by BARBARA METZGER
read by PIPPA RATHBORNE
Regency Romance, screwball comedy, erotic thriller, gothic murder mystery – ‘Anything Goes’ in Barbara Metzger’s…
Source: Escape into Regency Romance
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Reblogged from Margaret Eleanor Leigh’s blog. Ms Leigh is the author of several novels and the humorous travel memoir The Wrong Shade of Yellow, all available on Amazon.
When Romance Writing was Restrained
You may or may not be surprised to learn that in a recent article in the Guardian, the sexiest scene in literature was identified as coming not from E L James’ Fifty Shades of Grey, but from Jane Austen’s Persuasion.
It takes a fair bit of imagination to appreciate the erotic content in the Austen scene in question, but perhaps that’s the whole point. It goes like this:“Captain Wentworth, without saying a word, turned to her, and quietly obliged her to be assisted into the carriage. Yes, he had done it. She was in the carriage, and felt that he had placed her there, that his will and his hands had done it…”
Obviously the scene was written in a particular era, the early nineteenth century, a time when authors were tightly constrained in terms of what could and…
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Pippa Rathborne narrates Margaret Eleanor Leigh‘s recent picaresque adventures across three continents in search of personal Utopia which turns out to be….
Marathon by Carl Rottmann. Encaustic on stone, 1848. Neue Pinakothek, Munich. Image: WGA
The isles of Greece, the Isles of Greece!
Where burning Sappho loved and sung,
Where grew the arts of war and peace,
Where Delos rose, and Phoebus sprung!
(from “The Isles of Greece” by Byron)
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Nellie Bly, journalist, industrialist and inventor, on the eve of her journey around the world, 1889.
Fragonard Le Verrou (The Bolt) c. 1777 Oil on canvas Musée du Louvre, Paris. Image: WGA
Clarissa’s tribulations – she is treated abominably by her lover and the author – were too much for the gravity of some of Richardson’s worldly-wise contemporaries. Fielding’s Tom Jones (1749) is unapologetic fun-loving, lusty fiction; Clarissa is a beguiling mix of comedy of manners, social criticism and erotic tragedy disguised as moral improvement.
The anti-hero, Robert Lovelace, is handsome, sardonic and self-loathing in the great libertine and vampire tradition. We know the type, the complete shit, wearing Whiff of Sulphur Aftershave, whom we secretly fancy more than the nice man next door. Lovelace belongs, or rather wants to belong, to Dark Erotica. “While I, a poor, single, harmless, prowler; at least comparatively harmless; in order to satisfy my hunger, steal but one poor lamb….” (Letter 515)
He is also a rapist who uses an 18th century variant of Rohypnol. Clarissa is as susceptible to his sex-appeal as the reader; she fights her desire with moral intelligence and instinct for self-preservation, but we know, reading between the lines of her letters, how much she is attracted to her abuser.
Our young female reader will need all the heroine’s strength of character to stop herself being seduced by Lovelace, particularly when he reveals, too late, that he really does love and esteem her. There’s no doubt he’s an epistolary bastard; having his cake, eating it, and throwing it up.