Introduction

The bibliography provides information on writings dealing with the history of rape, including sexual child abuse, sexual harassment, sexual molestation, child prostitution, forced prostitution, sexual slavery, sexual(ized) violence. The blog informs about calls for papers, forthcoming events and new literature in this field.

May 3, 2011

ART: Lady Hester Pulter's The Unfortunate Florinda

Author: Peter C. Herman
Title: Lady Hester Pulter's The Unfortunate Florinda
Subtitle: Race, religion, and the politics of rape
Journal: Renaissance quarterly
Volume: 63
Issue: 4
Year: Winter 2010
Pages: 1208-1246
ISSN: 0034-4338
Language: English

Abstract: »In the mid-1990s a manuscript was discovered containing the poetry and prose of a previously unknown female author, Lady Hester Pulter. The poems, likely written during the 1640s-'50s, demonstrate Pulter's wide reading and her near-fanatical Royalism. The prose romance, The Unfortunate Florinda, however, displays a very different politics. Basing her fiction on the legends surrounding the Muslim conquest of Spain, I argue that Pulter adjusts her sources to present an alternative, Augustinian view of rape, one that blames the rapist, not the victim. The monarchs in Pulter's fiction use absolutist rhetoric to justify rape, and, contra her earlier poetic denunciations of Charles I's execution, rape now justifies regicide. I suggest that the sexual corruption of Charles II's court prompted Pulter to create a romance with distinctly republican overtones in which chastity is the highest value, sexual corruption the lowest vice, and rulers who commit such crimes forfeit both their right to rule and their right to live.« [Source: Renaissance quarterly.]