Diagnosing History: Medicine in Television Period Drama

Katherine Byrne, Julie-Anne Taddeo, James Leggott

Research output: Book/ReportBookpeer-review


This timely collection examines representations of medicine and medical practices in international period drama television. A preoccupation with medical plots and settings can be found across a range of important historical series, including Outlander, Poldark, The Knick, Call the Midwife, La Peste and A Place to Call Home. Such shows offer a critique of medical history while demonstrating how contemporary viewers access and understand the past. Topics covered in this collection include the innovations and horrors of surgery; the intersection of gender, class, race and medicine on the American frontier; psychiatry and the trauma of war; and the connections between past and present pandemics. Featuring original chapters on period television from the UK, the US, Spain and Australia, Diagnosing history offers an accessible, global and multidisciplinary contribution to both televisual and medical history.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationManchester
PublisherManchester University Press
Number of pages302
ISBN (Electronic)978-1526163288
ISBN (Print)1526163284
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 1 Mar 2022


  • Medical Humanities
  • Historical Fiction
  • history of medicine


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