Methodistical Sisters and The New Man: Fielding Among the Methodists
Misty Anderson, University of Tennessee-Knoxville
The tabloid-ready tale of “Mrs. Mary, otherwise Mr. George Hamilton,” who married several women while passing as a man, appeared in Boddley’s Bath Journal of November 8, 1746, and in a slew of London and regional newspapers shortly thereafter. This talk examines Henry Fielding’s use of Methodism in The Female Husband to explain the origin of Hamilton’s same-sex desire. Instead of standing in the place of religious law, Methodism (to its critics) functioned as a sexuality, a set of practices that excited and transformed the individual into the “new man” through an experience of divine intimacy. Focusing on the Hamilton case, this talk considers the relationship between evangelicalism and gender scripts as they were written into mid-eighteenth century discourses of sex and spirituality.
Learn more about the Center for Renaissance Studies’ Eighteenth-Century Seminar.