Proposal Title

Having Your Cake and Eating It: Revenge in Sarah MacLean’s Rules of Scoundrels Series

Start Date

13-4-2018 10:05 AM

End Date

13-4-2018 11:05 AM

Proposal Type

Individual Presentation

Abstract

Revenge, according to Linda Woodbridge, is an act of political resistance. It is the weapon of those who are denied access to legal redress, the weapon of the weak, the weapon of the downtrodden. It is, in the words of Francis Bacon, “a kind of wild justice.” It is not surprising, then, that a genre that centralises women in patriarchal society – and therefore in a weaker socio-political position – is rife with retribution.

Sarah MacLean’s The Rules of Scoundrels series – A Rogue by Any Other Name (2012), One Good Earl Deserves a Lover (2013), No Good Duke Goes Unpunished (2013), and Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover (2014) – is founded on revenge: the three heroes of the first novels are brought together by the heroine of the fourth through her gambling house, established as an elaborate retribution against the society that has judged her unfairly. Vengeance also features in the other novels, thus centralizing it – and offering up moral questions.

It is the question of whether the quest for revenge is successful or not that is of greatest significance. Who is successful? Who gives up their revenge? The answers imply a myriad of moral outcomes: is revenge an acceptable course of action, is it satisfactory, and for whom? This paper will consider particularly the last two novels of the series in these terms, and will attempt to satisfactorily answer the question of whether revenge is an act of resistance in the romance genre as it is in drama.

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Apr 13th, 10:05 AM Apr 13th, 11:05 AM

Having Your Cake and Eating It: Revenge in Sarah MacLean’s Rules of Scoundrels Series

Revenge, according to Linda Woodbridge, is an act of political resistance. It is the weapon of those who are denied access to legal redress, the weapon of the weak, the weapon of the downtrodden. It is, in the words of Francis Bacon, “a kind of wild justice.” It is not surprising, then, that a genre that centralises women in patriarchal society – and therefore in a weaker socio-political position – is rife with retribution.

Sarah MacLean’s The Rules of Scoundrels series – A Rogue by Any Other Name (2012), One Good Earl Deserves a Lover (2013), No Good Duke Goes Unpunished (2013), and Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover (2014) – is founded on revenge: the three heroes of the first novels are brought together by the heroine of the fourth through her gambling house, established as an elaborate retribution against the society that has judged her unfairly. Vengeance also features in the other novels, thus centralizing it – and offering up moral questions.

It is the question of whether the quest for revenge is successful or not that is of greatest significance. Who is successful? Who gives up their revenge? The answers imply a myriad of moral outcomes: is revenge an acceptable course of action, is it satisfactory, and for whom? This paper will consider particularly the last two novels of the series in these terms, and will attempt to satisfactorily answer the question of whether revenge is an act of resistance in the romance genre as it is in drama.