Madness in marriage: erotomania and marital rape in 'He knew he was right' and 'The Forsyte saga'

Goodman, H (2012) 'Madness in marriage: erotomania and marital rape in 'He knew he was right' and 'The Forsyte saga'.' Victorian Network, 4 (2). pp. 47-71.

Official URL: http://www.victoriannetwork.org/index.php/vn/artic...

Abstract

This article challenges the view that the Victorian novel is based on an essentially female courtship plot leading to marriage by reassessing the assumption that it presents marriage as a healthy physical and psychological fulfilment of masculine desire. Drawing attention to the failed and masculine marriage plot, it argues that Anthony Trollope's He Knew He Was Right (1869) and John Galsworthy's The Forsyte Saga (1906-21) illustrate dangers of masculine desire and the pathologisation of jealousy. Both writers position themselves within hotly debated areas of nineteenth-century marital law, viewing their male protagonists through the eyes of a judge and jury. The use of psychological language to describe jealous monomania illustrates the influence of new forms of psychiatry upon fiction, and there is evidence of reciprocal contributions to that new discipline. Combining the analysis of Victorian marriage law reforms, treatises on insanity, and studies of marital violence, this article considers Trollope and Galsworthy's novels in a new light. Trollope's writing can be seen as a foundation for Galsworthy's more overt critique of Victorian marriage laws, such as the legality of marital rape, while masculine desperation for absolute control, increased rather than reduced by marriage, is presented as a cause of psychological disorders such as erotic monomania or erotomania.

Item Type: Article
Note:

Full text of the article is available at the URL above.

Keywords: monomania, erotomania, Trollope, Galsworthy, divorce, domestic violence
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
P Language and Literature > PR English literature
R Medicine > RB Pathology
Divisions: College of Liberal Arts
Date Deposited: 26 Jun 2018 13:44
Last Modified: 26 Jun 2018 13:44
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