Narrative Rhetoric in Representing the British Aristocracy: Julian Fellowes and Peter Morgan

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The essay aims at analyzing the different narrative and rhetorical approaches of two prominent British screenwriters to the representation of British aristocracy. The works by Julian Fellowes and by Peter Morgan offer the recent most popular contributions to the representation of British aristocratic life-style and values in contemporary mainstream culture. Besides the global success of their stories, a reason of interest for going deep into the way the two writers tackle the topic resides in their different political and ideological perspectives. On the one side, Fellowes’s depiction of aristocracy in his hit prime time TV drama Downton Abbey (ITV, 2010-2015) draws on the open conservative mindset of the author (“The BBC wouldn’t have done that… They are not happy with dramas that do not reflect their own political and philosophical viewpoint”). On the other side, portraying the Royal Family first in the film The Queen (2006), then in the TV series The Crown (Netflix, 2016), Morgan’s believes – opposite to Fellowes’ ones – were spurred (“it’s absolutely scandalous that they should still exist in an egalitarian society”). The aim of my analysis is twofold. First, to highlight how both Fellowes and Morgan had to control and balance the expression of their ideological credo so that their narrative wouldn’t be felt as “preachy”. Second, to identify which thematic solutions allowed them to make aristocracy (a topic generally felt as remote and distant) engaging for contemporary audiences.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe British Aristocracy in Popular Culture: Essays on 200 Years of Representations
EditorsS Michelucci, I. Duncan
Number of pages40
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Downton Abbey
  • Julian Fellowes
  • Peter Morgan
  • The Crown (TV series)
  • The Queen
  • narrative rhetoric


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