Pornography of the 18th C.

I’m sure my title caught your attention, you dirty dog, you.

I will be discussing the genre of pornography as it existed in the 18th Century, and how it has not really evolved much into today’s culture. This post is very late for the class it is meant for, but I couldn’t not post on this. The novel I will be talking mostly about is Fanny Hill; or, Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure, by John Cleland.

When you tell people you read a porn book for a homework assignment you get some odd looks. Though you say you read Fifty Shades and no one bats an eye. Well people, they are the same thing believe it or not. They are both made with a very, and I mean very, loose frame story to get you along through to the next sex scene. One of my classmates mentioned as she was reading she didn’t grasp the point of the story. That every time she thought she was there that line of reasoning would vanish. This really is the point, these novels are made for pleasure.

I shared parts of the novel with a friend, and she couldn’t believe it was a novel from the 18th C. The descriptions that are riddled throughout haven’t changed much when looking at the books that are written today. It is almost like people are looking for an award for the not saying penis or vagina. Instead you see machine, and wound. A lot of pornographic novels carry on a bit of a rape-y vibe to them as well.

One thing that is interesting about Fanny Hill is the fact she is introduced to her sexuality through a woman, but saphism is frowned upon. There is very little I have seen in today’s culture that involves a woman teaching another woman how to properly please men. Most of the time though the man is going to be experienced in the art of sexual pleasure, and the woman is going to be a virgin, or if she is not she will still be inexperienced and need a man to teach her. It is amusing that after centuries there is something that is being held onto about the double standard that women should be virginal, but the men are looked down upon if they are.

If you are interested in this sort of novel I recommend it, and keep in mind what has and hasn’t changed in the centuries since it was written.

-C

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Gothic Novels

This semester I have been in 18th Century English Novels-Rise of the Novel. There have been plenty of love hate relationships for me with the novels we read. Though now that it is over with I get why we read what we read. Each of them work together to offer more knowledge of the novel as an art form, and how it grew and thrived in a society that thought novels were evil.  There was a fear when novels were first coming out that women wouldn’t understand the difference between reality and fiction. This is part of what is parodied in Austen, which I will touch more on later in this blog.

I had the pleasure the last couple of weeks to be introduced to the Gothic Novel’s origin, The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole, and a parody of the genre, Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen.

Of all of the genres we looked at this semester Gothic was more of my pace. There is a spooky element to them, and it offers a lot more about the human condition. In Otranto there is only about 80 pages to it, but in that short amount of time we get to know a lot about the castle and the characters who are running rampant in it. Another thing I thought was great was the fact it didn’t have to be a happy ending. The parents end up in a monastery, and the new King marries due to a common factor of grievance. Its fantastic.

There is also a lot of fascinating issues to look at. I personally end up finding a lot problematic in stories with gender roles. This novel was no different. A father wants to control his daughter, divorce his wife, and also tries to rape and marry his deceased son’s fiance just to keep power, and have his “new younger wife” give him male heirs since his current wife cannot do that for him. His current wife just does whatever he asks, and the daughter is the same. He then kills his daughter at the end. Even though it is a short novel there is so much going on!

Northanger Abbey is a wonderful example of parody, but it also views the ideas around gender roles, and women and the novel mentioned earlier. She has the main character who is an avid reader. She reads a Gothic, The Mysteries of Udolpho, and is influenced by it as she goes to Northanger Abbey. Though everytime she thinks something is going to turn out being something more she is wrong. This plays on the idea that women cannot tell the difference between what is real and fake. After reading Gothic fiction and moving to this story it was hard to not laugh out loud when getting to the scenes about the Abbey.

Austen’s novels all end in love match marriages which is a huge difference from what happened in Walpole’s. Though she still has some issues with the gender roles as the men try to take over Catherine’s choices, and her future father-in-law sends her away due to what he thinks are money issues she is writing to her time, and goes against the flow in a lot of ways.

