Amour in the Shrubbery: reading the detail of English adultery trial publications of the 1780s
This article examines how late-eighteenth-century knowledge about adultery was constituted through English publications based on legal evidence of female infidelity. A mass of published fragments and hints produced distinctive perspectives on contemporary cultural and social issues. Two cases of 1785, which involved shrubberies, exemplify how such discussion appropriated and re-contextualized discourses, including that of landscape improvement. Shrubbery brought additional resonances to an adultery trial literature which in the 1780s played with ideas about the freedom and rights of women within marriage. However, shrubbery's adulterous politics of subordination and objectification also had implications for the politics and aesthetics of landscape itself.