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Peter Burke

15 October 1987
Patronage, Art and Society in Renaissance Italy 
edited by F.W. Kent and Patricia Simons.
Oxford/Humanities Research Centre, 331 pp., £35, June 1987, 0 19 821978 4
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Pienza: The Creation of a Renaissance City 
by Charles Mack.
Cornell, 250 pp., $43.95, June 1987, 9780801416996
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Piety and Patronage in Renaissance Venice: Bellini, Titian and the Franciscans 
by Rona Goffen.
Yale, 285 pp., £30, July 1986, 0 300 03455 5
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Venetian Humanism in an Age of Patrician Dominance 
by Margaret King.
Princeton, 524 pp., £42.90, April 1986, 0 691 05465 7
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The Venetian Patriciate: Reality versus Myth 
by Donald Queller.
Illinois, 386 pp., $29.95, September 1986, 0 252 01144 9
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Tradesman and Traders: The World of the Guilds in Venice and Europe, c.1250-c.1650 
by Richard MacKenney.
Croom Helm, 289 pp., £35, January 1987, 0 7099 1763 5
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Florence, Rome and the Origins of the Renaissance 
by George Holmes.
Oxford, 273 pp., £25, November 1986, 0 19 822576 8
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From Humanism to the Humanities: Education and the Liberal Arts in 15th and 6th-Century Europe 
by Anthony Grafton and Lisa Jardine.
Duckworth, 224 pp., £29.95, January 1987, 0 7156 2100 9
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Renaissance and Revolt: Essays in the Intellectual and Social History of Early Modern France 
by J.H.M. Salmon.
Cambridge, 306 pp., £30, June 1987, 0 521 32769 5
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... a book focused on England: Patronage in the Renaissance, edited by Guy Lytle and Stephen Orgel. Taking their cue from Lytle and Orgel, F.W. Kent and Patricia Simons have turned the proceedings of a conference held in Melbourne in 1983 into a valuable volume of essays on patronage in Renaissance Italy. What is particularly interesting about both collections is ...

Watch your tongue

Marina Warner

20 August 1992
Medieval Misogyny and the Invention of Western Romantic Love 
by Howard Bloch.
Chicago, 308 pp., £14.95, February 1992, 0 226 05973 1
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Women of the Renaissance 
by Margaret King.
Chicago, 328 pp., £13.50, December 1991, 0 226 43618 7
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The Lady as Saint: A Collection of French Hagiographical Romances of the 13th Century 
by Brigitte Cazelles.
Pennsylvania, 320 pp., £35, November 1991, 9780812230994
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Heavenly Supper: The Story of Maria Janis 
by Fulvio Tomizza, translated by Anne Jacobson Shutte.
Chicago, 184 pp., £19.95, December 1991, 0 226 80789 4
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Oppositional Voices: Women as Writers and Translators of Literature in the English Renaissance 
by Tina Krontiris.
Routledge, 192 pp., £25, April 1992, 0 415 06329 9
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...  ...

How do we know her?

Hilary Mantel: The Secrets of Margaret Pole

2 February 2017
Margaret Pole: The Countess in the Tower 
by Susan Higginbotham.
Amberley, 214 pp., £16.99, August 2016, 978 1 4456 3594 1
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... offers a grey-white face, long, guarded, medieval, remote: ‘unknown woman, formerly known as Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury’. It is painted on a dateable oak panel, and the dates suit the presumed subject, but the artist is anonymous. Where is Hans Holbein when you need him? The sitter might as well be carved, for all she suggests flesh or ...

How to be a queen

David Carpenter: She-Wolves

15 December 2011
She-Wolves: The Women Who Ruled England before Elizabeth 
by Helen Castor.
Faber, 474 pp., £9.99, July 2011, 978 0 571 23706 7
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... four women who ‘ruled England before Elizabeth’. The first of them, Matilda, the daughter of King Henry I, fought for the throne against King Stephen, aspiring to make herself queen-regnant. The other three were all queen-consorts: Eleanor of Aquitaine, who rebelled against her husband, Henry II; Isabella of ...

The Trouble with HRH

Christopher Hitchens

5 June 1997
Princess MargaretA Biography 
by Theo Aronson.
O’Mara, 336 pp., £16.99, February 1997, 1 85479 248 2
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... in ‘daylight upon magic’. But the damn phrase is inescapable. The fascination of Princess Margaret, I suspect, is that she was the forerunner of the public, vulgar Windsor style: now such a drag but then such a sensation. If you were a commoner of average social mobility in London in the Sixties, Seventies and Eighties, there was a better than average ...

Crowing

Michael Rogin

5 September 1996
Imagineering Atlanta 
by Charles Rutheiser.
Verso, 324 pp., £44.95, July 1996, 1 85984 800 1
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... Only Americans – Dennis Mitchell after winning a 100-metres heat and Michael Johnson after taking the 200-metre gold – puffed out their chests and pulled their jerseys to display the national emblem. Only Americans accused an Irish swimmer of using drugs when she won the Olympic gold. Only an eliminated American boxer, Fernando Vargas, would not have ...

Earls’ Sons

E.S. Turner

20 October 1983
The Man who was Greenmantle: A Biography of Aubrey Herbert 
by Margaret FitzHerbert.
Murray, 250 pp., £15, September 1983, 0 7195 4067 4
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A Classic Connection 
by Michael Seth-Smith.
Secker, 184 pp., £9.95, September 1983, 0 436 44705 3
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... be with you, Balliol men!’ Was Aubrey Herbert, this human plum, ever ripe enough to be king of Albania, a country which twice offered him the throne? After finishing Margaret FitzHerbert’s excellent book the reader may be in two minds; at least King Aubrey would have wielded ...

Charm with Menaces

Colin Burrow: ‘The Mirror and the Light’

19 March 2020
The Mirror and the Light 
by Hilary Mantel.
Fourth Estate, 883 pp., £25, March, 978 0 00 748099 9
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... and turns against the architect of the match, Thomas Cromwell, who is beheaded on the very day his king marries Katherine Howard, niece of Cromwell’s arch-enemy the reactionary Duke of Norfolk (who in Mantel’s version resembles an ungenial version of Sir Ector in T.H. White’s Sword in the Stone). As Thomas Boleyn, Anne’s father, puts it in The Mirror ...

Into Your Enemy’s Stomach

Alexander Murray: Louis IX

8 April 2010
Saint Louis 
by Jacques Le Goff, translated by Gareth Evan Gollrad.
Notre Dame, 947 pp., £61.95, February 2009, 978 0 268 03381 1
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... forebears answered it by simply declaring some people to be ‘saints’. An early medieval king remembered as a saint was nearly always one who had either opted out of active kingship to lead a private life of exemplary piety while others did the dirty work, or one who had been killed in a Christian cause. An example ...

It’s Mummie

Jenny Diski

16 December 1993
TheLittle Princesses 
by Marion Crawford, introduced by A.N. Wilson.
Duckworth, 128 pp., £14.99, November 1993, 0 7156 2497 0
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... says A.N. Wilson, stilting his prose in deference to the text he’s introducing. He’s speaking of the deluge of intimacies we can expect these days in the press about the Royal Family. The ‘mystique of kingship’, Wilson explains, was restored in the late Thirties by George VI and Elizabeth, who, even before they ...

Done for the State

John Guy: The House of York

2 April 2020
The Brothers York: An English Tragedy 
by Thomas Penn.
Penguin, 688 pp., £12.99, April, 978 0 7181 9728 5
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Richard III: The Self-Made King 
by Michael Hicks.
Yale, 388 pp., £25, October 2019, 978 0 300 21429 1
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... a blizzard on Palm Sunday, he took the throne from the weak, ineffectual Henry VI and was crowned King Edward IV.Usurpers were plentiful in the 15th century. Edward’s claim was by lineal descent from Edward III, and was a strong one if you ignored the deposition of Richard II in 1399. In the mid-1450s, Richard, Duke of York, Edward’s father and ...

All hail, sage lady

Andrew O’Hagan: ‘The Crown’

15 December 2016
... series, The Crown, William offered only one word. ‘Legend,’ he said, as if they were talking about Dolly Parton. And that is the way the boys view their grandfather, as a one-off, a classic exemplar, rather than the mythic, intransigent beast of agonised loyalty known to their father. The Duke of Edinburgh becomes a wayward soul as The Crown ...
4 August 1988
Elizabeth Barrett Browning 
by Margaret Forster.
Chatto, 400 pp., £14.95, June 1988, 0 7011 3018 0
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Selected Poems of Elizabeth Barrett Browning 
by Margaret Forster.
Chatto, 330 pp., £12.95, June 1988, 0 7011 3311 2
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The Poetical Works of Robert Browning: Vol. III 
edited by Ian Jack and Rowena Fowler.
Oxford, 542 pp., £60, June 1988, 0 19 812762 6
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The Complete Works of Robert Browning: Vol. VIII 
edited by Roma King and Susan Crowl.
Ohio/Baylor University, 379 pp., £47.50, September 1988, 9780821403808
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... Byron is the prototype of the first, Wordsworth of the second. The great Goethe was, in his time, king and emperor of both, and highly revered for it. In love with their fates, condemned by these to some suitable agony, the dramatisers had a more spectacular but more painful time of it than those whom Keats rather unfairly refers to as ‘large ...

Still Defending the Scots

Katie Stevenson: Robert the Bruce

10 September 2014
Robert the Bruce: King of the Scots 
by Michael Penman.
Yale, 443 pp., £25, June 2014, 978 0 300 14872 5
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... III in 1286 without surviving issue and the subsequent death in 1290 of his young granddaughter, Margaret, Maid of Norway, while she was being brought to Scotland, left no clear heir and the kingdom plummeted into political turmoil. The main competitors for the throne in the ensuing Great Cause (overseen by Edward I of ...

The King and I

Alan Bennett

30 January 1992
... the 19th century to task for writing history with one eye on the future, and in particular for taking as the only path through the past the development of democratic institutions. On the Whig interpretation, historical characters got a tick if they were on the side of liberty (Cromwell, Chatham), a cross (Charles I, James II) if they held up the march of ...

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