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Sea Dogs and Terra Firma Villains: from New Sciences to Literature in 18th-Century England

Abstract : Pirates and buccaneers, pimps and prostitutes, thieves and receivers, but also private sphere offenders or immoral behaviours: the variegated eighteenth-century written production – criminals’ dying speeches, Newgate chaplain’s sermons, criminal biographies, dictionaries of slang, from broadsides and chapbooks to novels and collections – seems to set out a new approach to wrongdoing, inspired by and inkeeping with the modern scientific spirit of Sir Francis Bacon and the Royal Society of Geography, operating along different lines, both the degree and nature of various examples of wrongdoing being frequently questioned. Property crimes, family crimes or blood crimes found themselves analysed as well as accounted for and exemplified in those eighteenth-century manifold accounts. Realism was given pride of place in representations of wrongdoing, allegedly to instruct or amuse the reading public, in the Classical tradition; however, this did not prevent the accounts from being also frequently twisted into more emotional renderings apt to act as virtuous deterrents, or, just as well, elicit a vicarious sense of participation in the titillated readership.
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Contributor : Sophie Jorrand <>
Submitted on : Sunday, September 15, 2019 - 12:09:36 PM
Last modification on : Monday, February 10, 2020 - 12:17:30 PM


  • HAL Id : hal-02288642, version 1


Sophie Jorrand. Sea Dogs and Terra Firma Villains: from New Sciences to Literature in 18th-Century England. Elizabeth Durot-Boucé. Wrongdoing, Realities, Representations, Reactions, TIR, pp.127-143, 2015, ISBN 10 : 2917681292 ISBN 13 : 9782917681299. ⟨hal-02288642⟩



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