Libertines Real and Fictional in Rochester, Shadwell, Wycherley, and Boswell Page: 76
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with Horner and they always come to him willingly. John Wood writes, "And though Horner
was a seducer, and his stratagem for seductions is the plot of the play, he forced himself on no
woman who did not want him, he gossiped about no woman who had granted him her favors"
(Wood 41). Wycherley's Horner, though a "seducer," never bragged to his friends about his
sexual conquests and he never harmed women. In fact, the husbands gossip about and castigate
their wives more often than Horner complains about women. Horner engages in extensive
conversations with women about virtue and a woman's need to maintain an appearance of virtue.
He does not limit his interactions with them to flowery rhetoric for purposes of seducing them
and persuading them to commit adultery with him. For example, throughout the famous china
scene (The Country Wife IV. iii), Horner and the women engage in sexual banter and joking at
the expense of the men-a significant contrast to Cavalier friendship. Horner participates in and
advances conversations with women rather than offering minimal, cursory participation merely
for the sole purpose of persuading the women to fulfill his sexual needs.
Horner's atypical treatment of women does not limit itself to when he spends time with
women exclusively, however. In fact, during one of Pinchwife's rants about women and why
men should not marry witty or beautiful women, Horner rebuts him with the following: "But
methinks/wit is more necessary than beauty, and I think no young Woman ugly that has it, and
no/handsome Woman agreeable without it" (The Country Wife 513-516). Libertines and
Cavaliers typically concern themselves with a woman's beauty and often view women's
intelligence or wit as unimportant. In fact, Cavalier lyricists employed the blazon, a motif in
which they listed and primarily focused on a woman's physical attributes; these comments
focusing on a woman's physical beauty tended to take precedence over a woman's more abstract
qualities, such as a woman's wit or feelings-qualities Wycherley's Cavalier husbands do not
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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/m1/82/?q=rochester: accessed July 28, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .