Thursday, March 8, 2012

Helen Castor: She Wolves

“Throughout our history, women and power have made an uneasy combination”. Dr Helen Castor made it clear the path to power depended on more than the right alliances, lineage, and marriage partner. Even if all those were spot on, being female was enough to halt any rise. The series began with the medieval Queens Matilda and her daughter-in-law Eleanor of Aquitaine. Both wanted to rule, not reign like Queen Elizabeth II.

She Wolves brings Dr Castor’s book She-Wolves: The Women Who Ruled England Before Elizabeth to television. The programme’s sensational title was a given. With an audience beyond the niches of either a history readership or gender studies, the book is a natural for television with clearly told, linear stories that resonate despite being from at least 600 years ago. But with only one contemporary image apiece for Matilda and Eleanor (both seen here), televisual material was lacking.

See also this article from the Radio Times.

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