Men in Love: Masculinity and Sexuality in the Eighteenth Century

Synopsis

Love in all its cultural and personal complexity is the focus of this book. While scholars of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century homoerotic culture have tended to focus on sexual behavior and the much-maligned figure of the sodomite, George E. Haggerty argues that the concepts of love and emotional intimacy offer a more useful perspective for understanding male-male relations of the time.

Haggerty considers male "identities" of many kinds: heroic friends, as found in seventeenth-century French romance and Restoration tragedy, and personal friends, as in the erotic relationships of Gray, Walpole, and West; fops and beaus, as depicted in Restoration and early eighteenth-century comedy and various satirical portraits; effeminate sodomites and mollies depicted in literature and sodomy trial accounts throughout the period; men of feeling and other figures in whom sensibility and sexuality are vividly interconnected. He also discusses libertines and sexual aggressors, especially as depicted in the pages of Gothic fiction.