Best Book For Each Wife | The Six Wives | Forum

Avatar

Please consider registering
guest

sp_LogInOut Log In sp_Registration Register

Register | Lost password?
Advanced Search

— Forum Scope —




— Match —





— Forum Options —





Minimum search word length is 3 characters - maximum search word length is 84 characters

sp_Feed Topic RSS sp_TopicIcon
Best Book For Each Wife
May 9, 2011
4:24 am
Avatar
Bill1978
Australia
Member
Members
Forum Posts: 476
Member Since:
April 9, 2011
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Hello good and learned people, just wanting to pick the more experienced brains on this topic. I've developed a slight compulsive need to have a book regarding each important person in the Tudor world of Henry VIII up to James VI/I. Well, people that I find interesting at least lol.

So good people. If you could only recommend one book that details the life of each of Henry's 6 wives. What would be those 6 books?

May 9, 2011
7:12 am
Avatar
Neil Kemp
Member
Members
Forum Posts: 447
Member Since:
April 11, 2011
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Bill, I believe you only need one book, Starkey's “Six Wives – The Queens Of Henry V111”. As complete and as informative as you could wish for and at well over 800 pages is probably as good as six books in one!

May 9, 2011
7:21 am
Avatar
Nasim
UK
Member
Members
Forum Posts: 71
Member Since:
February 3, 2011
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Bill1978 said:

Hello good and learned people, just wanting to pick the more experienced brains on this topic. I've developed a slight compulsive need to have a book regarding each important person in the Tudor world of Henry VIII up to James VI/I. Well, people that I find interesting at least lol.

So good people. If you could only recommend one book that details the life of each of Henry's 6 wives. What would be those 6 books?


 

For most I would not recommend one book. The exception is for Katherine Parr – Susan James’s work on her definitely remains the best. The biography you need to get is James, Kateryn Parr: The Making of a Queen. Avoid James, Catherine Parr: Henry VIII’s Last Love, as this is a watered down version of her major study.

 

There are of course several Anne Boleyn biographers and whilst most recognise Eric Ives’s study as the best, I would not advise consulting his book alone. Warnicke’s and Bernard’s books, controversial in their respective ways, should also be read. But Ives’s biography is an excellent starting point (and for some the concluding text).

 

But, again, I don’t think most of the six wives have ‘definitive’ biographies. There are two on Katherine of Aragon that are worth noting – Garrett Mattingly’s book and the recent one by Giles Tremlett. Some consider Mattingly’s book to remain the ‘best’ one. I think it is very outdated and hardly on par with, for example, Ives’s biography of Boleyn. To be honest I don’t consider it to be better than Tremlett’s book. So I suppose it is best to get the Tremlett book for the simple fact that it is far more up-to-date (though the lack of proper references within the text is very bad). Keep an eye out for an upcoming study on Katherine, alongside her sister Juana of Castile, by Julia Fox (author of the Jane Boleyn biography). It may be a good read.

 

There is not much out there on Jane Seymour. Her queenship was the subject of a PhD thesis by Pamela Gross that was subsequently edited for a book –Jane, the Quene. It is only available at a ludicrous price. Check out major libraries for a copy. I would not recommend the latest offering by Elizabeth Norton – nor indeed any of her books.

 

Retha Warnicke, The Marrying of Anne Cleves: Royal Protocol in Tudor England, is not a biography per se. However it does cover Anne’s background, her marriage to Henry VIII, and her life after marriage in a more thorough manner than any other text. Definitely get this book.

 

Finally, there is Lacey Baldwin Smith’s work on Katherine Howard.

"Much as her form seduc'd the sight,
Her eyes could ev'n more surely woo;"

May 9, 2011
9:45 pm
Avatar
Bill1978
Australia
Member
Members
Forum Posts: 476
Member Since:
April 9, 2011
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Thank you Neil and Nasim for your input.

Nasim, may I ask why you wouldn't recommend any of the books by Elizabeth Norton? As she keeps popping up whenever I do book searches on Amazon. Not that 'Amazon Recommends' are always that reliable. I will definietely search out your other recommendations as well as the Starkey book Neil mentioned.

May 9, 2011
9:59 pm
Avatar
Gentillylace
West Covina, CA
Member
Members
Forum Posts: 34
Member Since:
May 20, 2010
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Strange. When I first saw this thread, I first interpreted it as what contemporary book(s) would each wife like to read? For example, I can imagine Catherine Howard reading chick lit and fashion magazines.

Yours as long as lyffe endures, Katheryn

May 10, 2011
3:22 am
Avatar
Nasim
UK
Member
Members
Forum Posts: 71
Member Since:
February 3, 2011
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Bill1978 said:

Nasim, may I ask why you wouldn't recommend any of the books by Elizabeth Norton? As she keeps popping up whenever I do book searches on Amazon. Not that 'Amazon Recommends' are always that reliable. I will definietely search out your other recommendations as well as the Starkey book Neil mentioned.


I found her books to be very poorly researched, written almost in haste, and containing nothing new. They seem to be produced solely to appeal to the current interest in this period, adding nothing to current scholarship. I would recommend avoiding them.

"Much as her form seduc'd the sight,
Her eyes could ev'n more surely woo;"

May 10, 2011
5:24 am
Avatar
DuchessofBrittany
Canada
Member
Members
Forum Posts: 846
Member Since:
June 7, 2010
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Nasim said:


I found her books to be very poorly researched, written almost in haste, and containing nothing new. They seem to be produced solely to appeal to the current interest in this period, adding nothing to current scholarship. I would recommend avoiding them.


Nasim is correct about Elizabeth Norton's books. I read her bio on Jane Seymour and was disappointed. I learned nothing new. Frankly, Jane never emerged from the information given. I felt it was a rehash of general Tudor history, not an examination of her life or impact. I was hoping for so much more.

I've always loved Starkey's Six Wives book. It's comprehensive, thorough, and well-researched. Don't be put off. Starkey's writing is clear, precise, and succint. The book's large, but I learned so much from it that I forgave the immense read.

I also agree with Nasim about not solely relying on Ives's book alone. Take the time to read other historians theories and interpreations of her life, then judge for yourself. I've read Warnicke. I've yet to read Bernard, but hope to soon.

Nasim, a question about Baldwin Smith's book on Catherine Howard. What is your opinion? A definite read or a pass?

"By daily proof you shall find me to be to you both loving and kind" Anne Boleyn

May 10, 2011
5:42 am
Avatar
Louise
Hampshire, England
Member
Members
Forum Posts: 611
Member Since:
December 5, 2009
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

I've only read two biographies on Catherine Howard. One was by Joanna Denny and I really wouldn't recommend it. It was very biased;almost as much as her biography of Anne. I loved the Baldwin Smith biography though. It's a bit dated, but well worth a read. I do find him a little bit judgmental of Catherine though, and a lot of the negativity relating to Thomas Culpepper stems from this book. Who knows, perhaps he was a murderer and rapist, but this only comes from one source, who didn't have first hand knowledge of the alleged event, so I'm rather natural where Culpepper's concerned. As for Baldwin Smith's views on Catherine, I do think they're a bit harsh. 

May 10, 2011
8:34 am
Avatar
Nasim
UK
Member
Members
Forum Posts: 71
Member Since:
February 3, 2011
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

DuchessofBrittany said:

Nasim said:


I found her books to be very poorly researched, written almost in haste, and containing nothing new. They seem to be produced solely to appeal to the current interest in this period, adding nothing to current scholarship. I would recommend avoiding them.


Nasim is correct about Elizabeth Norton's books. I read her bio on Jane Seymour and was disappointed. I learned nothing new. Frankly, Jane never emerged from the information given. I felt it was a rehash of general Tudor history, not an examination of her life or impact. I was hoping for so much more.
I've always loved Starkey's Six Wives book. It's comprehensive, thorough, and well-researched. Don't be put off. Starkey's writing is clear, precise, and succint. The book's large, but I learned so much from it that I forgave the immense read.

I also agree with Nasim about not solely relying on Ives's book alone. Take the time to read other historians theories and interpreations of her life, then judge for yourself. I've read Warnicke. I've yet to read Bernard, but hope to soon.

Nasim, a question about Baldwin Smith's book on Catherine Howard. What is your opinion? A definite read or a pass?


A minor point, though one which I think illustrates the poor research – is the use of illustrations in Norton’s books. In the Jane Seymour book a number of images appear to have come straight from the NPG Heinz Archive sitter’s box for Jane (the bad quality of the images is indication of this). Yet, as anyone who has looked at the archive’s boxes for the six wives knows, the collection is in serious need of re-examination. It seems like Norton copied them without further research into the findings. So no serious research was done into the portraiture, both contemporary and posthumous, of Jane Seymour.

