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Which historical person should Philippa Gregory write about next

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MLE (Emily Cotton)
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Post by MLE (Emily Cotton) » Wed September 7th, 2011, 3:28 am

LoveHistory, Katherine of Aragon was definitely devout, but Mary, Queen of Scots was the woman whose husband killed her (probable) lover, and then she was (likely) complicit in the plot to blow him up, after which she ran off with the man who dun it.

Raised in the licentious and irreligious atmosphere of the French court under Henri II (lover of Diane de Poitiers, along with several other dalliances) I don't think she is in the same personality category.

I think PG just likes to figure ways to turn the conventional wisdom on its ear just for the heck of it (like making Elizabeth I an empty-headed girl managed by her men). She pulled that off in TOBG, although its success was less because she upset the conventions and more because she told the story well. Since then, it seems like she has been chasing down the wrong trail.

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Post by SCW » Wed September 7th, 2011, 9:39 am

At first I thought Isabella of France would be a more suitable topic than Margaret Beaufort or Lady River because she led a more interesting life (well that's how I perceived it)

But then PGs novels about Elizabeth the First and Mary Queen of Scots were rather on the dull side. (Virgins Lover and The Other Queen)...

Just a random thought - but why would an English noblewoman like Margaret Beaufort admire Joan of Arc? Wasn't this the peasant girl who supposedly used the dark arts to drive the English (Margaret's Countrymen) out of France.
I just can't see there being many fond memories of Joan of Arc amongst the nobles of the English court
Last edited by SCW on Wed September 7th, 2011, 9:43 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by LoveHistory » Wed September 7th, 2011, 10:46 pm

[quote=""MLE""]Mary, Queen of Scots was the woman whose husband killed her (probable) lover, and then she was (likely) complicit in the plot to blow him up, after which she ran off with the man who dun it.

Raised in the licentious and irreligious atmosphere of the French court under Henri II (lover of Diane de Poitiers, along with several other dalliances) I don't think she is in the same personality category.[/quote]

That depends on which version of her story you believe. It's also just as likely that Riccio was not her lover. And she may not have been involved in the plot to blow up her first husband. Lots of speculation involved in her reputation both to the good and bad. No way for us to know. If PG buys the saint version, that might very well have been the monkey wrench in her formula.

As to Margaret Beaufort and Joan of Arc...JoA succeeded where many men had failed. Regardless of nationality, that would be considered admirable by any woman with an ounce of ambition. Also possible that MB didn't believe the "dark arts" bit. It was rather usual for a woman who didn't behave according to society's strictures to be labeled as being in league with the devil, especially a woman who wielded any power or influence (Elizabeth Woodville, Anne Boleyn...etc).

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Post by Divia » Thu September 8th, 2011, 9:56 am

[quote=""SCW""]
Just a random thought - but why would an English noblewoman like Margaret Beaufort admire Joan of Arc? Wasn't this the peasant girl who supposedly used the dark arts to drive the English (Margaret's Countrymen) out of France.
I just can't see there being many fond memories of Joan of Arc amongst the nobles of the English court[/quote]

You are correct. The English had no love for Joan. And according to the English, she was from the Devil, or a witch and she used magic to win. The soldiers called her witch and whore from the battlefield, and it was Joan who helped turn the tide of the war at Orleans. She lifted the siege which was a huge blow to the English. The English weren't removed from France during her life, but she inspired her countrymen, that's for sure.

So yeah a peasant girl, who claimed to hear voices with god, made the English lose a country. I am also unsure why and Englishwoman would admire Joan. :confused: Her piety or devotion to god was in question for the English, while those in France believed her to be the real deal.
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Post by SCW » Thu September 8th, 2011, 10:41 am

I know that Margaret Beaufort was supposed to be a very pious and learned woman - but I've never heard of her showing reverence towards Joan of Arc....Oh I know - its a story and PG has to make it interesting but it just didn't seem real. Well at least she didn't make any living wax images of Richard the Third or Elizabeth Woodville.

