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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 ...

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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... 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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

Visitors! Danger!

Lorraine Daston: Charles Darwin, 8 May 2003

Charles Darwin. Vol. II: The Power of Place 
by Janet Browne.
Cape, 591 pp., £25, November 2002, 0 224 04212 2
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... Harriet Martineau (whom Charles and his sisters once feared might carry Erasmus off in marriage), Thomas and Jane Carlyle, George Eliot and G.H. Lewes. Cash and connections flowed through family channels, and it was the family, too, that could be relied on to nurse invalids, assist with experiments, edit manuscripts, write letters and keep importunate ...

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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... 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 ...

Viscount Lisle at Calais

G.R. Elton, 16 July 1981

The Lisle Letters 
edited by Muriel St Clare Byrne.
Chicago, 744 pp., £125, June 1981, 0 226 08801 4
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... In the reign of Henry VIII, when a man was arrested for treason (an arrest which, among the eminent, tended to be equal to a conviction, with the usual consequences), his papers were confiscated and disappeared into the royal archives in the Tower. Considering the number of people who suffered this fate, the amount of surviving material is distressingly small ...

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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... 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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

Malice! Malice!

Stephen Sedley: Thomas More’s Trial, 5 April 2012

Thomas More’s Trial by Jury 
edited by Henry Ansgar Kelly, Louis Karlin and Gerard Wegemer.
Boydell, 240 pp., £55, September 2011, 978 1 84383 629 2
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... Beatification, which finally came to Thomas More in 1886, and canonisation, which had to wait until 1935, were only the icing on the commemorative cake. He had had, both during his life and since, a deserved measure of admiration as a scholar, a lawyer, a writer and a politician; for there is much in Robert Bolt’s adulatory A Man for All Seasons which reflects what we know of More ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: What’s in a name?, 19 October 2000

... 18th-century landscape painter, who, had he been precociously litigious, could have tried to sue Henry Fielding for using his name without permission. There are no less than four limited companies called Thomas Jones, with or without sons and various parenthetical geographical locations. While de Bernières is just going ...

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