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This essay traces medieval representations of intoxication and consent and links them to contemporary cases, including Brock Turner’s 2016 rape trial and the 2017 slew of lawsuits filed against Baylor University. Through an examination of medieval texts from a range of genres, including the Biblical stories of Lot and Noah, the Digby Mary Magdalene play, proverbs, Geoffrey Chaucer’s Wife of Bath’s Prologue, the 1292 legal case of Isabella Plomet, and Robert Mannyng’s Handlyng Synne, this essay explores past views of gender, perpetrators, culpability, alcohol, and consent. It argues that victim-blaming those who have been assaulted while intoxicated has a long history, and that cultural recognition of their harm has a history that is equally long.
rape; sexual violence; alcohol; intoxication; consent; Mary Magdalene; Handlyng Synne
Copyright © 2019 Carissa M Harris
Harris, Carissa M. "“A drunken cunt hath no porter”: Medieval Histories of Intoxication and Consent." Medieval Feminist Forum: A Journal of Gender and Sexuality
54, no. 2 (2019)
Available at: https://doi.org/10.17077/1536-8742.2134