By Cynthia B. Herrup
Intercourse, privilege, corruption, and revenge--these are components that we predict to discover splashed throughout modern tabloid headlines. yet in seventeenth century England, a intercourse scandal during which the 2d Earl of Castlehaven used to be performed 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 illness, 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 along with his servants. greater than that, he stood accused of inverting the common order of his loved ones through reveling in instead of restraining the intemperate passions of these he used to be anticipated to rule and safeguard. Herrup argues that simply because an orderly residence was once thought of either an instance and endorsement of aristocratic governance, the riotousness presided over through Castlehaven was once 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 easy 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 criminal dramas it depicts, a home in Gross disease reconsiders a scandal that also speaks to modern anxieties approximately intercourse, reliable 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
Because in early modern England the head of a household was, in a sense, its only public adult, observers in the seventeenth century would have been less interested than are modern audiences in the trial’s other participants. Even so, contemporaries would have known much more than we can now discover; an irremediable imbalance exists between the documentary remains of even this Earl and what can be found about his dependents. Their proﬁles remain patchy, ﬁltered through testimony linked to the scandal, offering mere dots that must be connected by lines of educated speculation.
CHAPTER 2 A D ebauched S on of a N oble F amily n Monday,” John Pory wrote to Sir Thomas Puckering on 21 April 1631, “the Sheriff of London began to build scaffolds in Westminster Hall against Monday next, for the trial of the Earl of Castlehaven, there being twenty-seven lords summoned by writs to be his judges (whereof all the lords of the Privy Council except the Earls of Exeter and Bridgewater, are part), and my Lord Keeper to sit Lord High Steward for the day. ”1 News traveled fast and far in early-seventeenth-century England; in addition to information conveyed in person and through private correspondence, a network of newswriters kept patrons in the countryside informed of international and domestic politics, court gossip, and legal affairs.
Whether or not actually pederastic, the sodomitical relationships described in the legal records invariably paired authority and dependency—men and boys, masters and servants, teachers and pupils, patrons and clients. 22 And sodomy was seen as an invading force; born not in English hearts, but carried to English shores to be left as a corrosive 34 A House in Gross Disorder legacy. Coke believed that it arrived in England with the immigration of the Lombards; John Marston wrote that it had entered the country with the Jesuits.