Marshall, A (2016) 'Sinful temptations': an English Republican politician’s reputation and the culture of sexual and political satire in the early 1650s. In: The People All Changed: Religion and Society in Britain in the 1650s, 15 - 16 July 2016, University of Portsmouth, Portsmouth, UK.

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Throughout his political career in the 1640s and 1650s one important issue for the prominent regicide politician Thomas Scot was his personal life. This, or so it was rumoured, was as much of a mess as was that of his close colleague and friend Henry Marten, himself seemingly no doyen of chastity. The public dimensions of Scot’s life, with its suggestions of seediness and sexual misconduct seem to have continually clung to him throughout his career, even up until to his death on the scaffold in 1660 and it was a matter openly discussed in print. That Scot was well aware of these ‘scandalous reports’ is clear and he even spoke personally of his ‘sinful temptations’. Yet, while it may be said that there were undoubtedly some elements of truth in some of the slanders aimed at Scot, as a whole these accusations were also part of the politically motivated attacks on his and other Republican politicians of the day. This paper will investigate the cultural themes of sexuality, politics, and satire in the 1650s and how such men and their lives were both perceived and exploited by the press of the period. It will use the images of Scot and Henry Marten as Republican statesmen as instances of the use of sexual slander to both politically diminish and undermine the English Republican regime and will seek to assess the reality that lay behind the slanders in the biographies of these two men.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Keywords: Sex / masculinity / Scandal / espionage / English republic / early modern press
Divisions: College of Liberal Arts
Date Deposited: 22 Jun 2016 12:34
Last Modified: 25 Oct 2016 15:26
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