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A martyr for sin : Rochester's critique of polity, sexuality, and society

Author: Kirk Combe
Publisher: Newark, Del. : University of Delaware Press ; London : Associated University Presses, ©1998.
Edition/Format:   Print book : State or province government publication : EnglishView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
Unlike so many critics, Kirk Combe does not see the writings of John Wilmot, the second earl of Rochester, as being "curiously apolitical" (to use Dustin Griffin's phrase). In this study, he instead sees Rochester's poems, prose, and plays during the early modern period as pursuing an agenda of exposing the relationship between truth and power, in Michel Foucault's sense of those terms. With subtlety and finesse,  Read more...
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Genre/Form: Criticism, interpretation, etc
History
Named Person: John Wilmot Rochester, Earl of; John Wilmot Rochester, Earl of; John Wilmot Rochester, Earl of; John Wilmot Rochester, comte de); John Wilmot of Rochester
Material Type: Government publication, State or province government publication
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Kirk Combe
ISBN: 0874136474 9780874136470
OCLC Number: 37682684
Description: 186 pages ; 24 cm
Contents: 1. Current Theory --
2. Contemporary Idiom --
3. Narrative Angst --
4. Linguistic Iconoclasm --
5. Political Sexuality --
6. Concluding Thoughts.
Responsibility: Kirk Combe.

Abstract:

Unlike so many critics, Kirk Combe does not see the writings of John Wilmot, the second earl of Rochester, as being "curiously apolitical" (to use Dustin Griffin's phrase). In this study, he instead sees Rochester's poems, prose, and plays during the early modern period as pursuing an agenda of exposing the relationship between truth and power, in Michel Foucault's sense of those terms. With subtlety and finesse, Rochester's writings enmesh their reader in the power structure of Restoration patrician society and Charles II's libertine court. Within this very specific locality, the works potentially lead Rochester's contemporary readership to a realization of "historically how effects of truth are produced within discourses which in themselves are neither true nor false" (Foucault). In other words, many if not all of Rochester's writings work to debunk particular truth-producing mechanisms of Charles's court, unmask certain affectations of the luminaries of Whitehall, and expose to ridicule a range of patrician social and literary practices. Combe takes all such activities to be political in nature. At the same time, the study extends an examination of Rochester's texts in their historical setting to a consideration of what our current critical reaction to them might indicate about us.

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