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|Title:||Impostors: performance, emotion, and genteel criminality in late eighteenth-century England|
|Citation:||Emotions: History, Culture, Society, 2017; 1(2):81-107|
|Abstract:||This article considers the performance of gentility by criminals and impostors during the eighteenth century, arguing that a genteel appearance and behaviour not only facilitated crime, but allowed the accused criminal to access sympathy in the courtroom arena. Gentility comprised a set of polite mannerisms, gestures and appearances, but also required the performance of particular emotions. The performance of ‘genteel’ emotions could bring together a socially disparate group united by a shared valuation of sympathies, feelings and values. Those who claimed gentility in the eighteenth century expressed a concern for personal and public honour, a fear of shame and the desire to be viewed as someone possessing particularly refined emotional capacities such as sensibility and sympathy. Moreover, a successful claim to gentility could secure preferential treatment even for an impostor of a doubtful background and dubious character.|
|Keywords:||Emotions; crime; sympathy; impostors; eighteenth century|
|Rights:||© 2017, Brill|
|Appears in Collections:||English publications|
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