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Conflicting Masculinities: Men in Television Period Drama

Conflicting Masculinities: Men in Television Period Drama

Edited by: Katherine Byrne, Professor Julie Anne Taddeo, James Leggott

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Never before has period drama offered viewers such an assortment of complex male characters, from transported felons and syphilitic detectives to shell shocked soldiers and gangland criminals. Neo-Victorian Gothic fictions like Penny Dreadful represent masculinity at its darkest, Poldark and Outlander have refashioned the romantic hero and anti-heritage series like Peaky Blinders portray masculinity in crisis, at moments when the patriarchy was being bombarded by forces like World War I, the rise of first wave feminism and the breakdown of Empire. Scholars of film, media, literature and history explore the very different types of maleness offered by contemporary television and show how the intersection of class, race, history and masculinity in period dramas has come to hold such broad appeal to twenty-first-century audiences.

Author Info

Katherine Byrne is a lecturer in English at the University of Ulster, where she teaches nineteenth and twentieth century literature and women's writing. She has published articles and book chapters on Victorian fiction and medicine, and on adaptation and television, especially on the adaptation of Elizabeth Gaskell for the small screen. Her previous monograph was Tuberculosis and the Victorian Literary Imagination and she has just completed a book on Neo-Edwardian period drama, called Edwardians on Screen: From Downton Abbey to Parade's End.

Julie Anne Taddeo teaches British history at University of Maryland, College Park, USA. She is the author of Lytton Strachey and the Search for Modern Sexual Identity and has edited and co-edited the following collections: Upstairs and Downstairs: British Costume Drama Television from The Forsyte Saga to Downton Abbey; Steaming into a Victorian Future: A Steampunk Anthology; Catherine Cookson Country: On the Borders of Legitimacy, Fiction and History and The Tube Has Spoken: Reality TV & History. She is an associate editor for The Journal of Popular Television and is Secretary of the Middle Atlantic Conference on British Studies (MACBS).

James Leggott teaches film and television at Northumbria University, UK. He has published on various aspects of British film and television culture and is the co-editor of Upstairs and Downstairs: British Costume Drama Television from The Forsyte Saga to Downton Abbey. He is the principal editor of the Journal of Popular Television.


`This volume makes a significant contribution to the literature on both masculinity and period dramas, and will be welcomed by scholars of both-as well as by the fan community.'
Cynthia J. Miller, Senior Affiliated Faculty, Institute for Liberal Arts and Interdisciplinary Studies, Emerson College

`This is a must-read for anyone interested in contemporary British period drama and/ or televisual representations of masculinities. This comprehensive collection covers dramas from Poldark over Downton Abbey to The Crown, from Pride and Prejudice to Peaky Blinders. It observes the complexities of represented gender roles by connecting them to their historical period and the contemporary struggles of a revived patriarchy clashing with a reenergised feminist project. Byrne, Taddeo and Leggot have managed to bring together cutting-edge research that highlights that rarely before has British period drama been such a privileged site where the conflicts of the past and the present are consolidated in intriguing, sometimes traditionalist and sometimes subversive, period drama'.
Elke Weissmann, Reader in Film and Television, Edge Hill University

'Conflicting Masculinities is a bold, fresh and important contribution to the ongoing debates around the ongoing so-called crisis of masculinity, as well as to broader works on TV period dramas and genre more generally. The various essays within the volume boast an impressive breadth across historical periods, spanning the sixteenth to the twentieth centuries, as well as a range of TV genres extending beyond the strictly `period', from classic heritage productions to edgy and even comic dramas with historical settings. Adopting a wide range of critical approaches, the editors have carefully amassed a series of thoughtful, insightful essays which force the reader to rethink the ways in which contemporary and historical masculinities are constructed, as well as the period drama's complicity in negotiating those conflicting and often fragile masculinities. The book is essential reading for scholars of gender and television studies alike.'
Andrew B.R. Elliott, Senior Lecturer, School of Film & Media, University of Lincoln

Bibliographic Info

Imprint: I.B.Tauris
Publisher: I.B.Tauris & Co. Ltd.
Series: Library of Gender and Popular Culture

ISBN: 9781788313353
Publication Date: 29 May 2018
Number of Pages: 272
Illustrations: 20 Halftones, black and white

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