Force or Fraud: British Seduction Stories and the Problem of Resistance, 1660-1760

Hardcover | February 27, 2011

byToni Bowers

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Force or fraud - rape or seduction? This book examines the development, between the Restoration of Charles II in 1660 and the accession of George III in 1760, of the peculiarly modern habit of making that distinction on the basis of female responsive agency. It tells the story of how rape andseduction came to be distinguished according to measures of women's resistance and consent in low-brow "amatory" writing, and how at the same time amatory fictions interrogated the implications of their own procedures, implications still very much with us today. The amatory tales of Aphra Behn, Delarivier Manley, Eliza Haywood, and Samuel Richardson - early pioneers in British prose fiction - were immensely popular in their day. But they were also scandalous and controversial, not least because they so often depicted innocent young women under assault frommen in positions of legitimate authority over them. Focusing on an ideologically-inflected strategy it calls "collusive resistance," Force or Fraud uncovers the paradoxical means by which formulaic late seventeenth- and early eighteenth-century seduction stories wielded a surprising degree of powerand influence - not only over female imaginations, publication lists, and leisure time, but also over the interpretation of one of the age's most troubling problems, the problem of constructing virtuous resistance to those in authority. Stories about the ambiguous seductions of young women helpedBritish political subjects negotiate a period of dramatic change and uncertainty, and to imagine newly legitimate forms of resistance.

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Force or fraud - rape or seduction? This book examines the development, between the Restoration of Charles II in 1660 and the accession of George III in 1760, of the peculiarly modern habit of making that distinction on the basis of female responsive agency. It tells the story of how rape andseduction came to be distinguished accordin...

Toni Bowers is Associate Professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania.

other books by Toni Bowers

Format:HardcoverDimensions:384 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.98 inPublished:February 27, 2011Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199592136

ISBN - 13:9780199592135

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Table of Contents

PrefaceIntroduction: 'Force or Fraud'?Part I: Passive Obedience: Seduction Paradigms and Old-Tory Mythmaking1. Seduction Stories in Seventeenth-Century Literary History2. The Problem of Resistance in Old-Tory Ideology: Passive Obedience, Seduction Plots, and the Five Love-Letters3. Seduction and Sedition: James, Duke of Monmouth and Seduction-Story Paradigms4. Seduction and Resistance in the 1680s: Behn's Love-Letters Between a Nobleman and His Sister5. Tory Sensibilities Old and New: The Perils of False Brethren and Passive ObediencePart II: Collusive Resistance: Seduction Stories and New-Tory Virtue6. The Problem of Collusion: Manley's The New Atalantis7. Constructing Scandalous Virtue: The Adventures of Rivella and Two Perjur'd Beauties8. Making a Virtue of Complicity: Haywood's Scandal Fiction9. Collusive Resistance and Complicit Virtue in the 1740s: Richardson's Pamela and ClarissaEpilogue: After the Jacobites: Sir Charles Grandison and Late Eighteenth-Century Seduction Fiction