By K. Samuelian
Royal Romances explores the reception of the royal family members in the course of the past due eighteenth and early 19th centuries, and its illustration in fiction, poetry, and the preferred press. Samuelian unearths that renowned reaction to the royal relatives has mirrored the public’s trust of their correct of entry to the non-public lifetime of royalty, and of their license to appreciate and interpret it via illustration.
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Extra resources for Royal Romances: Sex, Scandal, and Monarchy in Print, 1780-1821
Thanks to Perdita’s measured judgment, Florizel and the readers are invited into her inner circle and flatteringly identified as those who can discriminate “stage trick” from the “fine pathos” of a real actress. We know nothing further about the Prince’s feelings, but we don’t need to know, because now we can think like him. The royal family does appear in The Budget of Love, although in such flattering terms as once again to trouble a distinction between irony and sentiment. Florizel describes his father as “the pattern of a man,” ideally balanced between “Religion” and “Mortality” (58).
According to Robinson’s biographer Paula Byrne, she began sitting for this picture two weeks after her breakup with the Prince, and it “was published as an engraving at the height of the letter negotiations on August 25, 1781” (Byrne 154). The authors of both novels include details like these, which they can assume the public already knows, in order to establish the veracity of those they encounter in these stories. Theirs is a finely calculated management of the “hermeneutic of intimacy” that Tom Mole describes, in which direct personal engagement with a celebrated figure is “marketed as a commodity” and at the same time offered as “an escape from the standardised impersonality of commodity culture” (Byron’s Romantic Celebrity 25).
The studied transparency of these processes is a fiction that, as Russett points out, “seeks to elicit the reader’s sympathy with an unreal personality,” making the novel “a text that lies about its own origins” (Fictions and Fakes 15). The readers willingly accept the lie, however, knowing that they are reading fiction masquerading as factual documents. In contrast, the editors of the Florizel and Perdita novels either mystify the process of origination (as in Effusions), or they construct a narrative of fortuitous discovery.