This new edition of Lucy Wooding’s Henry VIII is fully revised and updated to provide an insightful and original portrait of one of England’s most unforgettable monarchs and the many paradoxes of his character and reign. Henry was a Renaissance prince whose Court dazzled with artistic display, yet he was also a savage adversary, who ruthlessly crushed all those who opposed him. Five centuries after his reign, he continues to fascinate, always evading easy characterization. Wooding locates Henry VIII firmly in the context of the English Renaissance and the fierce currents of religious change that characterized the early Reformation, as well as exploring the historiographical debates that have surrounded him and his reign. This new edition takes into account significant advances in recent research, particularly following the five hundredth anniversary of his accession in 2009, to put forward a distinctive interpretation of Henry’s personality and remarkable style of kingship.
It gives a fresh portrayal of Henry VIII, cutting away the misleading mythology that surrounds him in order to provide a vivid account of this passionate, wilful, intelligent and destructive king. This compelling biography will be essential reading for all early modern students.
Table of Contents
List of Plates Acknowledgements Chronology Abbreviations Introduction 1. The education of a Christian Prince, 1491-1509 2. The foundations of kingship, 1509-1518 3. The lure of empire, 1518-1527 4. Dynasty and Supremacy, 1527-1533 5. The godly prince, 1533-1539 6. The closing years, 1539-1547 7. The legacy of Henry VIII Notes Suggestions for Further Reading Index
Lucy Wooding is Senior Lecturer in early modern history at King’s College, London. She is the author of Rethinking Catholicism in Reformation England.
Praise of this edition:
The best general biography of Henry VIII in nearly half a century: comprehensive in coverage, judicious in analysis, and pleasurable to read. - Peter Marshall, University of Warwick, UK
An excellent book that is up-to-date and wide-ranging, from policy-making and faction to visual display and material culture. It is packed with illuminating evidence and orientates the reader effectively through the complex historiographical debates. Dr Wooding provides a well-balanced biography of Henry, paying as much attention to his early years as to the 1530s and 1540s. Essential reading for students and other scholars. - Natalie Mears, Durham University, UK
Praise of the first edition:
As a primer in the key developments and personalities of the period … the book works excellently. As well as providing a reliable, conventional narrative … there are useful digressions into everything from Tudor food to Tudor climate. Most winningly of all, the book recognises that the central interpretative challenge for anyone writing about Henry is to explain how he mutated from a learned, attractive, doted-upon young king into someone regarded by many of his subjects - and many modern historians - as little more than a tyrant… – The Tablet
Lucy Wooding’s readable one-volume study comprehensively updates J.J. Scarisbrick’s classic 1968 biography and deftly charts a middle way through ongoing controversies. Unlike some other discussions of the king, it gives due weight to the years 1509-1525. – History Review
Lucy Wooding covers the whole reign, necessarily drawing on others’ work, expounding and reviewing it in a way that students will greet with joy. A long afternoon in the company of her book, deftly used, will give them an air of easy familiarity with the great debates of the past few decades … She takes her own line at every point, formulates her judgments in fluent and pointed prose, and illustrates her case liberally with quotations from chronicles, letters and formularies of faith. – Times Literary Supplement
As the 500th anniversary of Henry VIII's accession looms, a superabundance of judgments - scholarly and otherwise - on the king's life and times will bombard readers. This new offering in the Routledge Historical Biography series, however, is a most welcome addition to Henrician studies. – D.R. Bisson, Belmont University, CHOICE, Vol. 46, No. 11, July 2009
The author does a wonderful job of telling a gripping story that also gives a sense of the complexity of the reign and the period … Readers will be well instructed about a very significant period of English history—and they will be entertained as well. – Anne McLaren, University of Liverpool, UK