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It's a Matter of Perspective: History, Fiction and Narrative in ‘The Other Boleyn Girl’ by Philippa Gregory


  • Emma Lundholm

Summary, in English

This essay explores the relationship between ‘history’ and ‘fiction’ in Philippa Gregory’s historical novel The Other Boleyn Girl (2001). Taking a broadly New Historicist approach to that relationship, the essay examines how the fictional aspects of Gregory’s text are handled in relation to historical ‘fact’, how Gregory’s story illustrates the ways in which an historical novel can be used to address contemporary concerns, and how the choice of narrator plays a key role in both respects. Through close reading, the essay also describes feminist elements in Gregory’s text which are rooted in the thoughts and actions of the main character and it situates these elements in relation to critical literature suggesting that the historical novel, as a genre, has often provided women with a vehicle for protest. The essay concludes with an assessment of the uses of the historical novel as a pedagogic tool, drawing in particular on the experience of history teachers in Australia.


Publishing year




Document type

Student publication for Bachelor's degree


  • Languages and Literatures


  • Philippa Gregory
  • ‘The Other Boleyn Girl’
  • History and Fiction
  • Narratology
  • New Historicism


  • Birgitta Berglund (FD)