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Title: Boudica and British historical culture, c. 1600-1916
Author: Vandrei, Martha Lynne
Awarding Body: King's College London
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2013
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In its original form, this project was to be a study of ideas of female heroism, or the ways in which the concept was constructed and perceived by the British public during the great age for hero-worship, the nineteenth century. In what in hindsight appears to have been a deeply naive endeavour, my initial plan had been to focus on a series of case studies of women who had achieved notoriety during the reign of Victoria in order to identify and compare the different heroic ideals to which women were held. My first case study was to be of Boudica (or Boadicea, as she was known to Victorian audiences). During the course of researching the first case study, it became increasingly clear that to write about the concept of heroism and the distant past was to engage with the process of "making history": in the sense both of relating a hero or heroine's impact on a given narrative of events, and in the sense that heroic reputations reveal the role of mediators (that is, the historian, poet, artist, etc. who interrogates a body of evidence) in interpreting the past, as well as in relating the element of the past in question to the intended audience. But I also found that in choosing Boudica, I was faced with a historical figure for whom the historical scholarship was vanishingly slight, but whose reputation had long been the almost exclusive purview of scholars of literature. Soon I was overwhelmed with questions about the relationship between past and present, fact and fiction, and even time and space. The whole project shifted, and Boudica became its sole focus, but it was clear that literary scholarship, heroism studies, and the history of history could offer few answers on their own. A new approach was needed, and so this project became not a study of Boudica, but an articulation of the idea of historical culture.
Supervisor: Jordanova, Ludmilla Jane ; McBride, Ian Richard ; Readman, Paul Andrew Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available