Libertines Real and Fictional in Rochester, Shadwell, Wycherley, and Boswell Page: 12
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demonstrates this wavering loyalty by vacillating between novelistic (moral, bourgeois) and
dramatic (libertine, upper-class) forms throughout his journal. Boswell struggles with
succumbing to the temptation to engage in libertine behavior (e.g. sexual promiscuity,
unwavering self-indulgence) and his desire to exercise temperance or live according to virtue.
He cannot find a balance between his libertinism and need to obey reason so he must redefine
libertinism to accommodate his needs. These constant revisions of the definitions of libertinism
justify Boswell's fluctuating allegiances to virtue and libertinism-that is, they allow him to
identify as a libertine who simultaneously embodies virtue or at least wants to live a virtuous life.
The conclusion focuses on libertinism and its ramifications after the Restoration and
eighteenth century, and speculates about the future of libertinism. The conclusion includes
entries from the diaries of Samuel Johnson and Samuel Pepys, who serve as examples of real life
self-critical libertines of the eighteenth century and Restoration. Like Boswell, both real life
libertines record their own struggles between libertinism and "un-libertine" ideas such as devout
faith in God and temperance. Johnson and Pepys also serve as influences for nineteenth-century
French, English, and American decadents. Libertinism continues to hold a profound influence
over society and constantly changes to adapt to the political climates, ethics, and morals of each
era. In the Restoration and eighteenth century and beyond, the numerous revisions of
libertinism make any attempts at creating a precise definition of libertinism impossible at worst
and tenuous at best.
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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/m1/18/?q=rochester: accessed February 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .