Raising Jack Perverse: On Childhood, Perversity, and James Hearne’s Case

  • Derritt Mason
Keywords: James Hearne, peversity, childhood


This paper considers two versions of the child that circulated in Romantic thought – (1) the dangerous, inherently perverse child, and (2) the innocent child who is susceptible to perversion – in light of Charles Bradbury’s 1755 trial and the testimony of James Hearne, a young apprentice who accused Bradbury of sodomy. The author argues that these reductive versions of the child remain in circulation today, as evidenced by recent changes to Canada’s age of consent legislation, and a critical reading of Hearne’s case points to how children’s behaviour always exceeds the narratives adults create to understand and explain it.


DOI: 10.1353/jeu.2011.0008


Author Biography

Derritt Mason

Derritt Mason is a Ph.D. student in the Department of English and Film Studies at the University of Alberta. His dissertation explores the development of the queer young adult fiction genre since the first North American YA novel with gay content was released in 1969. In addition to articles published in The Brock Review and Journal of LGBT Youth, he has an essay forthcoming in a collection dedicated to the ever-fascinating Lady Gaga.

How to Cite
Mason, D. (2011). Raising Jack Perverse: On Childhood, Perversity, and James Hearne’s Case. Jeunesse: Young People, Texts, Cultures, 3(1). Retrieved from https://jeunessejournal.ca/index.php/yptc/article/view/80

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