"Winning the people's voice" : usurpation, propaganda and state-influenced history in fifteenth-century England

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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[Truncated abstract] Thus, my gode lorde, wynneth your peples voice ffor peples vois is goddes voys, menne seyne. (Thomas Hoccleve to Henry of Monmouth, 1411, in The Regement of Princes)

I have bin informed that diverse language, hath bene sayde of me to youre moste excellente whiche shoulde sounde to my dishonour and reproach, and charge of my person: howe be it that, I aye have bene, and ever will be, your true liegeman and servaunt (Richard duke of York to Henry VI, 1450)

In earlier books of this work we have explained at sufficient length how King Richard II entirely lacked male heirs, and how not long after the whole population of England was split into two factions, Lancastrian and Yorkist, and how a bloody struggle ensued for over a hundred years, indeed until our own day, until at last the houses of Lancaster and York were united. (Polydore Vergil, mid-sixteenth century Anglica Historia)

The above three quotes show that there were, in fifteenth century England, a number of different ideas and interpretations of the period written by and about the figures involved in that century’s political landscape. In this thesis I will examine how the events and ideas behind the fifteenth century political conflicts of England were represented through fifteenth century texts. In order to do so, a number of questions need to be asked. What were the political messages associated with fifteenth century English politics, and how did these messages influence the writing of history during and immediately after this time? Can we define these messages as propaganda, a term not coined until the seventeenth century, in the fifteenth century context? And is it possible to see the influence of these messages on the histories that were written during the time? In attempting to answer these questions, I will synthesise a number of works that have already been undertaken in examining the political messages of this period, as well as address some of the gaps that are present in these works...
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Publication statusUnpublished - 2006


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