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Old January 25th, 2013, 09:43 AM   #1
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Phillipa Gregory: Historical hero or vandal?


I personally adore Phillipa Gregory's books. However as I increasingly explore the online historical world I find more and more negative opinions of Ms. Gregory and her lack of historical accuracy despite her claims of accuracy.
What are your opinions?
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Old January 25th, 2013, 09:49 AM   #2

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I have no problem with Phillipa Langley and find her scribblings entertaining. Having said that I would say that as long as one can distinguish between historical fiction and serious works of history there should be no problem. The trouble is that many of her readers cannot, or will not and this is when problems arise.
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Old February 5th, 2013, 03:18 PM   #3

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Originally Posted by Von Ranke View Post
I have no problem with Phillipa Langley and find her scribblings entertaining. Having said that I would say that as long as one can distinguish between historical fiction and serious works of history there should be no problem. The trouble is that many of her readers cannot, or will not and this is when problems arise.
Phillipa Langley was responsible for that dig in Leicester, but she has written a historical drama.
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Old February 6th, 2013, 01:29 AM   #4

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Neither really - just an overrated author.
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Old March 16th, 2013, 08:37 AM   #5
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Philippa LANGLEY is not Philippa GREGORY. Philippa GREGORY is not Philippa LANGLEY. So pretty pointless thread really?
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Old March 16th, 2013, 09:11 AM   #6

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Philippa LANGLEY is not Philippa GREGORY. Philippa GREGORY is not Philippa LANGLEY. So pretty pointless thread really?
Both as bad as each other.
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Old March 17th, 2013, 12:10 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by The Vintage eccentric View Post
I personally adore Phillipa Gregory's books. However as I increasingly explore the online historical world I find more and more negative opinions of Ms. Gregory and her lack of historical accuracy despite her claims of accuracy.
What are your opinions?

I would not pay too much attention to her critics if you like her books. Even professional historians can greatly disagree on what happened in history. Take a look of those innumerable Rome vs Han China threads, and you will find each side accusing the other of inaccuracy. I would not rely on her for an accurate knowledge of history, but I wouldn't rely on any historical fiction writer for my historical knowledge.

But the best way to judge is to do some research on the time and place her books take place, and see if it matches what you find, and judge for yourself..
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Old April 3rd, 2013, 04:43 AM   #8

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I would not pay too much attention to her critics if you like her books. Even professional historians can greatly disagree on what happened in history. Take a look of those innumerable Rome vs Han China threads, and you will find each side accusing the other of inaccuracy. I would not rely on her for an accurate knowledge of history, but I wouldn't rely on any historical fiction writer for my historical knowledge.

But the best way to judge is to do some research on the time and place her books take place, and see if it matches what you find, and judge for yourself..
I can agree with you there, unless you have done research into the period history yourself you really don't have any room to criticize.
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Old September 4th, 2013, 08:56 PM   #9
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I have read several of her books, and found that for me it is really hit or miss. I liked "The Boleyn Inheritance", but several of her other books really did not appeal to me.

By the same token, I can't judge too harshly... I think that any historical fiction that can appeal to a wider audience is to be commended. The general public needs to develop a greater interest in both reading and history, and historical fiction is a good way to facilitate that. It may be less accurate in order to appeal to a broader audience. I can forgive that.
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Old September 4th, 2013, 11:30 PM   #10
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Philippa Gregory, as a historical novelist is fine. She writes fairly straightforwardly - her writing is what might be described as an easy read. A friend who likes her books regards them as 'page turners'. She has sold a lot of books so therefore has a good and loyal readership.

The problem for me is that she is described in the media as 'historian'. Therefore many readers think what she comes up with in her books is actually firmly rooted in historical fact when it is not. She also seems to have a thing about incest as this is a frequent theme in her 'historical' novels, however unlikely in fact.

Some historical novelists who do similar things produce an appendix at the end showing clearly what is based on fact and what is the product of the writer's imagination. Perhaps if PG did that, it might help stem the growing flood of people who seem to think she writes historical truth.

I see that the BBC has been stung by all the criticism of The White Queen and has cancelled a proposed second series.........Perhaps that decision may make her review her approach to history before she takes another set of real people and turns them into serial practitioners of incest too!
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