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ENL 6236 Beauty and Violence in the Enlightenment

    Class 8: Clarissa: The Rape - part I, masculinity


      Clarissa, pp. 750-900
      John Tosh, "The Old Adam and the New Man: Emerging Themes in the History of English Masculinities, 1750-1850" in English Masculinities 1660-1800 eds. Hitchcock and Cohen, in Course Docs
      DUE: Post #7; Clarissa reading journal;
      Scholarship Presentation: Lauren Oetinger -- Thompson, Peggy. "Abuse and Atonement: The Passion of Clarissa Harlowe." Passion & Virtue: Essays on the Novels of Samuel Richardson. Ed. David Blewett. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2001. 152-169. PDF linked to course wiki.

    Class Objectives:

    • To discuss the rape from Lovelace's point of view; Clarissa's initial reaction
    • To discuss historical models of masculinities 1750-1850
    • To analyze the article presented by Ms. Oetinger

    ***NOTE ON PROCEDURES: For students who are presenting, please make a link to your paper from the main schedule of the wiki site. Also please send me a formatted copy of the paper by email. For all other students, please examine the article as we have been in class, and be prepared to identify and evaluate the thesis, main points, method, and validity of the arguments.

    Notes and Discussion Questions:

    1. Clarissa - through Letter 263

    Lovelace finds Clarissa and brings her back to Sinclair's with specious promises. The ultimate trial takes place, and we read about it from Lovelace's perspective. The section ends with Clarissa's absolute refusal to be his wife.

    Why does Clarissa return with Lovelace to Sinclair's?

    How can we understand Lovelace's actions toward Clarissa? What happens to his narration after the rape? How does he explain himself to Belford? To himself?

    How does his relationship with Belford change after the rape?

    Evaluate the various papers Clarissa writes after the rape. What does each tell us about the event? About Clarissa? About Clarissa?

    "Any yet why say I, completed? when the will, is wanting -- and I have still views before me of obtaining that?" (L261, p. 888). What "will" and why?

    Why does Clarissa refuse to be Lovelace's wife? Why does she blame herself?

    2. John Tosh, "The Old Adam and the New Man"

    Review the different models of historical change in recent studies of masculinity 1750-1850. What changes in masculinity? How are these changes explained? What remains in question?

    What happens to the "libertine" in the course of the changes to masculinity 1750-1850? Why?

    Tosh suggests that two aspects of masculinity are "hegemonic in the sense that they moulded consciousness and behavior at all levels of society" consistently throughout the era: "predatory sexuality among the young and domestic patriarchy among the fully mature" (237). How are these two sets of behaviors evidence of the workings of "patriarchy"? What are the implications of their hegemony? What evidence do you see for these in Clarissa? What problems does Clarissa pose for such a history of masculinity?

    Explain the evolution of the two-sex model of gender polarisation during the period. What are the implications of this shift for female sexuality? Male sexuality? For the concept of fathers? For the role of men in the domestic sphere?

    In what ways does Clarissa's criticism of Lovelace's behavior anticpate reform in male identity as posed by Tosh (i.e. in the formation of the evangelical notions of character)?

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