Castration, Impotence, and Emasculation in the Long Eighteenth Century: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Castration, Impotence, and Emasculation in the Long Eighteenth Century

1st Edition

By Anne Leah Greenfield


280 pages | 17 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9780367437398
pub: 2019-12-11
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This essay collection examines one of the most fearsome, fascinating, and hotly-discussed topics of the long eighteenth century: masculinity compromised. During this timespan, there was hardly a literary or artistic genre that did not feature unmanning regularly and prominently: from harrowing tales of castrations in medical treatises, to emasculated husbands in stage comedies, to sympathetic and powerful eunuchs in prose fiction, to glorious operatic performances by castrati in Italy, to humorous depictions in caricature and satirical paintings, to fearsome descriptions of Eastern eunuchs in travel narratives, to foolish and impotent old men who became a mainstay in drama. Not only does this unprecedented study of unmanning (in all of its varied forms) illustrate the sheer prevalence of a trope that featured prominently across literary and artistic genres, but it also demonstrates the ways diminished masculinity reflected some of the most strongly-held anxieties, interests, and values of eighteenth-century Britons.

Table of Contents


About the Author

Anne Greenfield is Associate Professor of English at Valdosta State University. She is editor of the book collection Interpreting Sexual Violence: 1660-1800, and she has published articles on Restoration and eighteenth-century literature, especially drama. She is Editor-in-Chief of the journal Restoration and Eighteenth-Century Theatre Research.

About the Series

Routledge Studies in Eighteenth-Century Literature

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