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Rakes, Highwaymen, and Pirates

The Making of the Modern Gentleman in the Eighteenth Century

Erin Mackie

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Erin Mackie explores the shared histories of the modern polite English gentleman and other less respectable but no less celebrated eighteenth-century masculine types: the rake, the highwayman, and the pirate.

Mackie traces the emergence of these character types to the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, when traditional aristocratic authority was increasingly challenged. She argues that the development of the modern polite gentleman as a male archetype can only be fully comprehended when considered alongside figures of fallen nobility, which, although criminal, were also glamorous…

Erin Mackie explores the shared histories of the modern polite English gentleman and other less respectable but no less celebrated eighteenth-century masculine types: the rake, the highwayman, and the pirate.

Mackie traces the emergence of these character types to the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, when traditional aristocratic authority was increasingly challenged. She argues that the development of the modern polite gentleman as a male archetype can only be fully comprehended when considered alongside figures of fallen nobility, which, although criminal, were also glamorous enough to reinforce the same ideological order.

In Evelina’s Lord Orville, Clarissa’s Lovelace, Rookwood’s Dick Turpin, and Caleb Williams's Falkland, Mackie reads the story of the ideal gentleman alongside that of the outlaw, revealing the parallel lives of these seemingly contradictory characters. Synthesizing the histories of masculinity, manners, and radicalism, Rakes, Highwaymen, and Pirates offers a fresh perspective on the eighteenth-century aristocratic male.

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Rakes, Highwaymen, and Pirates

Erin Mackie

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Reviews

The book impresses with its attentive close readings of important texts and makes a valuable contribution to gender studies of eighteenth-century Britain.

An engaging study of elite modes of early modern criminality... A richly rewarding volume that gains more than a little residual glamour from its popular subjects. The strength of the text, though, is in Mackie's incisive questioning of that glamour. This is not, finally, a book about pirates (or highwaymen, or rakes) so much as it is a study of our fascination with them.

Mackie is to be congratulated on the range, scholarship, and critical perception in her study of some disquieting resemblances between deviant masculine types and perfect gentleman.

Opens up new avenues for thinking about masculinity, gender, and authority in the long eighteenth century.

Mackie's impressive work offers a fascinating study of criminal and moral masculinity.

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Book Details

Publication Date
Status
Available
Trim Size
6
x
9
Pages
248
ISBN
9781421413853
Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
1. Historicizing Masculinity: The Criminal and the Gentleman
2. Always Making Excuses: The Rake and Criminality
3. Romancing the Highwayman
4. Welcome the Outlaw: Pirates, Maroons, and

Acknowledgments
1. Historicizing Masculinity: The Criminal and the Gentleman
2. Always Making Excuses: The Rake and Criminality
3. Romancing the Highwayman
4. Welcome the Outlaw: Pirates, Maroons, and Caribbean Countercultures
5. Privacy and Ideology: Elite Male Crime in Burney's Evelina and Godwin's Caleb Williams
Notes
Index

Author Bio
Featured Contributor

Erin Mackie, Ph.D.

Erin Mackie is a professor of English at Syracuse University. She is author of Market à la Mode: Fashion, Commodity, and Gender in "The Tatler" and "The Spectator," also published by Johns Hopkins, and editor of The Commerce of Everyday Life: Selections from "The Tatler" and "The Spectator."
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