Samuel Fullerton
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The porno-politics of regicide, 1648–51
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This chapter explores the sexual politics that erupted around the trial and execution of Charles I in January 1649. Although sex did not intrude significantly on the judicial proceedings, both royalists and parliamentarians – or, after the regicide, ‘republicans’ – took to print to debate their significance in highly theoretical, porno-political accounts. Royalists constructed a metaphorical family conspiracy predicated on the monstrous figure of ‘Mistress Parliament’ and her chief adulterous lover, Oliver Cromwell, while republicans attacked both Charles’s ‘body politic’ (i.e. his crown) and his personal sexuality in print during the years that followed his death. In both cases, the chapter demonstrates, the personal sexual histories – real or imagined – of the kingdom’s most august leaders became fodder for public debate between 1648 and 1651 for the first time in English history, with significant consequences for both Cromwell himself and the Stuart heir, Charles II.

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