These novels were very different from each other, but definitely two of my favorites of the semester, and recommend them to anyone looking for a book to read. I plan to pick up a few Gothic novels to read over Christmas break. Let me know if you have suggestions!

-C

Anti-(Sh)Pamela

This will be a bit of a longer post to make up for missing Pamela’s post last week. I will be reviewing a few things about Pamela by Samuel Richardson, and then the satire/critics that followed, Shamela by Henry Fielding, and Anti-Pamela by Eliza Haywood.

*Side Note: As we have the same last name (Haywood) I was hoping to like her stuff. But, I don’t. Just wanted to get that out of the way.

So, let’s talk Pamela. A young 15-year-old works in a house. Her lady dies, and the lady’s son decides to keep her around. Awe, how sweet, right? Wrong. He basically spends the next nearly 600 pages finding ways to try to rape her, and hold her hostage. Here is the kicker, she ends up deciding that she loves him. And… her reward for not letting him rape her is marriage. Hot Damn. I would have been just as okay with, I don’t know a pony? Or, even better, not almost being raped for 600 pages?

I do have to share my favorite part though… They are living at the country house, and one night when she goes to bed, Mrs. Jewkes (eww.) lays on her arm. She’s like, “Oh, alright, whatever. Imma just go to bed.” When her fellow servant Nan starts to get into bed, and then all the sudden. BAM. It’s Mr. B– about to get down with it, while Mrs. Jewkes not only watches, but helps hold her down. Pamela being so virtuous literally goes into a fit like a seizure, so that he won’t rape her.

The worst/best part? Richardson was quite serious about everything he wrote. He thought that her guarding her virtue from unwanted “advances” and then marrying above her station made sense. It was God’s gift to her or some B.S. like that. Though we get to have some fun once Fielding puts his two cents in.

An Apology for the Life of Mrs. Shamela Andrews by Henry Fielding. I was literally laughing out loud as I read this short novel. He is in the running for best sarcasm of the 18th Century. He tore Richardson apart, and I enjoyed every minute of it. Mr. B– in Pamela is known as Mr. Booby in Shamela. If that doesn’t make you laugh and show you the immature nature of Fielding I don’t know what would.

Shamela is a young woman who is known as Pamela around the house is quite the “minx”. She had a baby with the Parson Williams, and hid that fact, and took on the view of being virtuous. She purposefully uses her feigned virtue to get Mr. Booby. Throughout the novel she plays on his “feelings” for her, and eventually gets him to marry her. All the while cuckolding him with Parson Williams while making Booby feel badly about his actions towards Williams.

Basically, Shamela is the background to showing you Pamela knew exactly what she was doing in seeming naive. Pamela seems like she is struggling through life. Shamela is a lot more like good ‘ol Moll Flanders. She isn’t naive, and she knows how to use her “charms” 😉 to get what she wants. Shamela is getting some people to question if Richardson’s Pamela is actually a reliable narrator, and adding a much more interesting spin on the story.

Now, Anti-Pamela by Eliza Haywood. I am Anti-“Anti-Pamela”. Thought the story line is somewhat more interesting, and takes you on more than one journey, much like Love in Excess, it is droll. All three (Pamela, Shamela, and Anti-Pamela) are written as if in letters, but Haywood breaks out more in narration than the others. I feel as though she is reading me a grocery list. “First I was shamed by this man, and then I went to this man, and then his dad liked me too, and then I tried to make a decision, but couldn’t without my Mamma’s help because I cannot seem to make poor life decisions alone…” And on and on and on.

One thing I will say is we do have an actual rape in Anti-Pamela. You don’t get that in the other two. So, since Mrs. Syrena a.k.a. Anti-Pamela, is such a great actress by making herself cry, and being a good liar she is able to fake it, it being virtue, ’til she makes it. I don’t know how it ends yet, but am almost done, and am curious to see how she ends it compared to Pamela and Shamela.

I do want to note that Fielding is purposfully making fun of Pamela, though it seems Haywood is telling more a moral story from what I gather while also poking the slightest bit of fun at Pamela, though she is a little dry it is hard to tell. It should be an interesting conversation in class tomorrow!

Cheers

-C

Moll Flanders: A woman of the world

In order to truly introduce you to the joy that is Moll Flanders it is important to share the entire real title. The Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Famous Moll Flanders Who was born in Newgate, and during a life of continu’d Variety for Threescore Years, besides her Childhood, was Twelve Years a Whore, five times a Wife (whereof once to her brother) Twelve Years a Thief, Eight Years a Transported Felon in Virginia, at last grew Rich, liv’d Honest and died a Penitent. I don’t need to offer any summary of the book, because, well, there it is.

She spends her entire life trying to get a better life for herself, and through that her life is sometimes good, and other times is a bit of a mess. Hence, “The Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Famous Moll Flanders.” No matter her good intentions something in her life goes wrong. In the beginning it seems she is naive to the world, and it shows how much the downsides of her life cause her to become more calloused. Towards the end she gets to the point where she is coming up with excuses why she does what she does even if the excuses are trivial. It seems to make herself feel better.

Another fun tidbit about Moll is it seems to me like she is pregnant every other section. She never has any of her kids end up staying with her for past a couple of years. We were able to joke in class about her “motherly instincts.” She also, as you can see in the title, is married a ton of times, and once to her brother. When she finds out he is her brother she leaves as fast as she can. These facts show that she didn’t have her life together.

Neither does the fact she ends up in the same jail she was born in, and then sent to America back to where her brother and incestuous son live still. Though through some great fortune she ends up repenting for her sins, and her slate is clean, and she is happy as a clam until she dies.

One side comment that is interesting to me is that her name changes. We know her as Moll Flanders, but she doesn’t get that name until she is a thief. This in my opinion connects her to any woman. They had the ability to read the story, and the fact she changes allows them to connect without having to really think of her as themselves. Though I could be way off. Let me know what you think!

Thanks,

-C

To Count D’elmont.

I find the novel Love in Excess by Mrs. Eliza Haywood to be quite entertaining. I struggle to keep my composure as I notice the similarities between our sources of entertainment in the 21st century, and that of one of the most famous novels during her time. Though those of my sex may not agree with me when it comes to my opinion of this great novel. 

Today’s entertainment usually involves a television show, or movie. Even if it is a book there is going to be a budding romance along with the main story line to keep the readers intrigued. 

I have found that there are many parts that make the fair sex weak in mental and physical desires. Their emotions do seem to get the better of them at every turn. One woman even goes as far as to send her friend to a monastery because of her jealousie that Amena almost had the nerve to sleep with the handsome Count D’elmont. Though she does pity her for it later. 

The other sex is then shown as having a weakness when it comes to beautiful women, or money of another. D’elmont doesn’t realize his allure until Alovisa’s first letter to him. This then boosts his confidence into that of an arrogant prick, and he doesn’t care from then on out who gets hurt. 

It is an interesting commentary on what life may have been like. Especially as people wrote letters praising Haywood’s correct view on love. Not just through any ol’ way, but POETRY. You know it’s serious when poetry gets involved. 

At the very beginning I did find a lot of the story to seem ridiculous until I drew the parallels of it to today. I have been watching Grey’s Anatomy and the portrayal of both sexes isn’t far off. Following around multiple characters is very soap operaesque. Wondering what will happen at each turn of the page. 

I would love to hear input on other authors that show stories or similarities in plot with our entertainment today! Thanks,

-C

New is Better.

Image result for Barney stinson i have one rule new is better

According to dictionary.com, innovate is a verb that means “to introduce something new; make changes in anything established.” Verbs are actions in a sentence. Your learning should be active, and moving. Innovative learning is not sitting back in a classroom continuing on the way things have been. This semester I have had the opportunity to be an innovative learner.

I have actively been learning new things that completely go against everything I have always known. This module is important, but uncomfortable. It forces us to look at how things are, and that there are changes that need to be made. These changes cannot be made without the innovation of teachers and students who want the best for themselves and the following generation. I now can move forward with this information and look at everything in a new light.

A point made by George Couros in his post, The Mindset of an Innovator, “I actively reflect on my learning, as I know looking back is crucial to moving forward.” This is solid advice for anyone and everyone. How can you move forward without building onto what you have already learned. Whether to prove yourself right or wrong. You come out stronger on the other side.

School is hard for some because it is the same for everyone at all times. No students are allowed to grow in their own learning because it doesn’t fit into the box that the curriculum expects. According to Will Richardson’s post, The Steep Unlearning Curve, “We need to unlearn the idea that every student needs to learn the same content when really what they need to learn is how to self-direct their own learning.”

Before any of us entered into school at the age of 4 or 5 we were learning every day. How to talk, how to walk, how to properly formulate sentences. We all did it at our own pace too. Some kids aren’t potty trained until they are 4 while others are trained by a year and a half. Each kid learns at their own pace when they are ready. None of these things can or should be forced on a child. So why do we do it when they are in school, and not only that, but scold those students who aren’t up to pace with others. While also holding back those who are ready to go farther.

This ideal seems counter-intuitive to me. We are so scared that our kids won’t catch up, but if we allow them to take on their own learning they will get there one day, and be much happier. It also would give them more of a chance to know what they want to do for the rest of their lives. Not just what they don’t want to do. Sending kids out at 18 all having the same classes doesn’t give them much of an option to decide for themselves what they want to do for the rest of their lives. Self-learning offers more trial and error than traditional school offers.

If we all become more innovative for ourselves and our kids we would be doing the world a favor.

-C

Elephants Belong in the Wild

This week I read the article, 9 Elephants in the (Class)Room That Should “Unsettle” Us by Will Richardson. They are some of the major issues that can be seen in classrooms that should be taken care of, but may take a while for it to happen. Especially if they are not being spoken about as issues. I will be looking at the following points as some of the most important ones that need addressed.

First point he makes that I find important is, “We know that most of our students will forget most of the content that they “learn” in school.” A lot of learning students do in schools today they are expected to learn in a short amount of time, and then regurgitate it onto a test to “prove” their knowledge of a subject. Once this test is done the students no longer need that information therefore, they forget it. Unless it is of interest to the student they have no use of it.

Another thing that is important to look at here is that the classes deemed most important for teachers to teach are the subjects that only work for a limited amount of jobs, and interests for students. I know that I do better, and remember more when I feel as though I have a stake in my learning. If it benefits me and my future it is worth my time. All of the math and science classes beyond the basics were pointless. Many kids look at it this way as well.

The next point of his I want to look at is, ” We know that grades, not learning, are the outcomes that students and parents are most interested in.” We are all so conditioned in schools that grades are the equivalent of your worth. If you get A’s and B’s you are obviously smart, and worth something. The students who get C’s, D’s, and F’s shouldn’t bother to strive for anything. At least that was my view going through school. For me a “C” was the equivalent to an “F”. It wasn’t good enough. Whenever I saw that “C” meant average I knew I had to be above average. Average was a failure in any subject.

In my class we are on contract grading, and it is such a help. Not having to worry about how many points are going into each post I write. I get to do my work, and decide for myself what grade I am striving for. The base grade if you do everything exactly as it is asked is a “B”. A’s are reserved for those who continually go above, and beyond. This is fair to me. I shouldn’t get the same grade as someone who is doing more than I am.

This semester I was really bad in my other class about putting my learning above my grade. I slowly stopped doing certain assignments simply because I could sacrifice the points, and still do okay. This really was me stealing learning opportunities from myself. It shouldn’t be about the grade or the points. It should be more about what I am able to take from the class. Actual learning is so much more important than looking like you are learning. This is true for everyone. Don’t steal opportunities from yourselves like I did. Make learning more than the grades.

Make the elephant go away.

-C