The children will be "subject to the infamy of their deluded and unfortunate mother": rhetoric of the courtroom, a gothic fantasy and a plain letter to the Lord Chancellor

HOCKENHULL-SMITH, Marie (2006). The children will be "subject to the infamy of their deluded and unfortunate mother": rhetoric of the courtroom, a gothic fantasy and a plain letter to the Lord Chancellor. Law and literature, 18 (3), 403-430.

Full text not available from this repository.
Link to published version:: 10.1525/lal.2006.18.3.403

Abstract

This article discusses an example of the mutual influence of law, culture and politics, within the modes of the gothic and the sublime. In the context of eighteenth and early nineteenth-century English laws of adultery and of child custody, suppression of the woman's interest was technically justified by the existence of certain formal requirements, or certain presumptions; the resulting environment corresponded to a key trope of the "gothic" novel. That suggests the closeness of the link between such laws, some of which really originated in gothic law, and the development of the literary gothic, generically fascinated by ancestry and fraught with anxiety about the family, sexuality, and power. The core of the argument is an analysis of two texts which relate to a specific example, the rhetoric of the "criminal conversation" adultery action. Charlotte Dacre's notorious novel of 1806, Zofloya, or the Moor, can be read as a reaction, which takes its rhetoric of social damage to a catastrophic extreme. The public letter of crim con "victim" Caroline Norton on the Infant and Child Custody Bill of 1839 attempts the opposite, to reconcile the law's atavism with enlightened ethics and to imagine a sublime resolution without catastrophe.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: <p>HOCKENHULL-SMITH, Marie (2006). The children will be "subject to the infamy of their deluded and unfortunate mother": rhetoric of the courtroom, a gothic fantasy and a plain letter to the Lord Chancellor. <I>Law and literature</I>,<B>18</B>(3), 403-430</P> <p>Copyright The Cardoza School of Law of Yeshiva University
Research Institute, Centre or Group: Humanities Research Centre
Identification Number: 10.1525/lal.2006.18.3.403
Depositing User: Ann Betterton
Date Deposited: 20 Jul 2009
Last Modified: 12 Jul 2010 14:09
URI: http://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/563

Actions (login required)

View Item

Downloads

Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics