Something happens, and there is an aftermath. That act, as it is constituted by the discourses that comprise this volume, is rape, and the aftermath is that set of adjudications and readings which name this act and give it meaning. But the retrospection employed in such a practice has its aftermath too. The happening may then be the adjudications and readings of a volume such as this, whose aftermath is the name and meaning given to what was done here in the name of representing rape. There are, broadly speaking, only two possibilities. Our readings may, as we have hoped, be accepted and confirmed, extended and repeated in relation to other happenings. Or the very procedures we have employed will be explicitly or implicitly reversed, and precisely what we have read as rape will be read (again) as not-rape. It is difficult to say which result would count as the greater failure. If our readings are either reversible or repeatable, it may be wondered, why are they needed? If what comes after the study of the representation of rape in Medieval and Early Modern Europe is either less or more of the same, why have we offered such a study at all?
KeywordsFeminist Theory Consciousness Raising False Consciousness Discursive Strategy Sexual Politics
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