Article Title

Rape and Rape Mythology in the Plays of Sarah Kane


Ian Ward


Sarah Kane’s Blasted, first performed in January 1995, caused a sensation. The violence was pervasive, the structure seemingly incoherent, the purpose elusive. Critics and scholars have subsequently striven to make sense of Blasted, as they have of Kane’s other plays, many of which inhere similar questions of coherence and ambition. Kane remains one of the most controversial of modern British dramatists, more especially of the ‘in-yer-face’ writers who rose to prominence in the latter part of the 1990s. At the heart of Blasted, and to a lesser degree her later Phaedra’s Love, is rape. The purpose of this article is to revisit Kane’s writing in the context of contemporary research into the relationship of law, literature and gender. More specifically, this article will address the presentation in Kane’s work of rape mythology. Unsurprisingly, this presentation is complex and unsettling, as complex and unsettling indeed as is Kane’s supposed relation to alternative species of political and literary feminism.

Comparative Drama is carried by JSTOR and Project MUSE.