Samuel Fullerton
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Sexual satire and partisan identity, 1637–42
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This chapter explores the sexual polemics that invaded English public culture between 1637 and 1642 through the lens of partisan identity. It begins in Scotland, where resistance to Caroline ecclesiastical form frequently took the form of anti-popish sexual satire, and then moves into an analysis of the Bishops’ Wars, the ‘print explosion’ of 1640/41, and the initial skirmishes between Charles I and the Long Parliament. In each of these instances, graphic sex-talk took on new layers of political significance; and, after the collapse of Caroline press licensing, it did so in increasingly acrid debates that dragged personal sexuality into public view like never before. The chapter concludes with an account of the formation of the signature civil war partisan stereotypes of ‘roundheads’ and ‘cavaliers’, both of which were rooted in post-Reformation sexual polemic.

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