Fantomina

The Reviews

By  S. H. Pearson

 

     This critique was course-work that I submitted for graded credit in a required class.  Keep in mind that I was courting academic credit.  And keep in mind also that sex was shoved down our throats “very” hard.  We were reading crotch novels in a feminist literature class.  It was called “The Literature of Women.”  So here you go:

    Eliza Haywood writes a better crotch novel than Aphra Behn.  Here the writer is not only entertaining herself, but me also.  I enjoyed reading this tale.  Her hunted lover had to be the cat’s pajamas.  He seemed typical of a cad about town – the philandering tomcat that is what he is because women love him that way.

     But every rose has a thorn as we read in this story.  Haywood’s playful girl has several pieces of her cake before it finally catches up with her.  What she did was ride the wave available to her – and with aplomb.  By changing costumes she led this pony along through pasture after pasture.  He just kept falling for it.  Eating out of her hand. 

     One is compelled to ask what the ending might imply.  The naughty girl’s mother has her carted off to a French convent.  No more “plaisir” for you, young lady.  Pregnancy is served here as a punishment and end to one’s fun.  Pregnancy is written as the girl’s “undoing,” her “ruin.”  Disgrace and dishonor are also implied by the ending of the story.  In those days contraception was a tricky practice at best.  Sex was a risky gamble for women.  This woman sure had her share of it before the gratifying masquerade came to an end.

      I think that this story would do well in today’s film industry.  I am curious as to why it has not been made into a feature film yet.

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