Libertines Real and Fictional in Rochester, Shadwell, Wycherley, and Boswell Page: 11
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patronized and reopened by Charles II upon his return, to criticize libertines and libertinism. In
doing so, Shadwell is using an outlet in which his external audience represents those he criticizes
and satirizes in The Libertine. Therefore, the external audience sees their misinterpretations of
Hobbes and their constant revisions of libertinism exposed.
In chapter 5, I examine The Country Wife and how it functions as a satire or a farce and
discuss how Wycherley and the play complicate the ideals of libertine friendship. The male
protagonist, Horner, supports and upholds these ideals more in theory than in practice and, in
turn, falls short of Cavalier expectations. Hornier's heterosocial friendships challenge and
critique definitions of libertinism, including the importance of Cavalier friendship. Hornier
functions as a satirical libertine in that he chooses seemingly self-contradictory ways of
following libertinism, specifically assuming an identity as a eunuch and ultimately siding with
the wives of his fellow libertines. He uses his identity as a eunuch to gain the trust of the wives
and in addition to consummating sexual relationships with them, he befriends them and often
supports their views and endeavors. Instead of choosing to follow generic comic conventions
that require a marriage at the conclusion of a play, Wycherley chooses to make Horner go
unpunished for his deception and does not end the play with his reformation or marriage.
Wycherley additionally satirizes the libertine and comedy in that he allows Homrner to continue
following libertinism after the play has ended.
In the sixth chapter, I investigate how Boswell's London Journal, 1762-1763 functions as
a picaresque novel featuring a libertine protagonist. This novelistic alter-ego and libertine
struggles with his divided loyalties between libertinism and virtue. I will argue that the Boswell
character's frequent fluctuations between libertinism and virtue represent a critique of a pseudo-
Hobbesian school of thought that entails sole obedience of nature or sense. Boswell the writer
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Smith, Victoria. Libertines Real and Fictional in Rochester, Shadwell, Wycherley, and Boswell, dissertation, May 2008; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc6051/m1/17/?q=rochester: accessed January 17, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .