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ENG307 - Lecture 4

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University of Toronto St. George
Terry Robinson

Women Writers (1660 - 1800) {Eighteenth Century} Wednesday, September 19th, 2012 - pop quizzes start next week; know authors, titles (+ subtitles), basic info covered in class (lecture note info), basic plot - can be from assigned reading from the day & from previous (lectures & readings) - will be fairly contained within a few days; 5 min, really short For Monday: Behn, 'The Disappointment' (BB) & Haywood, Fantomina (book) The Rover - Aphra Behn - talk about how should recognize voices - requires some suspension of disbelief, go that distance & imagine you could be mistaken in identifying identities - socialization of the male - lazy, sexually promiscuous, etc. - objective of the female = to rein him in, traditional patriarchal society, etc. - Restoration culture; women had a lot of agency - the 'breeches' role; woman dressing as man, blurring of gender ideologies/identities - setting: play takes place in Naples (Italy); Carnival time; time period: Charles II in exile (pg. 11) - 'Parliaments & protectors' - line 60: Frederick - we know then that the time period is the Commonwealth/Interregnum (England experiences early republican gov't) - title of the play: 'The Rover' or 'The Banish'd Cavaliers' - Willmore is the rover (line 56) ('Wilmore, welcome ashore, my dear rover') - the cavaliers Belville, Frederick & Willmore - cavaliers referred those of high standing(?) who supported Charles II (in battle) - they're poor (Commonwealth took all their estate & money) - with rise of Parliamentary role & Commonwealth, the estates of the wealthy Royalists being usurped (so these people don't have money) - during the protectorate, estates were confiscated - Blunt isn't a cavalier, didn't fight on behalf of Charles I - country gentleman from Essex (a baby, only lived a posh life) but still their friend, portrayed in play as an idle traveler - mostly in outdoor settings - important because dealing with social/public sphere - space of men, the marketplace - opposed to the private/domestic sphere typically associated with women - imagine, @ this time, that men & women inhabited separate spheres - given this, why did Behn set her play @ the time in Carnival? - Carnival allows women to venture into the outdoor space; masks, costumes - could lead womanly, domestic identity at home, adopt a different one & venture out - no repercussions to your honor because couldn't be identified - new ids, new self, new personas - also allows playing with gender identities - cross-dressing, for example - on the stage, fabulous costumes, magnificent masks - fabulous spectacle for the viewing audience - also have men & women interacting in ways they typically wouldn't be allowed to interact in, due to public sphere; amorous atmosphere - extremely popular entertainment in Europe; a lot of aristocrats would host private masquerade balls - reached their height of popularity towards end of 18th C - M & F could engage in expressiveness not otherwise permitted; M & W could enjoy fleeting liberty from usual social & sexual constraints; standard rules for engagement didn't apply; could (temporarily) discard their private, sexual, social & hierarchical identities, & choose one that they desired (adopt a role) - being masked hid one's identity, allowed different persona - encourage reversal of hierarchy, elements of parody & playfulness, & performance - Restoration period, performance of the self - celebrated temporary liberation from the truth of the established order - carnivals went out of fashion towards end of 18th C as more push for pre-Victorian morality, female honor, etc. - carnivals were associated with transgressive, increasingly dangerous because it played with social hierarchies, etc. - Behn here, @ heart of popularity of masquerade, using it to great effect e.g. Bakhtin, T. Castle - have books about masquerade - aristocrat (men only), about age of 18/19/20, would be sent to the Continent, do a tour, learn, have a chance to sow your wild oats before settling down, etc. - male time to explore Why set in Italy & not England? - setting of desire, something conceived as unattainable, but also the idea of possibility; Romantic other setting, other world, other space; Italy mythologized as a place of indulgence, sensuality, etc. - setting that allows for all these possibilities that might not be acceptable on home turf; space of potential; also, subject matter becomes less invasive, less threatening for the audience, because you can other-rize it - by placing in Italian space, makes it safe to contemplate English identity = a fashionable or wealthy man of dissolute or promiscuous habits - rakes were celebrated in this time period Don Antonio - viceroy's son, friend of Don Pedro, more interested in Angelica Bianca than Florinda Don Pedro - also wants Angelica, not as rich as Antonio, brother to Florinda Belvile - English colonel, has no money, banished cavalier, loves Florinda, intent on preserving her honor Willmore - a rake, aggressive, almost violent nature, sketchy, uses wit to seduce women, obtain what he wants Frederick - cavaliers, ends up matched with Valeria, English gentleman, morals that kind of waver throughout text as well Ned Blunt - naive, runs off with Lucetta, cons him Wit = 1) mental sharpness & inventiveness; keen intelligence 2) the ability to use words & ideas in a quick & inventive way. When used for homor's sake, it encompasses repartee, raillery, & use of double entendre & innuendo; a specifically literary quality that defines one's artistic skill/linguistic finesse > a 'wit' (person) may use language to charm and/or deceive others, often as a means to obtain what he or she desires - Behn does something interesting with Willmore - he's interesting, savvy - but on other levels, his character seems to undermine our promotion of him - constantly lying, completely arrogant, doltish (bumbling fool) - characterized simultaneously as witty guy, & a bumbling food (messes things up for Belvile multiple times) - way in which he's transgressive & accepted in some ways - why does he keep winning over people? - charming idiot - supposed to be disturbing (e.g. okay to rape a prostitute when drunk?) - Aphra Behn has sympathies for these characters - exemplifies this Restoration hero, but also presents danger to a well-ordered society - when do we see negative side of Frederick? when he's considering raping Florinda; okay to rape prostitutes/treat roughly, but not a woman of status? - stage spectacle, Blunt getting conned, taken for a fool; wealthy man whose money gets stolen; also brutish (male violence in the play) - opposite of a rake, lacks the libertine's good-naturedness; has no playfulness; rather than being engaged in sexual play (such as Willmore is), he's all force - either duped or all force; boorish Florinda - sister to Don Pedro, in love with Belvile, maid of quality (distinguishes her in hierarchical sense from prostitutes) Hellena - immense beauty, Helen of Troy, sister to Florinda, destined to become a nun (future her brother/father set out for her); extremely witty, but also graceful Valeria
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