Bridgerton would have brimmed with syphilis

For the 20% of society contracting the STI in 19th-century England, there was generally no hope of recovery.
There was no effective cure for syphilis until the beginning of the 20th century. Image: Colin Hutton/ Netflix.

Esmé Louise James, The University of Melbourne

The success of Netflix’s Bridgerton is owed to many different factors: an addictive storyline, inspired casting choices, a dazzling costume design … and, of course, the fact the show is incredibly sexy.

Bridgerton has finally satisfied an ongoing craving for historical romance (and borderline erotica) which has existed since Mr Darcy’s wet-shirt moment in the 1995 adaptation of Pride and Prejudice.

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