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Did Lady Brewster faint?

Eric Korn, 24 April 1997

Huxley: Evolution’s High Priest 
by Adrian Desmond.
Joseph, 372 pp., £20, March 1997, 0 7181 3882 1
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... we knew his story as we knew the life of Nelson or St George. There was no such moving image for Thomas Henry Huxley, Darwin’s bulldog (or Rottweiler) as there is not for Nelson’s Hardy or St George’s horse; the acts of the chief apostle are not celebrated. We know Huxley as a photograph or a cartoon: heavy-jawed and self-confident, or already ...

Desmondism

John Sutherland, 23 March 1995

Huxley: The Devil’s Disciple 
by Adrian Desmond.
Joseph, 474 pp., £20, November 1994, 0 7181 3641 1
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... presents for the would-be popular biographer is evident in his entry in the Concise DNB: Huxley, Thomas Henry (1825-1895), man of science; studied at Charing Cross Hospital; announced, 1845, discovery of the layer of cells in root sheath of hair which now bears his name; MB London, 1845; made assistant surgeon on HMS Rattlesnake 1846-50, investigations ...

Netherstocking

E.S. Turner, 1 December 1983

Just William, More William, William Again, William the Fourth 
by Richmal Crompton and Thomas Henry.
Macmillan, 215 pp., £5.95, October 1983, 0 333 35848 1
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... is no surprise that, on giving an undertaking to reform, he insists on a last fling of wickedness. Thomas Henry’s illustrations – mostly from the Thirties, but no great matter – are always delightful; he can even make us enjoy a picture of a pretty girl being pelted by young thugs with potatoes, onions and ham ...

Holy Terrors

Penelope Fitzgerald, 4 December 1986

‘Elizabeth’: The Author of ‘Elizabeth and her German Garden’ 
by Karen Usborne.
Bodley Head, 341 pp., £15, October 1986, 0 370 30887 5
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Alison Uttley: The Life of a Country Child 
by Denis Judd.
Joseph, 264 pp., £15.95, October 1986, 0 7181 2449 9
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Richmal Crompton: The Woman behind William 
by Mary Cadogan.
Allen and Unwin, 169 pp., £12.95, October 1986, 0 04 928054 6
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... in America. William rapidly established himself, so firmly that Richmal’s loyal illustrator, Thomas Henry Fisher, was trusted to carry on the strip version for Woman’s Own by himself. He died, in fact, while working on a William drawing. And Richmal, who was a very intelligent woman, became, after an early attempt to get rid of her ...

A Very Active Captain

Patrick Collinson: Henricentrism, 22 June 2006

The King’s Reformation: Henry VIII and the Remaking of the English Church 
by G.W. Bernard.
Yale, 736 pp., £29.95, November 2005, 0 300 10908 3
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Writing under Tyranny: English Literature and the Henrician Reformation 
by Greg Walker.
Oxford, 556 pp., £65, October 2005, 0 19 928333 8
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... Henry VIII is the most immediately recognisable of all English monarchs, present company excepted. He has been declared a national icon, and we are told that he vies with Adolf Hitler for the exclusive attention of any secondary school pupil unwise enough to pursue the study of history beyond the age of 14. On my way to lecture on him in Cambridge once, I left my bike for repair at Ben Hayward’s cycle shop, happening to mention that Henry was on the menu that morning ...

False Brought up of Nought

Thomas Penn: Henry VII’s Men on the Make, 27 July 2017

Henry VII’s New Men and the Making of Tudor England 
by Steven Gunn.
Oxford, 393 pp., £60, August 2016, 978 0 19 965983 8
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... In a dawn raid​ on 24 April 1509, troops reporting to England’s new king, the 17-year-old Henry VIII, arrested two of his late father’s closest councillors and took them to the Tower of London. Three days earlier, Henry VII, the first Tudor king, had died aged 52, in his privy chamber at Richmond Palace ...

How to Be Tudor

Hilary Mantel: Can a King Have Friends?, 17 March 2016

Charles Brandon: Henry VIII’s Closest Friend 
by Steven Gunn.
Amberley, 304 pp., £20, October 2015, 978 1 4456 4184 3
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... On​ their West Country progress in the summer of 1535, Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn visited Thornbury Castle near Bristol. Thornbury is an upmarket hotel now, a popular choice for guests working through their bucket list. Now that every narrative is a ‘journey’, TripAdvisor is an illuminating guide to what people expect when they go in search of the past ...

Not Biographable

Patrick Collinson: The Faithful Thomas Cromwell, 29 November 2007

Thomas Cromwell: The Rise and Fall of Henry VIII’s Most Notorious Minister 
by Robert Hutchinson.
Weidenfeld, 360 pp., £20, February 2007, 978 0 297 84642 0
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... Bering Straits. In the dozen or so years since the death of Geoffrey Elton, the Tudor statesman Thomas Cromwell, Henry VIII’s prime minister and plenipotentiary, has been similarly airbrushed out of history. Elton, as anyone who did the Tudors for A Levels or read history at Cambridge between 1950 and 1980 knows, made ...

A Man It Would Be Unwise to Cross

Stephen Alford: Thomas Cromwell, 8 November 2018

Thomas Cromwell: A Life 
by Diarmaid MacCulloch.
Allen Lane, 752 pp., £30, September 2018, 978 1 84614 429 5
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... worthless racket. Our Lady’s Gild threw its considerable resources at the case. It appealed to Thomas Wolsey, Henry VIII’s indispensable right hand: cardinal, archbishop, lord chancellor, Wolsey was a formidable broker of power. And it also bought the services of a clever (and therefore expensive) attorney. This was ...

Jousting for Peace

Thomas Penn: Henry VIII meets Francis I, 17 July 2014

The Field of Cloth of Gold 
by Glenn Richardson.
Yale, 288 pp., £35, November 2013, 978 0 300 14886 2
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... Trying​ to describe the spectacular summit meeting between Henry VIII and Francis I which took place in June 1520, contemporaries fell into a kind of stupor. It was the eighth wonder of the world, said one. Another thought the temporary palaces – erected at staggering expense for the sole purpose of a fortnight’s worth of jousts and junketing – outdid the ‘miracles of the Egyptian pyramids and the Roman amphitheatres ...

A Life of Henry Reed

Jon Stallworthy, 12 September 1991

... poet. The publication of his collected poems will give the lie to that gross misperception. Henry Reed was born, in Birmingham, on 22 February 1914 and named after his father, a master bricklayer and foreman in charge of forcing at Nocks’ Brickworks. Henry senior was nothing if not forceful, a serious drinker and ...

Britten when young

Frank Kermode, 29 August 1991

Letters from a Life: The Selected Letters and Diaries of Benjamin Britten Vol. I 1923-39, Vol. II 1939-45 
edited by Donald Mitchell and Philip Reed.
Faber, 1403 pp., £75, June 1991, 9780571152216
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... he was 17, Britten went to church in Lowestoft and heard ‘quite a fine sermon’ by the Rev. Thomas Henry Stanley, who was standing in for the incumbent, the Rev. William Reeve. Reeve was away – in case you care, he was in Blankenberghe, Belgium. On August Bank Holiday in that year Britten went to see a show with Paul Robeson in it; a supporting ...

On your way, phantom

Colin Burrow: ‘Bring Up the Bodies’, 7 June 2012

Bring Up the Bodies 
by Hilary Mantel.
Fourth Estate, 411 pp., £20, May 2012, 978 0 00 731509 3
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... Its predecessor, Wolf Hall, the first part of what will be a trilogy of novels about the life of Thomas Cromwell, carried the burden of beginning and perhaps also of containing too much history.* In it Thomas Cromwell frees Henry VIII from his marriage to Katherine of Aragon, engineers ...

Soldier, Saint

Stuart Airlie, 19 February 1987

William Marshal: The Flower of Chivalry 
by Georges Duby, translated by Richard Howard.
Faber, 156 pp., £9.95, August 1986, 0 571 13745 8
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Thomas Becket 
by Frank Barlow.
Weidenfeld, 334 pp., £14.95, July 1986, 0 297 78908 2
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... world is from our own as we see William slip out of it. As Regent of England for the 12-year-old Henry III, William is a public figure, an officer of state and a great baron: his death is therefore a public event, and is slowly, achingly performed over two months; it is a ‘festivity’, a ‘sumptuous death’. In front of the great barons of the ...

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