Delarivier Manley "The Adventures of Rivella"
Delarivier Manley in her, “The Adventures of Rivella” provides a fictional account mixed with biographical information as well as some detailed descriptions that give hints about counterparty individuals and events. It was interesting that Manley told the story of Rivella through the eyes of a male. She begins her story with the fictitious characters of Sir Charles Lovemore and Chevalier D’Aumont who are in a private conversation. Sir Charles discusses his personal interaction with Rivella and her life experiences. However, it is confusing and contradictory when Rivella’s appearance is discussed because Lovemore indicates that her appearance is pleasing yet at the same time, the story indicates she suffered from small pox which permanently scares the victims. Lovemore indicates that he loves Rivella and presents her as a wonderful, witty, and alluring female. However, she falls into disgrace and is imprisoned because of her writings. The story is further complicated when various characters and their activities are revealed and that they take place in relation to actual events such as the deposition of James II (Manley, 60). The names of the fictional characters in some cases refer to actual individuals and their identity is provided in Appendix A (Manley 118-120). Manley discusses actual events, comments about herself, and gives information about contemporary individuals which is confusing for the modern reader but exposing and scandalous to her contemporaries. Rivella discusses her involvement with unethical individuals in a major lawsuit that mirrors an actual lawsuit. Rivella is ruined in her marriage and also reveals that she is the author of the controversial Atalantis. Lovemore says, “… she told me that her self was author of the Atalantis…” (Manley, 107). Rivella causes much scandal and innocent individuals are harmed by her writings. When confronted with these charges by Lovemore, she simply says that she did this because she hates men and wanted to expose individuals to vent her anger. Lovemore says, “…I began with railing at her books; the barbarous design of exposing people that never had done her any injury; she answered me she was become misanthrope, a perfect Timon, or man-hater…” (Manley, 107). Manley’s approach in Rivella is interesting because she speaks through a male and uses a fictional account to reveal private information about contemporary individuals, insights about herself, and attempts to justify her motives and actions. Perhaps her overall justification for her indiscretions is as Lovemore states: “…what is not a crime in men is scandalous and unpardonable in woman…” (Manley, 47).