By Cynthia B. Herrup
Intercourse, privilege, corruption, and revenge--these are parts that we think to discover splashed throughout contemporary tabloid headlines. yet in seventeenth century England, a intercourse scandal within which the second Earl of Castlehaven used to be done 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 provides a strikingly new interpretation either one of the case itself and of the sexual and social anxieties it forged into such daring reduction. 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 normal order of his family by way of reveling in instead of restraining the intemperate passions of these he was once anticipated to rule and safeguard. Herrup argues that simply because an orderly condominium 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 used to be the sufferer of an impatient son, an unsatisfied spouse, and courtiers grasping for his lands. Eschewing basic conclusions approximately guilt or innocence, Herrup focuses in its place 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 affliction reconsiders a scandal that also speaks to modern anxieties approximately intercourse, solid governance, and the position of legislation in regulating either.
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Extra info for A House in Gross Disorder: Sex, Law, and the 2nd Earl of Castlehaven
Ofﬁcial concern about rape had focused traditionally on the crime’s repercussions for inheritance. The distinct, but often associated, practice of kidnapping heiresses or widows for their fortunes and then sealing the bargain with forced intercourse, made rape a crime that seemed to assume a breach of both body and estate, of the individual within the context of the family. 16 This legacy had mixed consequences. The ancient tie of rape and property probably reinforced the standing of rape as a crime worthy of sustained attention.
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. 24 Although Castlehaven’s behavior may have reminded Charles I of his late father, disturbing parallels could also be drawn between the Earl’s understanding of patriarchal authority and the King’s.
Richer rewards were to follow, at the expense of the Touchets. Exploiting the fact that like many other landholders in Ulster, neither Castlehaven nor his father had fulﬁlled the original Articles of Plantation, in 1628, Crosby asked the King to order an investigation of the Earl’s properties in Armagh as well as in Tyrone. Few planters had accomplished what the rules intended, the replacement of “unruly” Irish tenants with allegedly more industrious English and Scottish leaseholders; Castlehaven was no exception.
A House in Gross Disorder: Sex, Law, and the 2nd Earl of Castlehaven by Cynthia B. Herrup