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Frocks and Shocks

Hilary Mantel: Jane Boleyn, 24 April 2008

Jane Boleyn: The Infamous Lady Rochford 
by Julia Fox.
Phoenix, 398 pp., £9.99, March 2008, 978 0 7538 2386 6
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... from bloody exit to obscure entrance, and Jane’s is one of them. She was beheaded in 1542, with Henry VIII’s fifth queen, Catherine Howard. She was one of Catherine’s ladies, and for reasons which remain inaccessible to us, she had helped the dizzy little person carry on a love affair with a courtier, ...

Scarisbrick’s Bomb

Peter Gwyn, 20 December 1984

Reformation and Revolution 1558-1660 
by Robert Ashton.
Granada, 503 pp., £18, February 1984, 0 246 10666 2
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The Reformation and the English People 
by J.J. Scarisbrick.
Blackwell, 203 pp., £14.50, March 1984, 0 631 13424 7
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... to him. James I in particular is not a favourite of his. Unlike Elizabeth, James relished Lord Henry Howard’s ‘unctuous brand of flattery’. He also had a penchant for beautiful young men. Ashton makes no moral judgment about their gender, but he is very critical of the fact that, unlike Elizabeth, who also had male favourites, James allowed his to ...

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 ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Not by Henry James, 23 September 2004

... down the maiden’s cheek, and fell upon the faded chintz. You guessed it. Who could it be but Henry James? There would be no shame in your not recognising this as James’s work, however: it has languished in peaceful obscurity for more than 140 years, only now to have its authorship revealed by Floyd Horowitz, recently retired from the English department ...

Pious Girls and Swearing Fathers

Patricia Craig, 1 June 1989

English Children and their Magazines 1751-1945 
by Kirsten Drotner.
Yale, 272 pp., £16.95, January 1988, 0 300 04010 5
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Frank Richards: The Chap behind the Chums 
by Mary Cadogan.
Viking, 258 pp., £14.95, October 1988, 0 670 81946 8
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A History of Children’s Book Illustration 
by Joyce Irene Whalley and Tessa Rose Chester.
Murray/Victoria and Albert Museum, 268 pp., £35, April 1988, 0 7195 4584 6
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Manchester Polytechnic Library of Children’s Books 1840-1939: ‘From Morality to Adventure’ 
by W.H. Shercliff.
Bracken Books/Studio Editions, 203 pp., £25, September 1988, 0 901276 18 9
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Children’s Modern First Editions: Their Value to Collectors 
by Joseph Connolly.
Macdonald, 336 pp., £17.95, October 1988, 0 356 15741 5
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... distinctive Gladys Peto; Robert Lawson is here but not Lawson Wood; A.E. Bestall (briefly) but not Thomas Henry. In compiling the book – which is, in fact, very nearly comprehensive – the authors have drawn on the holdings of the Victoria and Albert Museum, in particular the Guy Little Collection in the National Art Library and the Renier Collection ...

He fights with flashing weapons

Katherine Rundell: Thomas Wyatt, 6 December 2012

Thomas Wyatt: The Heart’s Forest 
by Susan Brigden.
Faber, 714 pp., £30, September 2012, 978 0 571 23584 1
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Graven with Diamonds: The Many Lives of Thomas Wyatt: Courtier, Poet, Assassin, Spy 
by Nicola Shulman.
Short Books, 378 pp., £20, April 2011, 978 1 906021 11 5
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... would not see up her skirt. It was a gesture at once gracious and gruesome, and the verse that Sir Thomas Wyatt (probably) wrote on the occasion from the Tower of London is equally dark (‘circa Regna tonat’ means ‘it thunders around the throne’): The bell towre showid me suche syght That in my head stekys day and nyght There dyd I lerne out of A grate ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: How to Type like a Man, 10 May 2007

... In The Iron Whim: A Fragmented History of Typewriting (Cornell, £15.95), Darren Wershler-Henry describes the typewriter as ‘the symbol of a non-existent sepia-toned era when people typed passionately late into the night under the flickering light of a single naked bulb, sleeves rolled up … lighting each new cigarette off the smouldering butt of ...

A Conversation with Gore Vidal

Thomas Powers: Meeting Gore Vidal, 31 July 2014

... led inevitably to a much larger subject: had Edel deliberately suppressed important evidence that Henry James was a homosexual, and if so, why? A complicated story. It happened that Vidal had information on this subject: both Stephen Spender and John Lehmann had been told by Hugh Walpole – in identical words, apparently – of an occasion mentioned by ...

