Latest Issue

The dangerous art of seduction

A new history tells us much about power relations between men and women—from Samuel Richardson to The Game

By Zoe Apostolides   May 2020

"Before" by William Hogarth Credit: Tate

“To investigate seduction is to think about power, desire, race, class, agency and the law.” This is an ambitious undertaking for any writer, not least a first-time one. Clement Knox claims that the “seduction narrative” is “a product of the modern world and serves as a vehicle for the exploration of modern values, modern experiences and modern concerns.” He begins with the Enlightenment, a time of “intellectual developments and value shifts,” and covers the three centuries since.  

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to

More From Prospect