How well do we really know Thomas More? Directed to one of the most familiar figures of the sixteenth century, the question must appear absurd. Even without the aid of stage and screen, surely everyone has a clear idea of England's leading humanist, great wit, friend of Erasmus and other Continental humanists, author of Utopia, family man, man of convictions, ultimately martyr. The familiar Holbein portrait seems to sum it all up, as does at greater length the much admired biography of R. W. Chambers. Chambers, in fact, completed the picture when, to his own satisfaction and that of others, he disposed of ‘inconsistencies’ discerned by earlier observers between the cheerful reformer and ‘liberal’ of 1516 on the one hand, and the fierce opponent of Lutheran reform and savage polemicist of 1528–33 on the other. No man's personality in that age, not even King Henry's, seems more fully explored and more generally agreed than More's.