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Writing LivesBiography and Textuality, Identity and Representation in Early Modern England$
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Kevin Sharpe and Steven N. Zwicker

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199698233

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199698233.001.0001

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‘Alchemy and Monstrous Love’

‘Alchemy and Monstrous Love’

Sir Robert Moray and the Representation of Early Modern Lives

(p.275) 13 ‘Alchemy and Monstrous Love’
Writing Lives

Frances Harris

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the so-called ‘affective biography’ as a form of life writing in early modern England, focusing on Sir Robert Moray. Moray was a soldier, royalist agent, one of the founders of the Royal Society, and a leading figure in the post-Restoration government of Scotland. The chapter describes affective biography as a biography with a strong love interest, one centred on relationships. It also discusses two particular episodes in Moray’s life to determine how lives that were lived simultaneously in more than one dimension can be represented in their full meaning. The first episode took place in the winter of 1665–1666, when the court had transferred to Oxford because of the plague. The second deals with the question of Moray’s wives, or rather his ‘wives’. In addition, the chapter looks at the platonic friendship in a religious context between John Evelyn, a middle-aged man, and Margaret Godolphin, a much younger woman. Finally, it considers Moray’s relationship with his niece, Sophia Lindsay.

Keywords:   affective biography, life writing, England, Robert Moray, biography, love, relationships, John Evelyn, Margaret Godolphin, Sophia Lindsay

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