On TV: Revisting Reign’s first season and the horrors of “historical fanfiction”, ahem

Though I don’t 100% agree with the author’s opinions, I definitely think that you can do so much better in learning (and actually enjoying!) history than “Reign”. I know it was never touted as historically accurate, and the author of this article acknowledges that *cough*fellow commenters please read the article more carefully*cough*, like them, I feel that it’s much better to be generally accurate to avoid disrespecting, defaming, and/or grossly oversimplifying historical events and figures and so even in historical fiction, I feel that the people behind them have a sort-of unspoken obligation to at least try to be accurate as far as they can go and allow for their fiction.

The Blog

Dear CW,

CANCEL REIGN NOW! Okay, seriously. I know it is highly improbable that someone with the power of canceling Reign would come across this article or take advice from me, but hey, it’d be just better if it got canceled and its budget went to a more deserving series. Even though I wouldn’t wrap my head around it too much since it seems like the type that gets canceled early (but we’ll see about that). Anyways, for the uninitiated, Reign is an American television series that focuses on Mary, Queen of Scots’ (Adelaide Kane) early life. And not only it is underwhelming in its very own self-designed guilty pleasure way, it is also plainly historically inaccurate.

This fits with the CW’s problem with adaptations, since it is adapted from HISTORY itself. Historical fiction is by no means always bad, but it’s definitely better if it retains at least a certain amount of factual history. But in true…

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A Formative Childhood? A Comparison of the Reigns of Mary Stuart and Elizabeth Tudor

A well-written, well-researched, and generally balanced article that seems to get more and more fascinating every time I reread it, especially as I get to know the intriguing and much-misunderstood figures of Mary, Queen of Scots and Elizabeth I of England. 🙂

The Creation of Anne Boleyn

Above: queens, cousins, rivals. Mary Stuart, queen consort of France and queen regnant of Scotland (left) and Elizabeth Tudor, queen regnant of England (right). Above: queens, cousins, rivals. Mary Stuart, queen consort of France and queen regnant of Scotland (left) and Elizabeth Tudor, queen regnant of England (right).

Conor Byrne is a history student at the University of Exeter whose research interests include gender, cultural, and social history. His excellent blog focuses on historical issues but also touches upon contemporary political and social events. 

Being a queen regnant in sixteenth-century Europe was no easy task. Prevailing misogynistic notions questioned whether women, as the inferior sex, had the right to rule over their male superiors. John Knox, the vehement Scottish Protestant preacher, opined in his The first blast of the trumpet against the monstrous regiment of women, attacking the rule of female monarchs such as Mary Tudor and Mary of Guise and published in 1558, that female rule was contrary to Biblical law. He bitterly concluded: ‘For their [women’s] sight in ciulie regiment, is but blindnes:…

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The Sisters Tudor: An Evolution in Evaluating Mary I and Elizabeth I

Interesting and well-written article…what do you guys think?

The Creation of Anne Boleyn

Mary and Elizabeth TudorThe following post is from Natalie Sweet, research assistant to Susan Bordo. She is the creator of Semper Eadem: An Elizabeth I Blog, and is currently at work on a book project that focuses on life within Abraham Lincoln’s White House (you can read a sample of that project here). The following is taken from a piece Natalie wrote in 2008, Two Tudor Monarchs: Analyzing Queenship in Early Modern England.

Scholarly literature on the two Tudor queens regnant, Mary I and Elizabeth I, suggests a number of past themes about their reigns. Authors once obsessed over Mary’s “bloody” moniker and Catholic faith, while others analyzed Elizabeth’s Protestant policies and her “Glorianna” status.  In the late twentieth century, however, the development of fields in women’s history and gender analysis signaled new ways in which to conceptualize the two sisters.  Obviously, historians had always recognized the fact that Mary…

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Isabella Stewart Gardner: the Lady, the Legend, the Legacy ~ a guest post by Alexandra G. Kiely

Although not a member of the royalty or nobility as is usually my type when reading about and learning history, I still found this article about the interesting Isabella Stewart Gardner enjoyable and informative. I recommend reading this if you wish to know more about her in a more or less objective manner and having the facts presented well! 🙂

The Freelance History Writer

Alexandra is a twenty-something art historian and researcher with omnivorous interests in arts, culture, and history. She is also a figure skater and a dancer. Read more about her various intellectual pursuits at ascholarlyskater.wordpress.com.

Isabella Stewart Gardner in Venice, 1894 as painted by Anders Zorn Isabella Stewart Gardner in Venice, 1894 as painted by Anders Zorn

Isabella Stewart Gardner. Even among the ranks of art collectors – glamorous and fascinating characters all – that name looms large. A rare, early female art collector, and more importantly a female who founded her own museum, she was a powerful member of late nineteenth-century Boston’s influential upper crust. She was a woman of great curiosity and fierce intellect who travelled the world and made friends with the likes of Henry James, but she was also the subject of sensational news stories in her day and extravagant legends in ours. Her name will forever be associated with the mysterious and still-unsolved 1990 robbery that…

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Formidable Women – Rosalind Franklin (1920 – 1958)

A fascinating post about a woman who has suffered from the Matilda effect in being given due recognition for her efforts, works, and achievements in the field of science but has now thankfully been generally recognized for them — showing that the Matilda effect *can* be overcome if people just work together and try their best to give credit where it is due. But it is still sad that her contributions were not recognized immediately and attributed to male scientists and by the time that people realized their mistakes, it was really quite too late.

Gerhart von Kap-herr

rosalind Franklin

On the days preceding and ending with International Women’s Day, I intended to write about four formidable women from history, to remind people of the recognition they deserved but were often denied. However, I had scheduled a memorial service in the local church for the two women who had been dearest to me for March 8th. Subsequently, preoccupied with remembered loss and sorrow, I was unable to write anything on that very special day.

Now, I am Europe for a month to visit friends and relatives in Austria and Germany, perhaps for the last time. However, I must still tell you, to give her, her due, of my impressions of “The Dark Lady of DNA,” as she was titled by her biographer, Brenda Maddox.

Today, let us remember…

Rosalind Franklin (1920 – 1958)


Rosalind Elsie Franklin was born in London, England in 1920. She was an extremely…

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The Princess and the Eye Patch

Here’s an article about a fascinating Renaissance-era woman who definitely needs more interest from modern viewers! 😀

Columbia Classical Fencing, LLC

Doña Ana de Mendoza y de la Cerda_400Doña Ana de Mendoza, the Princess of Éboli, is a woman full of historic intrigue and mystery. Fascination of her is fueled not only by her legendary beauty, courtly manipulations, and murderous plot, but also the mystery surrounding an alleged fencing accident and her eye patch. She has captivated attention for centuries, been immortalized in opera by Verdi, portrayed in Hollywood by Olivia de Haviland, and is the subject of numerous books and video productions.  So who is Doña Ana de Mendoza and why is she wearing an eye patch?

A Very Brief Biography
Born in 1540 into the powerful house of Mendoza, Doña Ana was the daughter of Diego Hurtado de Mendoza and Catherine de Silva.  Doña Ana endured what appears to be a dysfunctional home life as a child, including the embarrassment of her father’s infamous philandering, something not accepted in 16th Century Spain.  Little is known of…

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