Friday, May 13, 2011

A Rake's Progress Through Literature TO TAME A RAKE 

RAKE is short for rakehell, a historic term for a man of immoral conduct, who uses women heartlessly for his own ends.
In Restoration English comedy  (1660-1688) the rake was a carefree, witty, sexually irresistible aristocrat. The merry gang of courtiers, of which the 2nd Duke of Buckingham and the Earl of Dorset were a part,  combined riotous living with intellectual pursuits and patronage of the arts. After the end of Charles II rein, however, the rake took a dive into squalor. His fate was  sealed in debtor's prison, venereal disease or in the case of William Hogarth's A Rake's Progress, insanity in Bedlam.
In 18th Century England, a rake was seen to be someone who wasted his inherited fortune on gambling, wine and women incurring vast debts. He was also a man who seduced innocent young women and left them pregnant.
 This thoroughly unattractive rakehell has been turned into a brooding hero by authors such as the Bronte sisters, and later, Georgette Heyer and Barbara Cartland. In modern historical romances, he continues to be redeemed by a feisty heroine.
My three novellas are available in e-book and are coming to print in an anthology soon.

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