Libertines and Radicals in Early Modern London: Sexuality, Politics and Literary Culture, 1630-1685

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This study analyzes English sexual culture between the Civil Wars and the death of Charles II in unprecedented detail. James Grantham Turner examines a broad range of Civil War and Restoration texts, from sex-crime records to Milton's epics and Rochester's "mannerly obscene" lyrics. Throughout, he interprets satirical texts, whether political or pornographic, as an attempt to neutralize women's efforts to establish their own institutions and voice. This exhaustive study will be of interest to cultural historians as well as literary scholars.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Libertines and Radicals is unquestionably a major contribution to our understanding of libertinism in the age of Milton..." Milton Quarterly

"An ambitious and innovative book." Seventeeth-Century News

"The mass and diversity of materials Turner covers is awesome....Turner's scholarship will be mined by students and scholars in any number of fields...and those readers will also discover here a model of brilliance and intellectual tact." Choice

"Libertines and Radicals is an impressive, suggestive, and elegant work that makes an important contribution to political, cultural, and literary studies." Albion

"The writing is racy and polished, leaping from anecdote to text to archive, and back again...required reading for any student of Restoration literature." Renaissance Quarterly

"Learned and lubricious, the book is witty, exceedingly well informed, and a little bit obscene." Studies in English Literature

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521782791
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 3/28/2005
  • Pages: 368
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.83 (d)

Meet the Author

James Grantham Turner is Professor of English at the University of California at Berkeley. He is the author of One Flesh: Paradisal Marriage and Sexual Relations in the Age of Milton (1987) and editor of The Politics of Landscape: Rural Scenery and Society in English Poetry, 1630–1660 (1979) and Sexuality and Gender in Early Modern Europe: Institutions, Texts, Images (Cambridge 1993).

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Table of Contents

List of illustrations; Preface; List of abbreviations and frequently cited works; 1. Pornographia and the markings of prostitution: an introduction; 2. Ceremonies of abjection: sex, politics and the disorderly subculture; 3. 'The posture of a free state': political pornography and the 'commonwealth of women', 1640–1660; 4. The wandering whore's return: the carnivalization of sexuality in the early Restoration; 5. Monstrous assemblies: bawdy-house riots, 'libertine libels' and the royal mistress; 6. 'Making yourself a beast': upper-class riot and inversionary wit in the age of Rochester; Epilogue: 'In Bathsheba's Embraces old': pornographia rediviva at the close of Charles II's reign; Notes; Index.

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