Randolph-Macon College alumna Carlie Pendleton ‘13 and History Professor Anne Throckmorton were invited to contribute chapters to a book that will offer a scholarly critique of Showtime’s “The
Tudors,” a historical fiction television series set in sixteenth-century England. The book, “The Tudors,” Sex, Politics, and Power: History, Fiction, and Artistic License in the Showtime Television Series, is part of the “Queenship and Power” series and will be published by Palgrave MacMillan.
Pendleton and Throckmorton were asked to contribute to the book after meeting its editor, Professor William Robison, when he lectured at R-MC in 2014. A history professor at Southeastern Louisiana University, Robinson gave two talks in conjunction with Randolph-Macon’s annual Women’s Studies
Speaker Series. Throckmorton is one of the key organizers behind the popular series, which began this year on September 29.
“I attended one of the talks and met Professor Robison after the lecture,” recalls Pendleton, a history major. “He was incredibly courteous, and he inquired about my research interests. A few months after we met, Professor Robison emailed Professor Throckmorton and me, asking us to contribute to his project.” This fall, Pendleton will begin graduate school at the University of Oxford, where she will pursue an M.Phil. in Modern British and European History, 1500-Present.
“My research at Oxford will focus on the English Reformation, specifically the mass dissemination of John Foxe’s Acts and Monuments, commonly known as The Book of Martyrs, throughout major English churches and cathedrals and its eventual use as a devotional text by the English laity,”
explains Pendleton. “My plan is to complete my master’s degree in two years, then continue on to my Ph.D., eventually becoming a professor of early modern European history.”
Pendleton’s chapter, “All That Glitters is (Fool’s) Gold: Depictions of Court Entertainment on Showtime’s The Tudors,” focuses on the depiction of court entertainments on “The Tudors.” The chapter encompasses many categories: music, drama, dancing, feasts, marriages, coronations, holiday celebrations, receptions of foreign dignitaries, and various forms of tournaments and sporting events.
“This is a unique chapter in many ways, first and foremost because court entertainments enhance rather than detract from what most audiences would consider good TV,” explains Pendleton. “Thus the entertainment factor of the show was not at odds with this particular facet of the real history to the same degree as other arenas.”
“I am grateful to Professor Throckmorton for her help and guidance, not only throughout this process but during my entire tenure at R-MC,” says Pendleton, who recently worked as a tour guide at Agecroft Hall, a Tudor revival mansion-turned-museum in Richmond, Virginia. “It is only because of her exemplary skills that I now have the opportunity to attend one of the most esteemed universities in the world.”
Throckmorton’s chapter, “The In-Laws,” focuses on the depictions in “The Tudors” of Henry the VIII’s revolving door of in-laws.
“Every time he discarded a queen and acquired a new one, he also acquired a bevy of new in-laws,” says Throckmorton, who teaches a variety of courses, including England to 1660 and European Revolutions.
“One of my major points is that the series compounded its inaccuracies when actors who portrayed major characters decided not to return. For example, the historical Duke of Norfolk was a major political player throughout Henry’s reign but he only appears in the first season of the series; the
actor who played Norfolk decided not to return. As a result, all of the actions the historical Duke of Norfolk made had to be divvied up between other characters in the series, making for very unlikely alliances—not to mention major inaccuracies.”
Robison was duly impressed when he visited Randolph-Macon College in 2014.
“The best thing about my visit was the opportunity to talk at length with Anne, to meet her colleagues, and to spend time with her students,” says Robison, who sat in on Throckmorton’s Honors class about the six wives of Henry VIII. “I was impressed by her students, who came from disciplines all across the college. However, in Carlie I recognized a future historian with enormous potential, an opinion which the history faculty at Oxford University obviously share. She already has learned a great deal from Anne, and I think the sky is the limit for her. So, naturally, I wanted to work with both of them. I am delighted to have them as contributors.”