Another peeve of mine is that in one of her novels (think it was Wideacre) - she mentions a person who was sentenced to transportation in Australia. The problem here is that Wideacre is set during the mid 1770s and the other character who mentions this fact dies around 1776!
OMIGOD! They must have had the sight!!
Last edited by SCW on Thu September 8th, 2011, 10:48 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Post by Nefret » Thu September 8th, 2011, 7:10 pm

I agree with what some of the others have said... maybe she should write historical fantasy instead. At least then she could make up things.
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We are strong and not afraid to die
We have an urge to kill and our lust for blood has to be fulfilled
WE´LL FIGHT TILL THE END! And send our enemies straight to Hell!
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MLE (Emily Cotton)
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Post by MLE (Emily Cotton) » Thu September 8th, 2011, 7:14 pm

Does anybody know what this non-fiction work she's about to come out with is on?

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Post by boswellbaxter » Thu September 8th, 2011, 8:32 pm

[quote=""MLE""]Does anybody know what this non-fiction work she's about to come out with is on?[/quote]

She's written it with two historians, David Baldwin and Michael Jones. Her section is on Jacquetta Woodville, Baldwin's is on Elizabeth Woodville, and Jones's is on Margaret Beaufort.
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Post by The Czar » Thu September 8th, 2011, 9:35 pm

I think Empress Theodora would be a good subject for a "chick lit" bio (don't mean to be sexist there :) ). Her life prior to becoming empress was pretty spicy, to say the least...
Her father, Acacius, was a bear trainer of the hippodrome's Green faction in Constantinople. Her mother, whose name is not recorded, was a dancer and an actress.[5] Her parents had two more daughters.[6] After her father's death, her mother brought her children wearing garlands into the hippodrome and presented them as suppliants to the Blue faction. From then on Theodora would be their supporter.[6]

Both John of Ephesus and Procopius (in his Secret History) relate that Theodora from an early age followed her sister Komito's example and worked in a Constantinople brothel serving low-status customers; later she performed on stage.[7] Lynda Garland in "Byzantine Empresses: Women and Power in Byzantium, AD 527-1204" notes that there seems to be little reason to believe she worked out of a brothel "managed by a pimp". Employment as an actress at the time would include both "indecent exhibitions on stage" and providing sexual services off stage. In what Garland calls the "sleazy entertainment business in the capital", Theodora would earn her living by a combination of her theatrical and sexual skills.[3] Theodora made a name for herself with her portrayal of Leda and the Swan, where she stripped off her clothes as far as the law allowed, lying on her back while some attendants scattered barley on her groin and then some geese picked up the barley with their bills. She also entertained notables at banquets and accepted a multitude of lovers.

During this time she met Antonina, with whom she would remain lifelong friends.

At the age of 16, she traveled to North Africa as the companion of a Syrian official named Hecebolus when he went to the Libyan Pentapolis as governor. She stayed with him for almost four years before returning to Constantinople. Abandoned and maltreated by Hecebolus, on her way back to the capital of the Byzantine Empire, she settled for a while in Alexandria, Egypt. She is said to have met Patriarch Timothy III in Alexandria, who was Monophysite, and it was at that time that she converted to Monophysite Christianity. From Alexandria she went to Antioch, where she met a Blue faction's dancer, Macedonia, who was perhaps an informer of Justinian.

She returned to Constantinople in 522 and gave up her former lifestyle, settling as a wool spinner in a house near the palace. Her beauty, wit and amusing character drew attention from Justinian, who wanted to marry her. However, he could not: He was heir of the throne of his uncle, Emperor Justin I, and a Roman law from Constantine's time prevented government officials from marrying actresses. Empress Euphemia, who liked Justinian and ordinarily refused him nothing, was against his wedding with an actress. However, Justin was fond of Theodora. In 525, when Euphemia had died, Justin repealed the law, and Justinian managed to marry Theodora. By this point, she already had a daughter (whose name has been lost). Justinian apparently treated the daughter and the daughter's son Athanasius as fully legitimate,[8] although sources disagree whether Justinian was the girl's father.
After her ascension, she basically shared power with Justinian, and was, from what I've read (mainly Robert Graves' Count Belisarius) was quite a Machivellian ruler, full of intruige and whatnot. Her life would make an interesting book.
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SCW
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Post by SCW » Fri September 9th, 2011, 11:46 pm

I agree with you. The Empress Theodora is an interesting historical figure. But hasn't someone just written a novel about her

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