Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Domestic DangersWomen, Words, and Sex in Early Modern London$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Laura Gowing

Print publication date: 1998

Print ISBN-13: 9780198207634

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198207634.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use (for details see www.oxfordscholarship.com/page/privacy-policy).date: 20 June 2019

The Language of Insult

The Language of Insult

(p.59) 3 The Language of Insult
Domestic Dangers

Laura Gowing

Oxford University Press

The definition of whores and bawds was integral to the rich language in which early modern women and men in London insulted each other on the streets, in shops, and in the houses of the city and its environs. In the language of insult, women and men described sexual misconduct, characterizing it through a central picture of the whore, delineating the emotional, material, and sexual dislocations that whoredom was supposed to effect, and calling for whores to be named and punished. Sexual insult was a matter for the church courts because it alleged spiritual sins: fornication, adultery, bawdry, and bastardy. Women's defamation litigation tended to follow a different course to men's. The broad outline and the detail of sexual insult both reflected and constructed a set of specific understandings of the different consequences, implications, and significance of sex and honour for women and for men. From the range of sources available to them, men and women produced a detailed and apparently rigid understanding of sexual honour, the system in which honesty had meaning.

Keywords:   London, sexual insult, whores, litigation, church courts, sex, honour, defamation, adultery

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .