Rape in Period Drama Television: Consent, Myth, and Fantasy

Katherine Byrne, Julie Anne Taddeo

Research output: Book/ReportBookpeer-review


Rape in Period Drama Television considers the representation of rape and rape myths in a number of the most influential recent television period dramas. Like the corset, has become a shorthand for women's oppression in the past. Sexual violence has long been, and still is, commonplace in television period drama, often used to add authenticity and realism to shows or as a sensationalist means of chasing ratings. However, the authors illustrate that the depiction of rape is more than a mere reminder that the past was a dangerous place for women (and some men). In these series, they argue, rape functions as a kind of "anti-heritage" device that dispels the nostalgia usually associated with period television and reflects back on the current cultural moment, in which the #MeToo and #Timesup movement have increased awareness of the prevalence of sexual abuse, but in which legal and political processes have not yet caught up. In doing so, Rape in Period Drama Television sets out to explore the assumptions and beliefs which audiences continue to hold about rape, rapists, and victims.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherRowman & Littlefield
Number of pages154
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-7936-2586-1
ISBN (Print)978-1-7936-2585-4
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 15 Feb 2022


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