What Marlowe would have wanted

Charles Nicholl, 26 November 1987

Faustus and the Censor 
by William Empson, edited by John Henry Jones.
Blackwell, 226 pp., £17.50, September 1987, 0 631 15675 5
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... and early 1590s, the so-called ‘pre-Shakespearean’ period. Not a single play by the sonneteer Thomas Watson remains, though he was described in 1592 as one whose ‘daily practyse and living’ was writing for the theatre. Thomas Nashe certainly wrote for the public playhouses in the early 1590s – his friend Greene ...

La Bolaing

Patrick Collinson: Anne Boleyn, 18 November 2004

The Life and Death of Anne Boleyn 
by Eric Ives.
Blackwell, 458 pp., £25, July 2004, 0 631 23479 9
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... where they do things differently, we may well ask whether we are abroad if we visit the England of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. In September 1528, Henry wrote to Anne: ‘No more to you at this present, mine own darling, for lack of time, but that I would you were in mine arms or I in yours, for I think it long since I kissed ...

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 2020, 978 0 00 748099 9
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... moves​ in a mysterious way. Wolf Hall, the first instalment of Hilary Mantel’s trilogy about Thomas Cromwell, appeared more than a decade ago. Its 650 pages covered the years from roughly 1500 to 1535. Three years later came Bring Up the Bodies, which in 410 pages created a tight tragic narrative about Cromwell’s part in the fall of Anne Boleyn over ...

Cough up

Thomas Keymer: Henry Fielding, 20 November 2008

Plays: Vol. II, 1731-34 
by Henry Fielding, edited by Thomas Lockwood.
Oxford, 865 pp., £150, October 2007, 978 0 19 925790 4
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‘The Journal of a Voyage to Lisbon’, ‘Shamela’ and ‘Occasional Writings’ 
by Henry Fielding, edited by Martin Battestin, with Sheridan Baker and Hugh Amory.
Oxford, 804 pp., £150
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... nowhere more than in the comedies and farces of the 1730s, eight of which appear in this volume of Thomas Lockwood’s edition of Fielding’s drama. A third and final volume of plays is in preparation, and will complete the Wesleyan Edition of the Works of Henry Fielding – a heroic project, begun in the 1960s, which has ...

Close Shaves

Gerald Hammond, 31 October 1996

Thomas Cranmer: A Life 
by Diarmaid MacCulloch.
Yale, 692 pp., £29.95, May 1996, 0 300 06688 0
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... the piece which completes the jigsaw, putting at the centre of the first half of the 16th century Thomas Cranmer, the archbishop with the beard who created the Church of England. Cranmer’s beard dominates the cover. Instead of the familiar Flicke portrait of a clean-shaven prelate, MacCulloch or his editor (I’d bet it was MacCulloch’s choice) has ...

At Manchester Art Gallery

Inigo Thomas: Annie Swynnerton, 27 September 2018

... A portrait​ of Henry James hangs in the Strangers’ Dining Room at the Reform Club. The picture was acquired in 2008, and is on the same red wall as portraits of Dickens and Thackeray. James is seated and sunlight falls on the left temple of his semi-bald head – he’s in his late sixties – and he looks up, distracted, as if someone had just entered the room ...

Tolerant Repression

Blair Worden, 10 May 1990

Thomas Starkey and the Commonweal 
by Tom Mayer.
Cambridge, 326 pp., £32.50, April 1989, 0 521 36104 4
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Politics and Literature in the Reigns of Henry VII and Henry VIII 
by Alistair Fox.
Blackwell, 317 pp., £35, September 1989, 0 631 13566 9
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The Rise and Fall of Anne Boleyn: Family Portraits at the Court of Henry VIII 
by Retha Warnicke.
Cambridge, 326 pp., £14.95, November 1989, 0 521 37000 0
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English Travellers Abroad 1604-1667 
by John Stoye.
Yale, 448 pp., £12.95, January 1990, 0 300 04180 2
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... that trend cannot yet be judged, it is likely to gather strength from the important books in which Thomas Mayer and Alistair Fox examine the literature and politics of early Tudor England, especially of the reign of Henry VIII. Mayer’s concern is the literature of political theory. His study examines the ideas of ...

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