The politics of seduction in english popular culture, 1748-1848

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9 Scopus citations


In 1818, Birmingham audiences shaken by the real-life rape and murder of servant Mary Ashford could re-live the experience by watching a lurid melodrama entitled The Murdered Maid. They thrilled to see the villain ‘Thornville’ pursue the innocent ‘Maria’ as she cried, ‘Begone, and learn that the humble and low-born Maria abhors the wretch, though a diadem sparkled on his brows, who would shock her ears with such base proposals and try to lure her from the paths of rectitude and honour.’1 In the period of economic depression and political radicalism after the Napoleonic Wars, these strong words provided a clear, defiant metaphor of the exploitation of the poor by the upper classes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Progress of Romance
Subtitle of host publicationThe Politics of Popular Fiction
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages24
ISBN (Electronic)9781315447711
ISBN (Print)0710209630, 9781138213715
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 1986 Routledge & Kegan Paul. All rights reserved.


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