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She-Wolf or Feminist Heroine? Representations of Margaret of Anjou in Modern History and Literature

  • Imogene Dudley
Chapter
Part of the Queenship and Power book series (QAP)

Abstract

This chapter explores the posthumous reputation of Margaret of Anjou (1430–1482), queen consort to Henry VI of England, in modern historiography and fiction. Henry VI’s mental incapacity enabled Margaret to fill the resulting political vacuum as the figurehead of the Lancastrian monarchy during the Wars of the Roses. She was immortalized by Shakespeare as a “she-wolf,” thus cementing her reputation, but the advent of women’s history ushered in a more sympathetic, revisionist perspective. This chapter considers recent representations of Margaret in historical fiction; explores their treatment of her personality, her sexuality, and her desire for power; and analyzes whether they perpetuate two opposing reincarnations of Margaret as either a “she-wolf” or a proto-feminist heroine, or whether a more nuanced representation is emerging.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Imogene Dudley
    • 1
  1. 1.University of ExeterExeterUK

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