An accusation easily to be made: rape and silence in eighteenth-century literature, 1725-1750

Eldridge, Samantha L. (2015) An accusation easily to be made: rape and silence in eighteenth-century literature, 1725-1750. BA dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

[img] PDF
Restricted to Registered users only

Download (409kB)


    In this dissertation, “An Accusation Easily to be Made: Rape and Silence in Eighteenth Century Literature, 1725-1750” I look at the issues surrounding rape and silencing. For this analysis, I have utilised Samuel Richardson’s Clarissa, John Cleland’s Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure, and Eliza Haywood’s Fantomina. Within these texts vast quantities of information are available that provide the reader with an insight into the struggles of a rape victim in the eighteenth century. While these struggles are too vast to be contained within this dissertation, the ones that can be contained within the scope of this investigation have been organised into categories concerning intent and consent, the silences that are inherent in rape, and issues associated with breaking that silence and speaking out.
    By comparing these texts with critical commentary from known experts on the subject of literary sexual violence, and analysing nuances of language in the texts themselves, a clearer picture of rape victims in the eighteenth century emerge. Where necessary, allowances have been made for the fictitious nature of the texts, and the variations on reality this would entail. Through this analysis, I have discovered that the efforts to silence rape victims in the present day trace back to eighteenth century mentalities. It is because of these inherent silences that I have attempted to provide voice to these women, in the hopes of understanding present attitudes towards rape victims.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Social, Historical and Literary Studies
    Depositing User: Jane Polwin
    Date Deposited: 20 Jan 2016 15:06
    Last Modified: 20 Jan 2016 15:06

    Actions (login required)

    View Item

    Document Downloads

    More statistics for this item...