Folger Institute


Programs, 2010-2011

Reassessing Henry VIII

Fall Workshop

The year 2009 saw numerous exhibitions in Britain and the United States commemorate the five-hundredth anniversary of Henry VIII’s accession to the English throne. Henry has long been one of the most famous kings of England, but he and his reign are currently experiencing a new level of public awareness (especially in the U.S.) thanks to recent popular novels and "The Tudors" television series. However, does the current public celebrity attached to Henry VIII obscure the actual historical significance of the king and his reign? What, indeed, is this historical significance? This workshop draws upon the fruits of 2009 and other recent work to take a fresh look at Henry VIII from a scholarly perspective. It seeks to reassess our understanding of Henry VIII in the light of new scholarship and to explore possible directions for future research. Key themes of the workshop will include important new work on the material culture of Henry’s reign (especially artworks and dress), new perspectives on the Henrician Reformation, biographical studies of the king himself, and the impact on scholarship and teaching of modern media images of Henry and his royal court. Several dozen scholars with research projects relevant to these themes will be admitted.

This workshop, sponsored by the Center for Shakespeare Studies, is scheduled in conjunction with two Folger events: the production of The Famous History of the Life of King Henry VIII and the exhibition Vivat Rex! Commemorating the 500th Anniversary of the Accession of Henry VIII.

Organizers: Paul E. J. Hammer (University of Colorado at Boulder) and Kathleen Lynch (Folger Institute).

Speakers: Thomas P. Campbell (Metropolitan Museum of Art) will deliver the keynote address. Invited session leaders include Susan Bordo (University of Kentucky), Susan Doran (Jesus College, Oxford), T.S. Freeman (Cambridge University), Steven Gunn (Merton College, Oxford), Maria Hayward (University of Southampton), Christopher Highley (The Ohio State University), Peter Marshall (University of Warwick), Barbara Mowat (Folger Shakespeare Library), Tania String (University of Bristol), and Susan Wabuda (Fordham University).

Schedule: Friday evening and all day Saturday, 5 and 6 November 2010.

Apply: 3 September 2010 for admission and grants-in-aid. A $75 fee is payable by all. It covers a discounted ticket to the Saturday evening performance. It also contributes to an opening reception on Friday and hospitality on Saturday.

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