 

I have a copy of Smith’s book from the 1960s so I can’t comment on the new edition (which I don’t think comes with any major revisions?) As Louise mentions, Smith is critical of Katherine but it is still a useful text as it explores her life and marriage in a more thorough way than other books do. Though obviously short, I recommend looking at the Oxford DNB’s entry for Katherine (written by Warnicke), as this provides (arguably) a more sympathetic account. The idea that she was a victim, albeit a foolish one, is a prevalent theme:

 

‘It is possible, however, to put a different interpretation upon Katherine's letter*, that its emotional tone was fuelled less by sexual ardour than by the desperation of a young woman who was seeking to placate an aggressive, dangerous suitor, one who, moreover, as a member of the privy chamber had close contact with the king. The promise she mentioned could have concerned the Dereham affair. Culpeper, it may be suggested, had established some form of threatening control over the queen's life, and although he—as he admitted—was seeking sexual satisfaction with her, Katherine was trying to ensure his silence through a misguided attempt at appeasement. The letter makes it clear that she wished for his presence, but she never refers to him as her ‘lover’ or ‘darling’, and expresses a desire for no more than verbal conversation with him. Far from initiating relationships, Katherine's attitude to Culpeper, as to the other men in her life, the king included, can be seen as essentially passive, reactive to their demands.’

 

So again, emphasis on Culpepper’s alleged notoriety, especially in his dealings with women.

 

*The letter to Culpepper.

"Much as her form seduc'd the sight,
Her eyes could ev'n more surely woo;"

May 10, 2011
8:56 am
Avatar
Claire
Admin
Forum Posts: 959
Member Since:
February 16, 2009
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

I would recommend Elizabeth Norton's books for those who are “beginners” or those who want a light read, rather than a highly academic read. As you say, Nasim, I think they are published for the masses, the Tudor history lovers rather than the scholar or researcher, so it depends on the individiual person, their style and their purpose. I think the use of portraits and photos etc. is down to the publisher, not the author, in this case.

Debunking the myths about Anne Boleyn

May 10, 2011
1:05 pm
Avatar
bethany.x
England
Member
Members
Forum Posts: 100
Member Since:
December 5, 2010
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

It's got to be Starkey's Six Wives for me. I don't think he left out a single detail and it became rather addictive after a while!

I wish to confess to you and tell you my secret, which is that I am no angel. -Queen Elizabeth I

May 11, 2011
4:07 am
Avatar
Nasim
UK
Member
Members
Forum Posts: 71
Member Since:
February 3, 2011
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Claire said:

I think the use of portraits and photos etc. is down to the publisher, not the author, in this case.


Hi Claire,

Though I agree that publishers have a large say in images – involved in the complicated process of obtaining rights for publishing certain images, etc – the author should be involved in the selection of images. If Norton was not involved – and she really should have been – she should have at least questioned whoever did pick her images about their suitability (and this includes the quality of the copies of the pictures picked). Images, namely portraits, are pieces of evidence alongside contemporary dispatches and various state documents. They should be treated as important. Norton was discussing Henry VIII’s most ‘successful’ queen, whose image was used in some of the most impressive dynastic paintings of that period. There was so much scope there for an in-depth examination of the portraiture of Jane.

"Much as her form seduc'd the sight,
Her eyes could ev'n more surely woo;"

May 11, 2011
4:34 am
Avatar
DuchessofBrittany
Canada
Member
Members
Forum Posts: 846
Member Since:
June 7, 2010
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Nasim said:


 

I have a copy of Smith’s book from the 1960s so I can’t comment on the new edition (which I don’t think comes with any major revisions?) As Louise mentions, Smith is critical of Katherine but it is still a useful text as it explores her life and marriage in a more thorough way than other books do. Though obviously short, I recommend looking at the Oxford DNB’s entry for Katherine (written by Warnicke), as this provides (arguably) a more sympathetic account. The idea that she was a victim, albeit a foolish one, is a prevalent theme:

 

‘It is possible, however, to put a different interpretation upon Katherine's letter*, that its emotional tone was fuelled less by sexual ardour than by the desperation of a young woman who was seeking to placate an aggressive, dangerous suitor, one who, moreover, as a member of the privy chamber had close contact with the king. The promise she mentioned could have concerned the Dereham affair. Culpeper, it may be suggested, had established some form of threatening control over the queen's life, and although he—as he admitted—was seeking sexual satisfaction with her, Katherine was trying to ensure his silence through a misguided attempt at appeasement. The letter makes it clear that she wished for his presence, but she never refers to him as her ‘lover’ or ‘darling’, and expresses a desire for no more than verbal conversation with him. Far from initiating relationships, Katherine's attitude to Culpeper, as to the other men in her life, the king included, can be seen as essentially passive, reactive to their demands.’

