Wolf Hall and beyond: Fact and fiction
Time: 11:00 - 16:00
Location: Keeley Street
Course Code: HBH72
Duration: 1 session
What is the course about?
We will compare and contrast the portrayal of historical characters and events in Hilary Mantel’s trilogy devoted to Thomas Cromwell and the court of Henry VIII with what is known from contemporary sources.
What will we cover?
Hilary Mantel’s trilogy focusses on the years 1527-1540 which saw the rise and fall of Thomas Cromwell. This was a time that saw England break away from Rome as Henry VIII sought to replace an ageing wife in order to gain a son and heir. We will look at the leading characters of the day and how they are portrayed by Mantel.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
• Describe the factual history of the period 1527-1540
• Compare Hilary Mantel’s depiction of Thomas Cromwell and other leading characters to the known historical facts and so form your own conclusions as to whether her portrayals are realistic or not.
• Use the knowledge gained on this course to inform your reading (or future reading) of Wolf Hall, Bring Up the Bodies and The Mirror and the Light.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
The course is suitable for those who have already read Hilary Mantel’s trilogy and wish to learn more about the historical period and characters. It would also appeal to those who are planning to read the novels and want to brush up on their historical knowledge beforehand. Equally, if you don’t want to read the books but think you should, the knowledge gained in four hours will prevent you committing a social gaff!! A good understanding of English is essential.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
PowerPoint will be used to illustrate key points and we will read and discuss original sources of the period that illustrate the personalities and events described in Wolf Hall, Bring Up the Bodies and The Mirror and the Light.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
There are no extra costs apart from your own note-taking materials. If you want to refer to specific sections in any of the novels, you may wish to bring a copy with you to class.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
Other courses in early modern British history. Please see the City Lit website.
Vanessa King is a lecturer in Medieval and early Modern History at Regents University, and Birkbeck College University of London. At City Lit, Vanessa offers courses and day schools on London, as well as European history from the Fall of Rome to 1800. She has published widely on the Anglo-Norman period (1066-1154), and is currently writing a book on Early English Queenship 600-1066 for Routledge. You can follow her progress via her website: https://queenshipinpreconquestengland.wordpress.com/ Vanessa’s expertise in medieval matters means she is frequently called upon to give public lectures and speak on BBC Radio. Vanessa's philosophy of teaching is to make history come alive through informative presentations with a good sense of humour. In her spare time, she enjoys nothing better than talking history over a glass of red wine!
Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.