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Queen Boudica and Historical Culture in BritainAn Image of Truth$
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Martha Vandrei

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198816720

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198816720.001.0001

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‘Poetry and fiction intermixt with our history’

‘Poetry and fiction intermixt with our history’

Druids, Patriots, and Critics in the Eighteenth Century

(p.81) 3 ‘Poetry and fiction intermixt with our history’
Queen Boudica and Historical Culture in Britain

Martha Vandrei

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on the boundaries between historical and political argument. It discusses the different ways that British antiquity could be politicized by historical writers of the eighteenth century. However, despite this, Boudica maintained a patriotic detachment from party fracases in prose literature. This is compared to her presentation in Richard Glover’s new play of 1753. Aside from questions of patriotism, Glover’s play brings to the fore drama’s relationship to history, and especially the fidelity to human nature that was demanded of both genres. Glover’s inability to accurately capture the spectrum of human emotions attracted extensive criticism, demonstrating another measure of ‘accuracy’ contemporaries applied to historical writing. With regards to Boudica herself, this chapter begins to consolidate the argument that Boudica’s reputation was rather more durable and positive than previous scholars have allowed.

Keywords:   eighteenth-century literature, patriotism, historiography, history writing, historical drama, Richard Glover (1712–85)

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