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Emotions, gender expectations and the social role of Chancery, 1550-1650

Capern, Amanda



Chancery was a court that became infamous for provoking anger, contempt, distrust, and disgust, even loathing and rage, two basic emotions that feature right at the centre of Robert Plutchik’s three-dimensional emotions wheel. Chancery never became well known for the positive basic emotion of joy.1 Yet, some litigants must have experienced a happy outcome. All literary representations of Chancery have been overwhelmingly negative. Charlotte Smith's The Old Manor House of 1793 portrayed the jealous viciousness of Mrs Lennard and her hidden will alongside the stifling orderliness of the court, with its dull annual reports and opaque precedents.2 In 1920, John Galsworthy gave us In Cancery, one volume of the Forsyte family chronicle focused on the unforgettably mean and proud 'man of property', Soames Forsyte, whose 'possessive instinct never stands still' and extends to his wife.3 Again the court of Chancery featured almost as a metonym for people who were jealous and obsessive and deeply interfering. And then there is Bleak House. The trundling and cripplingly expensive case over a disputed will, which Charles Dickens named Jarndyce v Jarndyce, played to a knowing readership, though, ironically, the court so hated by the Victorians had a structure and procedures that originally developed from the late sixteenth century under Thomas Egerton, Lord Ellesmere, in response to the weight of demand.

Book Type Book Chapter
Publication Date 2015
Journal Authority, Gender and emotions in late medieval and early modern England
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan
Peer Reviewed Not Peer Reviewed
Pages 187-209
Series Title Genders and sexualities in history
Book Title Authority, Gender and Emotions in Late Medieval and Early Modern England
ISBN 9781349554065; 9781137531162
Keywords Emotions, Gender expectations
Publisher URL Full details of the book are available at https://link.springer.c...1057%2F9781137531162_11
Related Public URLs
Copyright Statement ©2018 The author. Reproduced with permission of Palgrave Macmillan.
Additional Information In Broomhall, S. (2015) Genders and sexualities in history. Palgrave Macmillan, reproduced by permission of Palgrave Macmillan. This extract is taken from the author's original manuscript and has not been edited. The definitive, published, version of record is available here: and https://link.springer.c...k/10.1057/9781137531162


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