Added: June 22, 2013 – Last updated: June 4, 2016


Author: Jennifer L. Airey

Title: The Politics of Rape

Subtitle: Sexual Atrocity, Propaganda Wars, and the Restoration Stage

Place: Newark

Publisher: University of Delaware Press

Year: 2012 (hardback), 2014 (paperback)

Pages: 251pp.

ISBN-13: 9781611494044 (hbk.) – Find a Library: Wikipedia, WorldCat | ISBN-13: 9781611495430 (pbk.) – Find a Library: Wikipedia, WorldCat | ISBN-13: 9781611494051 (ebk.) – Find a Library: Wikipedia, WorldCat

Language: English

Keywords: Modern History: 17th Century | European History: English History | Representations: Literary Texts / Aphra Behn, Roger Boyle, John Crowne, John Dryden, Edward Howard, Nathaniel Lee, Edward Ravenscroft, Elkanah Settle, Thomas Shadwell, John Wilmot



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Author: Jennifer L. Airey, Department of English, University of, ResearchGate


  Acknowledgments (p. vii)
  Introduction (p. 1)
  1 Rape and the Rehabilitation of Royalist Identity, 1660-1665 (p. 31)
    Political Propaganda in the 1640s: The Trope of the Debauched Cavalier (p. 33)
    Redeeming the Cavaliers: Orrey's The Generall (p. 38)
    Porter, Howard, and the Trope of the Debauched Usurper (p. 45)
    Howard's The Usurper and the Trope of the Poisonous Catholic Bride (p. 51
    Conclusion (p. 59)
  2 Rape and the Roots of Discontent, 1666-1677 (p. 65)
    Dryden's Amboyna and the Trope of the Demonic Dutchman (p. 70)
    Male Libertinism and the Poisonous Catholic Mistress: 1670s Propaganda (p. 77)
    Male Abdication, Female Poison: Settle's Love and Revenge (p. 85)
    The Debauched Libertine and the Failure of Female Revenge: Shadwell's The Libertine (p. 94)
    Conclusion: Behn's The Rover, Part I and Political Ambivalence on the Eve of the Popish Plot (p. 100)
  3 Lucrece Narratives: Rochester, Lee, and the Ethics of Regicide (p. 111)
    Rochester's Valentinian and the Limits of Monarchical Authority (p. 116)
    Lee's Lucius Junius Brutus and the Dangers of Revolt (p. 128)
    Conclusion (p. 143)
  4 Rape and the Cannibal Father, 1678-1687 (p. 147)
    The Exclusion Crisis and the Politics of Familial Collapse (p. 152)
    Staging Intrafamilial Conflict: Otway and Lee (p. 159)
    Crowne's Thyestes and the Horrors of the Cannibal Father (p. 165)
    Defending Absolute Monarchy: Ravenscroft's Titus Andronicus (p. 174)
    Conclusion (p. 181)
  5 Rape in the Aftermath of Revolution: Images of Male Rape, 1688-1699 (p. 189)
    Warring Words: Propaganda in the 1690s (p. 192)
    Articulating Jacobite Sympathies: Settle's Distress'd Innocence (p. 203)
    Defending the Revolution: Variations on the Trope of Male Rape (p. 207)
    Conclusion (p. 216)
  Works Cited (p. 223)
  Index (p. 243)
  About the Author (p. 251)

Description: »The Politics of Rape: Sexual Atrocity, Propaganda Wars, and the Restoration Stage is the first full-length study to examine representations of sexual violence on the Restoration stage. By reading theatrical depictions of sexual violence alongside political tracts, propaganda pamphlets, and circulating broadsides, this study argues that authors used dramatic representations of rape to respond to and engage with late-century upheavals in British political culture. Beginning with an examination of rape scenes in English Civil War propaganda, The Politics of Rape argues that Roundhead authors described acts of rape and atrocity to demonize their enemies, the Irish, the Catholics, and the Cavaliers. After the Restoration, propagandists and playwrights on each side of every political conflict would follow suit, altering the rhetoric of sexual violence in response to each new moment of political upheaval: The Restoration of Charles II, the Second and Third Anglo-Dutch Wars, the Popish Plot, the Exclusion Crisis, the Glorious Revolution, and the accession of William and Mary. The study offers an intensive look at British propaganda culture, gathering together a wealth of understudied pamphlet texts, and identifying a series of stock figures that recur throughout the century: The demonic Irishman, sexually violent villain of the 1641 Irish Rebellion tracts; the debauched Cavalier, the secretly Catholic royalist rapist; the poisonous Catholic bride, the malignant consort who encourages the rapes of Protestant women; the cannibal father, the evil patriarch who rapes his daughters-in-laws before ingesting his own sons as a symbol of monarchical overreach; and the ravished monarch, the male rape victim whose sexual violation protests his political disenfranchisement. The study also traces the appearance of these figures on the British stage, examining well-known works by Dryden, Rochester, Behn, Lee, and Shadwell, alongside lesser-known plays by Orrery, Howard, Settle, Crowne, Ravenscroft, Pix, Cibber, and Brady. The Politics of Rape thus offers a new method for understanding of the geo-political implications of theatrical sexual violence.« (Source: University of Delaware Press)


Backscheider, Paula R. Tulsa Studies in Women's Literature 32(1) (Spring 2013): 225-227. – Full Text: Project MUSE (Restricted Access)

McGirr, Elaine. The Scriblerian and the Kit-Cats 47(2)-48(1) (Spring-Autumn 2015): 106-107. – Full Text: Project MUSE (Restricted Access)

Pappa, Joseph. Seventeenth-Century News 71(3-4) (Fall-Winter 2013): 128-132. – Full Text: OAK Trust: Digital Repository of the Texas A&M University (Free Access), Questia (Restricted Access)

Straub, Kristina. Theatre Journal 66(2) (May 2014): 308-310. – Full Text: Project MUSE (Restricted Access)

Wikipedia: History of Europe: History of England / Restoration (England) | Literature: English literature / Restoration literature | 17th-century English writers: Aphra Behn / The Rover (play); Roger Boyle, 1st Earl of Orrery; John Crowne; John Dryden / Amboyna (play); Edward Howard (playwright); Nathaniel Lee; Edward Ravenscroft; Elkanah Settle; Thomas Shadwell; John Wilmot, 2nd Earl of Rochester / Valentinian (play)