Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding. I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop... it was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Historical fact and fiction

As a historian I am only too aware of the popular misconceptions about life in the past and how cinema and television produce, popularise and sustain them.

Quite by chance I came across this piece on the internet from the Sydney Morning Herald which discusses a particular example of this and which I thought might interest readers.

Written by Professor Garry Sturgess and published in the paper last March it can be viewed at Convicts and sex slaves: sorting the fact from the fiction in British TV series 'Banished' and in it the Professor does an effective demolition job on what appears to be a very badly researched historical drama, and which is full of contemporary prejudices and delusions.

It almost makes you want to watch the series so you can sit there and say to your friends " No, that's not true ... no, it would n't have been like that... no, that is simply ridiculous..."

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