Saturday, September 28, 2013

Question from Becca - Factual basis for fictional portrayals of Henry VIII and his wives

Hi, I'm a third year university student (UK) and I am just starting to collect some info for my dissertation. I do not have a solid question as of yet, however, I would like to do something along the lines of 'how far do fictional works on the life of Henry VIII & his relationship with his wives have basis in fact?' I have chosen this because I do have a good back ground knowledge of the Tudors and I'm very passionate for subject, especially the personal life of Henry. I also find the modern representations of Henry (in film and tv series) fascinating, in particular how key historical facts are often left out and are replaced by stereotypes for entertainment value. The Tudors seem to be a fashionable topic in film and media at the moment, I'm keen to find out why and (in relation to my dissertation) if they do have basis in fact? However, I'm starting to worry slightly that maybe there won't be enough information/sources for a 12,000 word project. Has anyone written a similar essay or studied this topic? Know any good books to recommend? I want to get started as soon as but my tutor will only see me once every two weeks! Any help would be greatly received. Thank you.


Lara said...

I'm sure others will come up with more, but the first thing I thought of was the "Tudorism" conference from a few years back published a book of papers from the conference. It's 'academically priced' so I would recommend trying to find it in a library. The editors are Tatiana C. String and Marcus Bull. Besides the papers in the book, there might be good references and a bibliography to lead you to more sources.

There is also the "Tudors on Film and Television" book from last year. I haven't read it, but it might also be helpful. They have a website for it at

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

You could also try for Anne Boleyn, 'The Creation of Anne Boleyn' by Susan Bordo.

tudor princess said...

Henry VIII - On Stage and Screen was the name of the Hampton Court Discussion which had Thomas S Freeman, Greg Walker and Greg Thompson as contributors.

There is an essay on the topic, Henry VIII on Film by Dr Freeman which should be available on the web and I think there are also some clips of him and others, discussing various film portrayals of Henry VIII on YouTube.

Other books which may be useful:
Tudors and Stuarts on Film by Dr Susan Doran and Dr Thomas Freeman.

Henry VIII and History - Thomas Betteridge and Thomas S Freeman

Henry VIII and his Afterlives, Literature, Politics and Art by Mark Rankin and John N King.

Royal Portraits in Hollywood - Filming the Lives of the Queens by Elizabeth Ford and Deborah Mitchel (I'm not too sure if this covers any of Henry's Queens.)

I know that Nasim recommended Warnicke's article, Anne Boleyn in History, Drama And Film, which is in High and Mighty Queens of Early Modern England: Realities and Representations by Carole Levin and Debra Barrett-Graves.

Gareth Russell's blog is always a good read (Confession of a Ci-Devant) and he discusses various film and television portrayals of Henry VIII and his wives although you may have to hunt in the archives for this.