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TudorismHistorical Imagination and the Appropriation of the Sixteenth Century$
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Tatiana C. String and Marcus Bull

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780197264942

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197264942.001.0001

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Slashing History: The Tudors

Slashing History: The Tudors

(p.242) (p.243) 12 Slashing History: The Tudors


British Academy

This chapter examines the television series The Tudors (2007–2010). It argues that whilst it pays much lip-service to the Tudor dynasty as a real, historical entity, it is very unconcerned with the actuality; indeed, it strives to take the well-known iconography and to reject it. The series demonstrates to a great degree Tudorism, the fetishisation and commodification of a set of cultural norms, tropes, and ideas. The Tudors is Tudorist because it deals directly with the ways in which historical cliché — particularly surrounding Henry VIII — works in the popular imagination. The chapter considers The Tudors from a variety of perspectives to analyze what the show demonstrates about contemporary engagement with the Tudor period, about the evolution of costume drama more generally, and the ways in which popular cultural history might be engaged with, disrupted, and used by viewers and audiences.

Keywords:   The Tudors, Tudorism, Henry VIII, cultural history, Tudor period, fetishisation, commodification

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