On Features of “Historiographic Metafiction” Displayed in The Constant Princess毕业论文
1. Introduction 1
2. Demonstration 3
2.1 Rewriting of Catherine of Aragon: Historical Events or Fictional Plots? 3
2.1.1 Historical Events based on the experiences of Queen Catherine 3
2.1.2 Fictional Plots in The Constant Princess 4
18.104.22.168 Marriage of Catherine and her first husband Arthur 4
22.214.171.124 Catherine’s struggle to become the queen of Henry VIII 7
2.2 Reconstruction of a new Catherine: A Real Queen or a Fictional Character? 8
2.2.1 Real Catherine: A dignified queen and a pious believer 8
2.2.2 Fictional Catherine: An adamant woman and a life controller 10
2.3 Invention of a new literary Genre: History or Fiction? 11
2.3.1 Parallel of the third-person narration and the first-person narration 11
2.3.2 Collage of letters, diaries and monologue 12
3. Conclusion 13
Works Cited 14
On Features of “Historiographic Metafiction”
Displayed in The Constant Princess
Phillipa Gregory, born in 1954, is an English historical novelist who started writing since 1987. Her masterpiece is The Other Boleyn Girl written in 2001, which won the “Romantic Novel of the Year Award” in 2002, and has been adapted into a very successful film acted by Scarlett Johansson and Natalie Portman. Her novels are set in several different historical periods of England, primarily the Tudor period and the 16th century.
The Constant Princess, published in 2005, is another important historical fiction written by Philippa Gregory. It depicts a highly fictionalized version of the life of Catherine of Aragon, princess of Spain, and describes her rise to power in England during the Tudor period. She is betrothed to Prince Arthur Tudor when she is still a little girl due to the negotiation between Spain and England. Initially, her marriage is cold and hostile, but later she and Arthur falls in love with each other and they spend a very happy period. Unfortunately, Arthur suddenly succumbs to the sweating sickness. Before he died, he makes Catherine promise to keep the pretense that they did not love each other and deny that they consummated their marriage, so she can marry his brother Prince Harry and become the queen of England to carry out their plans. Catherine finally keeps her promise and succeeds in marrying Harry and later becomes the queen, but her failure to have a son and the doubt about her virgin make Harry (Henry VIII) begin to find mistresses. Anne Boleyn, the most ambitious one, is trying to depose her as queen. While Catherine vows to keep her promise to Arthur and proudly decides to fight for her only daughter Mary, named after the child Arthur wanted, for her right as the queen.
Based on the historical events and the historical figure narrated in Catherine of Aragon Written by Giles Tremlett, Phillipa makes some fictional inventions about Catherine’s life experiences. And that feature corresponds to a term coined by a Canadian literary theorist Linda Hutcheon in the late 1980s —-“historiographic metafiction”. It refers to works which are distinguished by frequent allusions to other artistic, historical and literary texts to show the extent to which works of both literary and historiography are dependent on the history of discourse. Therefore, making a combination of the historical events and fictional inventions is a typical feature of “historiographic metafiction”.