 

So again, emphasis on Culpepper’s alleged notoriety, especially in his dealings with women.

 

*The letter to Culpepper.


Thanks, Nasim for the comments on Baldwin Smith's book. I shall check it out. You are a great asset to have here, since you can give insight into so many sources.

"By daily proof you shall find me to be to you both loving and kind" Anne Boleyn

May 11, 2011
7:21 am
Avatar
Neil Kemp
Member
Members
Forum Posts: 447
Member Since:
April 11, 2011
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

bethany.x said:

It's got to be Starkey's Six Wives for me. I don't think he left out a single detail and it became rather addictive after a while!


Spot on Bethany, those with more knowledge than I may have other recommendations, but this has always been the definitive reference source for me.

May 29, 2011
11:07 am
Avatar
Boleynfan
Member
Members
Forum Posts: 503
Member Since:
August 2, 2010
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

I think Starkey's Six Wives is good as well. However, I really like Alison Weir's Six Wives! I say, get both and you have all the info you need to start. For Anne, I myself am a huge Eric Ives fan (my copy looks like it got run over by a car).

"Grumble all you like, this is how it's going to be"

May 31, 2011
1:01 am
Avatar
E
Member
Banned
Forum Posts: 256
Member Since:
May 19, 2011
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Neil Kemp said:

bethany.x said:

It's got to be Starkey's Six Wives for me. I don't think he left out a single detail and it became rather addictive after a while!


Spot on Bethany, those with more knowledge than I may have other recommendations, but this has always been the definitive reference source for me.


Starkey's six wives is great, has anyone read Starkey's crown and country? And what did you think?

I have Antonia Fraser's six wives, Alison Weir's six wives and Starkeys six wives… Just incase either one missed anything!

"A fresh young damsel, who could trip and go"

May 31, 2011
11:42 pm
Avatar
Impish_Impulse
US Midwest
Member
Members
Forum Posts: 595
Member Since:
August 12, 2009
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

E said:

I have Antonia Fraser's six wives, Alison Weir's six wives and Starkeys six wives… Just in case either one missed anything!


I have all three as well!

                        survivor ribbon                             

               "Don't knock at death's door. 

          Ring the bell and run. He hates that."    

June 2, 2011
11:32 pm
Avatar
Melissa
New York City
Member
Members
Forum Posts: 162
Member Since:
July 9, 2009
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Has anyone read Anthony Martiesson (spelling might be inaccurate-I’m not going to look it up right now)’s biography of Katherine Parr? I liked it but the author says in the prologue that he doesn’t footnote, though there is a bibliography, and implies that some things are conjecture, so I don’t know if it’s the best resource.

Ainsi sera, groigne qui groigne.

June 3, 2011
12:52 pm
Avatar
Bella44
New Zealand
Member
Members
Forum Posts: 933
Member Since:
January 9, 2010
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

^ I read that years ago, can't say it was absolutely brilliant but was the book that got me more interested in Katherine Parr.  But I think the best book on her is Catherine Parr: Henry VIII's Last Love by Susan James.  I'd love to get her Kateryn Parr: The Making of a Queen as Nasim suggests but can't find it anywhere!

Forum Timezone: Europe/London

Most Users Ever Online: 214

Currently Online:
1 Guest(s)

Top Posters:

Anyanka: 2337

Boleyn: 2285

Sharon: 2115

Bella44: 933

DuchessofBrittany: 846

Mya Elise: 781

Member Stats:

Guest Posters: 0

Members: 427746

Moderators: 0

Admins: 1

Forum Stats:

Groups: 1

Forums: 13

Topics: 1713

Posts: 23079

Newest Members:

albakl4, Michaelfen, RamonTuP, LonnieMef, FSUimance, Lefferttault

Administrators: Claire: 959