1st Edition

King James VI and I Selected Writings

By Neil Rhodes, Jennifer Richards Copyright 2003

    'Yet hath it been ever esteemed a matter commendable to collect [works] together, and incorporate them into one body, that we may behold at once, what divers Off-springs have proceeded from one braine.' This observation from the Bishop of Winchester in his preface to King James's 1616 Workes is particularly appropriate, since James's writings cross the boundaries of so many different fields. While several other monarchs engaged in literary composition, King James VI and I stands out as 'an inveterate scribbler' and is certainly the most extensively published of all British rulers. King James VI and I provides a broad representative selection of King James's writings on a range of secular and religious topics. Each text is provided in full, creating an invaluable reference tool for 16th and 17th century scholars working in different disciplines and a fascinating collection for students and general readers interested in early modern history and literature. In contrast to other editions of James's writings, which have been confined to a single aspect of his work, the present edition brings together for the first time his poetry and his religious writing, his political works and his treatises on witchcraft and tobacco, in a single volume. What makes this collection of James's writings especially significant is the distinctiveness of his position as both writer and ruler, an author of incontestable authority. All his authorly roles, as poet, polemicist, theologian, political theorist and political orator are informed by this fact. James's writings were also inevitably influenced by the circumstances of his reigns and this volume reflects the turbulent issues of religion, politics and nationhood that troubled his three kingdoms.

    Contents: Preface; Introduction; Poetry: from The Essayes of a Prentise; from His Majesties Poeticall Exercises at Vacant Houres; from 'All the kings Short Poesis'; His Majesties answere unto a Libell; Daemonologie; Basilicon Doron; The Trew Law of Free Monarchies; A Counterblaste to Tobacco; Speach to Parliament, March 1603; Speach to Parliament, March 1607; Speach to Parliament, March 1609; Speach to Parliament, March 1621; The Book of Sports; A Meditation on Matthew; Directions for Preachers; Glossary; Bibliography; Indexes.


    Neil Rhodes, Jennifer Richards

    '... James I [...] published more works than any other British sovereign including Queen Victoria... In addition to poetry, the King produced translations, controversial pieces [...], meditations, commentaries on scripture, political theory and kingship. He also was a patron of Shakespeare, Johnson and Donne and was behind the Authorised Bible... As a writer he may have failed to get his views accepted but an understanding of his writings is essential to an understanding of his reign and historical significance. This well edited collection will prove essential for any historian of the period.' The Contemporary Review '...without a doubt a useful work of reference for students of early modern history and literature.' History 'This volume will [...] be of immense value to those who wish to gain for themselves, and give to their students, ready access to the thoughts of a fascinating, intelligent, and irritating king, and it is to be welcomed.' Journal of Early Modern History