Geek. Scholar. Advocate.
Technically, the approach is not so much biographical as much as New Historicist, a method which insists on the history of texts and the textuality of history. This approach has been around for a while, in which scholars try to 'recover' histories via the text, and then arrange for parallel historical events to find out if there is a textual element in these.
Hmmm, so it looked plausible enough to be an attempt by some historians to re-interpret historical personalities to you? For a while, I had thought they were serious, but after reading it several times, it started to sound like one of those Apr 1st jokes (given I was aware of these pranks going on worldwide). I should go check on the BBC to see if this was one of them. Like they say ... truth is sometimes stranger than fiction.
I wouldn't be surprised if it was for real actually. You can actually use texts of that period in the sixteenth century to talk about the Irish potato famine and its effects on literary writers' portrayals of the governments' ways of handling power and the people. New Historicism, as the title of that school of thought goes though, is technically not real historicism or history in literary studies, and actually tends to be rather ideological in many senses--often either to expose the workings of a particular class in society or the reactions of the underbelly in society to it(its flipside is Cultural Materialism).
That's kinda why I'm curious. It is plausible, even highly so. I wouldn't get annoyed if I find out either way :).
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