Henry VIII remains the most iconic and controversial of all English Kings. For over four-hundred years he has been lauded, reviled and mocked, but rarely ignored. In his many guises - model Renaissance prince, Defender of the Faith, rapacious plunderer of the Church, obese Bluebeard-- he has featured in numerous works of fact and faction, in books, magazines, paintings, theatre, film and television. Yet despite this perennial fascination with Henry the man and monarch, there has been little comprehensive exploration of his historiographic legacy. Therefore scholars will welcome this collection, which provides a systematic survey of Henry's reputation from his own age through to the present. Divided into three sections, the volume begins with an examination of Henry's reputation in the period between his death and the outbreak of the English Civil War, a time that was to create many of the tropes that would dominate his historical legacy. The second section deals with the further evolution of his reputation, from the Restoration to Edwardian era, a time when Catholic commentators and women writers began moving into the mainstream of English print culture. The final section covers the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, which witnessed an explosion of representations of Henry, both in print and on screen. Taken together these studies, by a distinguished group of international scholars, offer a lively and engaging overview of how Henry's reputation has been used, abused and manipulated in both academia and popular culture since the sixteenth century. They provide intriguing insights into how he has been reinvented at different times to reflect the cultural, political and religious demands of the moment; sometimes as hero, sometimes as villain, but always as an unmistakable and iconic figure in the historical landscape.
Table of Contents
Contents: Introduction: all is true - Henry VIII in and out of history, Thomas Betteridge and Thomas S. Freeman; Harry's peregrinations: an Italianate defence of Henry VIII, Brett Foster; From perfect prince to 'wise and pollitike' king: Henry VIII in Edward Hall's chronicle, Scott Lucas; 'It is perilous stryvinge withe princes': Henry VIII in works by Pole, Roper and Harpsfield, Carolyn Colbert; Hands defiled with blood: Henry VIII in Foxe's Book of Martyrs, Thomas S. Freeman; Fallen Prince and Pretender of the Faith: Henry VIII as seen by Sander and Persons, Victor Houliston; 'It is unpossible to draw his picture well who hath severall countenances': Lord Herbert of Cherbury and The Life and Reign of King Henry VIII, Christine Jackson; Henry VIII in history: Gilbert Burnet's History of the Reformation (v.1), 1679, Andrew Starkie; 'Unblushing falsehood': the Strickland sisters and the domestic history of Henry VIII, Judith M. Richards; Ford Madox Ford's Fifth Queen and the modernity of Henry VIII, Anthony Monta and Susannah Brietz Monta; The 'sexual everyman'? Maxwell Anderson's Henry VIII, Glenn Richardson; Drama king: the portrayal of Henry VIII in Robert Bolt's A Man for All Seasons, Ruth Ahnert; 'Anne taught him how to be cruel': Henry VIII in modern historical fiction, Megan L. Hickerson; Booby, baby or classical monster? Henry VIII in the writings of G.R. Elton and J.J. Scarisbrick, Dale Hoak; Through the eyes of a fool: Henry VIII and Margaret George’s 1986 novel The Autobiography of Henry VIII: With Notes by His Fool, Will Somers, Kristen Post Walton; Index.
Thomas Betteridge, Oxford Brookes University, UK and Thomas S. Freeman, University of Essex, UK
'This is an enjoyable and accessible, albeit serious and at times weighty, study.' New Directions 'Appealing to both general and academic readers alike, it [Henry VIII and History] is a fascinating insight into the development, in addition to the manipulating and, sometimes, hyperbolic attempts that Henry VIII’s memory has encountered. ... This volume makes a significant contribution.' Sixteenth Century Journal '... a splendid assortment of essays, scholarly, engaging, sharp and very varied.' English Historical Review