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date: 14 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

When we speak of “poems on the sexes” in other periods, we usually mean love poems. However, the poems on and between the sexes in the long eighteenth century defy any anticipation of a sentiment; rather, these poems, often deeply intertextual, challenge the cultural expectations for the gender, interrogate the nature of emotional and physical intimacy, and, often, construct new models for behavior and exchange. Looking at both verse by familiar male poets such as Rochester, Swift, Pope, and Savage, as well as women writers such as Behn, Finch, Egerton, and Reeve, this chapter discusses poems on the sexes as those that discuss the role of custom, love and marriage, and aging and loss.

Keywords: poetry, women, custom, love, marriage, consumer culture, aging

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