Romancing the Regency: Bridgerton, Romance & History

Travel back to Regency England (1811-1820) as we use the popular Netflix series, Bridgerton, to discuss everything from fashion and monarchy to issues of race, class, and gender in the early nineteenth century.

Based on the first of a series of historical romance novels by Julia Quinn, Bridgerton has been viewed by over 80 million households. This genre of fiction has long been subjected to intense scrutiny: directed primarily to a female audience, historical romance novels and their TV/film adaptations are often accused of being “fluff” or inaccurate representations of history. This talk will counter those criticisms and suggest how a popular series like Bridgerton can “do history” and reflect our twenty-first-century interests and values.

Starting with an overview of the politics of the early nineteenth century, we will discuss the social mores and practices of the elite, the role of women across the classes, and masculinity and sport. We will also look at London as a major character in the series. The color-conscious casting will help us examine the racial politics of the era, and the much talked about racy scenes will help us understand the pleasures and perils of life in Regency England.

Dr. Julie Taddeo is a historian of Modern Britain with a focus on social and cultural history and pop culture. She frequently uses popular period drama television (Downton Abbey, Poldark, Outlander, and other series) to explore the history represented by these programs and how they connect to our lives today.

FREE! Registration is required. Please Note: This is a virtual program via Zoom. Participants will receive a link to the program via email upon completing registration.