I hadn't realised – until I read this book – how much work Henry VIII's marital problems caused the stonemasons of Hampton Court. After years of carving the letters H&C all over the place, Henry got rid of Catherine of Aragon, so the Cs had to be reworked as As. But, no sooner was the last A in place than Anne Boleyn was executed on Tower Hill and the As had to become Js to suit Jane Seymour, who promptly died in childbirth. And there were still three more queens to go, so, lots more chiseling, presumably.
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Wolf Hall/Bring Up the Bodies, theatre review: 'Exhilarating stage-craft and masterly narrative compression'
Thursday 09 January 2014
Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon
Friday 28 June 2013
'I'm taking a deep breath before committing to the Dostoevsky biography'
Sunday 28 April 2013
American historian urges a rethink on David Starkey and Hilary Mantel portrayals
Friday 08 March 2013
Award-winning novelist says she has "absolutely nothing to apologise for"
Tuesday 19 February 2013
The double Booker Prize-winner compared princess Kate unfavourably to Anne Boleyn and said she had a 'plastic smile'
Wednesday 17 October 2012
"There are no endings. If you think so you are deceived as to their nature. They are all beginnings." So (almost) ends Bring Up the Bodies: a final flourish that now applies to their creator too.
Sunday 12 August 2012
All my novels are essentially about falling in love and getting a house Well, that's what my husband told me a few years ago. It sounds like a very material view of the world but the house symbolises so much of where our fortunes are sited. For me, growing up, I always wanted a safe home, which was hard for my mother to provide after she was widowed and left with two children to raise on her own.
Sunday 20 May 2012
The sequel to 'Wolf Hall' is a striking account of one of English history's most shocking episodes. But it can be hard to navigate such austere prose
Saturday 19 May 2012
Wednesday 01 February 2012
It has been announced by the Government that 3,100 vocational qualifications will have their value cut, meaning schools can no longer use them to bump their way up league tables. From 2014, students will no longer be getting into university based on their "horse-care" abilities, which is one of the courses worth the same as four GCSEs.
Sunday 08 January 2012
The historian Niall Ferguson once complained that schoolchildren are taught only about Henry VIII and the world wars. Yes, but let's face it, these are the blockbusters of British history.
Saturday 19 November 2011
The BBC is planning a television mini-series adaptation of Hilary Mantel's Booker-winning novel Wolf Hall.
Tuesday 19 July 2011
"I will be a new Queen for a new England," cries Spooks star Miranda Raison as King Hal's spooky spouse Anne Boleyn, with her head tucked underneath her arm; you just wonder, on the evidence of this spirited and enchanting portrait, how great she might have been, outshining even her own daughter, Elizabeth I.
Friday 20 May 2011
When I first began to read poetry seriously at school, "practical criticism" still held sway. This approach promoted the idea of an unmediated dialogue between the reader and the text – a sort of naked encounter session, free from the deceiving clothes of context. And it so happened that one of the poems stripped from its history that I enjoyed most delivered the electrifying delight of déshabillé. A masterpiece of petulant erotic longing (hence, perhaps, its allure for teenage readers), this lyric by Sir Thomas Wyatt begins "They flee from me that sometime did me seek". It goes on to recall a rejected lover's tryst with a fickle lady who "When her loose gown from her shoulders did fall/ And she caught me in her arms long and small/ Therewithal sweetly did me kiss,/ And softly said, 'Dear heart, how like you this?'"
Tuesday 26 April 2011
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Plebgate MP Andrew Mitchell called officer a 'little s**t', claim court documents 'exposing ex-Chief Whip's 'record of abusing police'
Hilary Mantel 'should be investigated by police' over Margaret Thatcher assassination story, says Lord Bell
Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God
- 4 Alex Salmond: 'The rocks would melt with the sun before I'd ever set foot in the House of Lords'