Thompson 2012 Crime

Title Information

Author: Peggy Thompson

Title: Coyness and Crime in Restoration Comedy

Subtitle: Women's Desire, Deception, and Agency

Place: Lewisburg, PA

Publisher: Bucknell University Press

Year: 2012

Pages: 189pp.

ISBN-13: 9781611483727 (hbk.) – Find a Library: Wikipedia, WorldCat | ISBN-13: 9781611483734 (ebk.) – Find a Library: Wikipedia, WorldCat

Language: English

Keywords: 17th Century | English History | Representations: Literature / Aphra Behn, William Wycherley

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Additional Information

Author: Peggy Thompson, Department of English, Agnes Scott College


  Acknowledgments (p. ix)
  Abbreviations (p. xi)
  1 Coyness, Conduct, and She Would if She Could (p. 1)
  2 Feminine Illusion and Masculine Violence in Wycherly's Comedies (p. 21)
  3 Unruly Women and Patriarchal Control in Dryden's The Kind Keeper (p. 43)
  4 Coyness, Love, and Money in Behn's Comedies (p. 59)
  5 Liberty and Coyness in Shadwell's Comedies (p. 83)
  6 Novelty and Coyness in Congreve and Trotter (p. 99)
  7 Marriage, Virtue, and Coyness in Southerne, Vanbrugh, and Pix (p. 117)
  Notes (p. 135)
  Bibliography (p. 167)
  Index (p. 181)
  About the Author (p. 189)

Description: »Coyness and Crime in Restoration Comedy examines the extraordinary focus on coy women in late seventeenth-century English comedies. Plays by George Etheredge, William Wycherley, John Dryden, Aphra Behn, Thomas Shadwell, William Congreve, Catharine Trotter, Thomas Southerne, John Vanbrugh, and Mary Pix -- as well as much modern scholarship about them -- taint almost all feminine modesty with intimations of duplicity and illicit desire that must be contained. Forceful responses by men, therefore, are implicitly exonerated, encouraged, and eroticized. In short, characters become "women" by performing coyness, only to be mocked and punished for it. Peggy Thompson explores the disturbing dynamic of feminine coyness and masculine control as it intersects with reaffirmations of church and king, anxiety over new wealth, and emerging in liberty, novelty, and marriage in late seventeenth-century England. Despite the diversity of these contexts, the plays consistently reveal women caught in an ironic and nearly intractable convergence of objectification and culpability that allows them little innocent sexual agency. This is both the source and the legacy of coyness in Restoration comedy.« [Source: Bucknell University Press]


Airey, Jennifer L. Restoration: Studies in English Literary Culture, 1660-1700 37(1) (Spring 2013): 80-82. – Full Text: Project MUSE [Restricted Access]

Marsden, Jean I. The Scriblerian and the Kit-Cats 46 (Spring 2014). – Full Text: Project MUSE [Restricted Access]

Thompson, Melanie. Women's Studies: An Inter-Disciplinary Journal 42(3) (2013): 348-352. – Full Text: Taylor & Francis Online [Restricted Access]

Wikipedia: Aphra Behn, Restoration comedy, William Wycherley

Added: December 28, 2013 | Last updated: December 28, 2013