open.conted.ox.ac.uk (beta)

Open Educational Resources

Queer Expression in Georgian England : Subverting Norms in the Face of Oppression by Jack Nall

At first glance, British Georgian society may have expressed rather strict codes regarding the expression of love, gender, and sexuality inherited from the Buggery Act of 1533. However, by taking the example of the Chevalier d’Éon de Beaumont (1728-1810), a French spy and diplomat who lived in London, this article argues the public fascination they inspired due to their ambiguous gender. Therefore, how can Georgian England be seen through queer theory? What strategies did nonnormative gendered individuals, including Macaronis (the then-used pejorative word to define gay men), adopt to escape police brutality, prison, and the death sentence? The essay will aim attention at two artefacts: a mezzotint after John Collet (1725-1780), A Morning Frolic or the Transmutation of Sexes (unknown date), and a poem written by James Perry (1756-1821) about the Chevalier d’Éon, an Epistle from mademoiselle d’Éon to the Right Honorable Lord Mansfield (1778). This article will build on the term kyriarchy, first coined by Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza to show how these two artefacts can reveal the interconnection and interaction of domination and submission, unveiling a system where an individual might experience oppression in some situations but remain privileged in others. This complex dynamism explains the various expressions of queerness in Georgian England.

Date created: 
Wednesday, April 12, 2023
Attribution for this resource:
Queer Expression in Georgian England : Subverting Norms in the Face of Oppression by Jack Nall, All rights reserved.
Subjects: 
Courses using this resource: