This article reads an eroticized intrigue between two ladies-in-waiting in Anthony Hamilton's Jacobite secret history of the Restoration court in light of the ambivalent symbolism of its setting. The bathing closet points to a long tradition of same-sex intimacy at court that Hamilton admires; and yet in conjuring popular orientalist images of homoerotic subjection, that setting also suggests the diminishing impact of such affairs, as absolutist principles and practices lose their political and cultural force in England. Some scholars of early modern sexuality have emphasized the importance of Hamilton's gossipy narration of this episode and his sly treatment of the figure of the hermaphrodite. Attending to the bathing-closet setting, subtly altering our sense of the episode's tone, underscores the political valences of the female courtiers' bond and, more broadly, highlights the value of female favouritism as a category of analysis for the sexual historiography of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
"Female Favouritism, Orientalism, and the Bathing Closet in Memoirs of Count Grammont,"
1, Article 1.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.mcmaster.ca/ecf/vol24/iss1/1
Danielle Bobker is assistant professor in the Department of English, Concordia University; her current research focuses on sociability, sexuality, intimacy, and affect in seventeenthand eighteenth-century British literature and culture.