Degree Name

MA (Master of Arts)



Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Josh Reid

Committee Members

John Rankin, Judith Slagle


Henry VIII (28 June 1491 – 28 January 1547) served as King of England from 1509 until his death in 1547. A melancholic character, Henry was known for his many marriages, his temper, his bouts of tyranny, and his break with the Catholic Church. Most authors, even those writing contemporary accounts, portray Henry as a villain. Hilary Mantel paints Henry differently. In Wolf Hall and Bringing up the Bodies, the King is as he has always been; argumentative, sardonic, and excessive. However, Mantel chooses to augment these parts of his character with some of his better traits, giving the King a softer edge that is often lost to his actions and infamy. An analysis of Mantel’s writing, as compared to the historical record, sheds new light on Henry VIII and invites readers, through the joy of historical fiction, to be more open in their interpretation of the King.

Document Type

Dissertation - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.