I’ve been studying an online course for the last 4 weeks on the history of the book in the early modern period 1450 to 1800. It has turned out to be really interesting, looking at different texts, illustrations and events that have influenced the growth of books and printing.
Week 1 – How book were made in Western Europe 1450-1800 (designing types, illustrating, sewing, binding and finishing books)
Week 2 – How books were sold in Western Europe 1450-1800 (bestsellers, collectors, advertising and book auctions)
Week 3 – How books were read in Western Europe 1450-1800 (books and readers, family libraries and annotating books)
Week 4 – How books changed the world 1450-1800 (reforming religion, transforming medicine and science and remaking the state)
I learnt some really interesting things that I didn’t know before, and I would be interested in looking in more detail at some of the texts and processes explained over the progress of the course.
I knew that making books would be a time-consuming business, but I don’t think I fully realised that there were so many steps, or about the different types and how the type used influenced the style of book.
Because of my curiosity about the Reformation and religion in the 16th century I think I found the analysis of the Gutenberg Bible and the early modern protestant Bible particularly interesting. However, I also found the discussion about the revolutionary literature of the French Revolution very intriguing.
There are several other courses that I am also interested in that you might be interested in as well, listed below. They also offer a course on the Tudors (top of the list):
I sometimes get asked what the best books are on the Tudors, or what my favourites are. I’ve decided to list my top 5 here with a short review, trying to mix different topics and styles, though my focus is primarily on the political history and the figures involved in the period rather than the social or military history that I know some people prefer. My favourite books also seem to be largely related to women, as I am fascinated by the ideas of gender and power in the Tudor period.
TITLE – The Life and Death of Anne Boleyn
AUTHOR – Eric Ives
FIRST PUBLISHED – 1986
REVIEW – Eric Ives’s offering about Anne Boleyn is one of the first books I read about Anne Boleyn when I was working on my undergraduate History dissertation. It gripped me from the very start as his arguments are clear and concise, and written in a way that is easy to just get sucked into. He talks about aspects of her life that were overlooked before this point like portraiture, her childhood, and her relationship with her daughter. Ives does Anne justice by not just focusing on the obvious angles.
TITLE – Tudor: The Family Story
AUTHOR – Leanda de Lisle
FIRST PUBLISHED – 2013
REVIEW – I was excited when this book first came out, as it was the most comprehensive history of the Tudor dynasty up to this point. I wasn’t disappointed as it provided detailed biographies of the key figures including those prior to Henry VII taking the throne like his father, grandparents, and assorted other relatives. The book was excellently researched with an extensive bibliography – I’m tempted to call it a Tudor Bible! A must-read for any Tudor historians to keep on their bookshelf.
This book describes a selection of people caught up in the turmoil that presaged the reformation – a period of change instigated by a king whose desire for a legitimate son was to brutally sweep aside an entire way of life. The most famous and influential of the victims were the two people closest to Henry VIII. His mentor, Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, a great churchman and a diplomat of consummate skill. The other was to be the King’s second wife, Anne Boleyn. These two adversaries, equally determined to succeed, had risen above the usual expectations of their time. Wolsey, of humble birth, became a price of the church, enjoying his position to the full, before coming into conflict with a woman who had no intention of being another passing fancy for the king. She would become the mother of one of the greatest and most famous of England’s monarchs. They were brought down by the factions surrounding them and the selfish indifference of the man they thought they could trust. Though they succumbed to the forces aligned against them, their courage and achievements are remembered, and their places in history assured. [Description from Pen & Sword]
Thanks to Pen and Sword Books for the chance to read this in exchange for an honest review.
This book doesn’t really cover the victims of the Reformation, so much as it focuses on the lives of two of them: Thomas Wolsey and Anne Boleyn, so it only really covers up to 1536, which is really when the Reformation picked up pace. This means that there is nothing really about Katherine Parr, Anne Askew or the Pilgrimage of Grace, two key figure and one key event in the history of the Reformation, and it doesn’t go into the reign of Edward IV or Elizabeth I, or the counter-Reformation under Mary I, so the title is a little misleading.
There were also a few errors. For example, the Duke of Buckingham executed in 1521 was at a few points referred to as George Stafford, when he was actually called Edward. At one point it was also claimed that Henry VIII acceded to the throne in 1501 when he actually came to the throne in 1509. A good proof-reader would have caught and resolved these problems. They don’t, however, detract from the good tone and writing of the book in general.
I didn’t like that there were no chapter titles, as if you are looking for a particular year, especially when the book is written chronologically as this one is, it should be easy to find a particular period of time. The chapters also don’t always seem to finish where it feels natural that they should. The index is incomplete – for example the pages listed about Anne Boleyn don’t include when she was elevated to the peerage, or about her imprisonment and trial. Continue reading “Book Review – ‘Tudor Victims of the Reformation’ by Lynda Telford”
Click on the above link to be taken to my Facebook page where I have filled a folder with Tudor and Wars of the Roses historical fiction that I have reviewed. Within that folder there is also a link to my Goodreads account, so feel free to friend me!
I will keep updating the folder as I read, and there is also a non-fiction folder as well.
While I don’t really have the time to do a blog post a day for August, this one really caught my eye on The Anne Boleyn Files: the opening lines from each of your five favourite books. Hard, but here it is. Have you read any of them? What did you think?
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling:-
“The two men appeared out of nowhere, a few yards apart in the narrow, moonlit lane. For a second they stood quite still, wands directed at each other’s chests; then, recognising each other, they stowed their wands beneath their cloaks and started walking briskly in the same direction. Continue reading “My Five Best Books”