through Castlehaven used to be the main damning facts 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 an alternative 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 sickness reconsiders a scandal that also speaks to modern anxieties approximately intercourse, stable governance, and the position of legislation in regulating either.
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Additional info for A House in Gross Disorder: Sex, Law, and the 2nd Earl of Castlehaven
Against its strictures, he continued to collect taxes on authority of precedent rather than speciﬁc parliamentary sanction, to impress men into armed service, and to quarter them on unwilling residents. He had imprisoned several prominent members of the last Parliament, setting off a judicial battle over parliamentary privilege. Ongoing disagreements festered over the penal laws, foreign policy, ﬁnance, and what many saw as the King’s unwillingness to rely on proper councilors. The assassination of the Duke of Buckingham in 1629 enraged and frightened Charles; the raucous opposition to Buckingham before his death and the celebrations following it reinforced the King’s convictions about 22 A House in Gross Disorder the fragility of order.
Heads of household were expected to instruct their inferiors as well as to protect them. Superiors were to guide and to discipline their charges, but most important, to teach them by example. 10 Maintaining a well-ordered household (like maintaining a wellordered society) could be a considerable challenge. At the heart of aristocratic households was a contradiction: they were intended as models of successful cooperation, but their essence was ambition. Families maintained them to display the power of their lineages; servants were drawn to them to ﬁnd patrons; children and parents used them as platforms from which to arrange advantageous marriages and employment.
It began with a boasting contest between Lucretia’s husband and his friends. Tarquin, the son of the reigning King, took the conﬁdence which Lucretia’s husband had expressed about her chastity as a challenge. Having exploited Lucretia’s hospitality, Tarquin threatened her ﬁrst with death, then with dishonor, and ﬁnally, he raped her. The next morning Lucretia told her story to her 32 A House in Gross Disorder husband, father, and other witnesses. She urged them to avenge her shame and plunged a dagger into her heart.
A House in Gross Disorder: Sex, Law, and the 2nd Earl of Castlehaven by Cynthia B. Herrup