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The ‘Taste for Tudors’ since 1940 1

  • Lacey Baldwin Smith (a1)

Extract

Professor F. J. Fisher wrote in 1940 that the twentieth century has been ‘busily recreating the sixteenth century in its own image’. Historical re-evaluation is always in part narcissistic. Two world wars have left their scars on our view of history and, if nothing else, have given us insights into the Tudor age which, like our own, faced ideological wars of survival. The quest for economic and military security and the dream of the welfare state have led the twentieth century to forsake not only the ethical and institutional standards of the nineteenth century but also to deny its interpretation of history. The ancient shibboleths, the familiar landmarks of Tudor history, and the comfortable generalizations about despotism, mercantilism, and ‘new monarchy’ are all being swept aside by a generation of historians who claim greater understanding of the past.

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1

This essay is one in a series of bibliographical articles sponsored by the Conference on British Studies. It deals primarily with the period from Henry VII through Mary, since a separate essay will be devoted to the reign of Elizabeth. Since the new edition of Conyers Read's Bibliography of British History: Tudor Period, 1485-1603 (Oxford, 1959), larger than the earlier by about one-half, includes a full review of historical scholarship to date, there seems to be no particular merit in achieving completeness, and instead I have endeavored to indicate the nature and direction of Tudor scholarship throughout the last two decades. Readers who are interested in a somewhat less historically oriented bibliography should consult Elizabeth Nugent, The Thought and Culture of the English Renaissance (Cambridge, 1956).

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2 Economic History Rev. x (1940), 96.

3 Much of modern scholarship has been incorporated into three fine textbooks which have appeared during the last decade. Bindoff, S. T., Tudor England (Harmondsworth, 1950) is a brilliant synthesis emphasizing the economic aspects of Tudor life. Mackie, J. D., The Earlier Tudors, 1485-1558 (Oxford, 1952) is somewhat more orthodox in its approach, and Elton, G. R., England under the Tudors (London, 1955) is a sparkling but controversial achievement of compression.

4 Rupp, E. G., Studies in the Making of the English Protestant Tradition (Cambridge, 1947), pp. xivxv .

5 Lander, J. R., ‘The Yorkist Council and Administration, 1461-1485’, English Hist. Rev. LXXIII, 1958 , shows how elusive the truth can be about the fifteenth century if only because of the frustrating scarcity of material.

6 Many of the works cited should be read in the light of Steel, Anthony, ‘The Financial Background of the Wars of the Roses’, History, New Series, XL (1955), which is a convenient summary of his book, The Receipt of the Exchequer, 1377-1485 (Cambridge, 1954).

7 A more scholarly analysis and indictment of Henry VII can be found in Kendall, Paul M., Richard the Third (London, 1955), Appendix I, ‘Who Murdered the “Little Princes“?’ See also Zeeveld, W. G., ‘A Tudor Defense of Richard in’, PMLA LV (1940).

8 Another aspect of the Tudors’ difficulties with law corruption, evasion, and enforcement is treated by G. D. Ramsay. ‘The Smuggler’s Trade: a Neglected Aspect of English Commercial Development', Trans. Royal Hist. Soc, 5th Series, 11 (1952).

9 More of the same can be found in Elton, G. R., Star Chamber Stories (London, 1958).

10 Elton, G. R., The Tudor Revolution in Government (Cambridge, 1953), p. 9 .

11 See also Hammersley, G., ‘The Crown Woods and their Exploitation in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries’, Bulletin of the Inst, of Hist. Research XXX (1957).

12 Williams, W. O., Tudor Gwynedd (London, 1958), shows how little effect Henry VIII's legislation really had upon social change in Wales or how little the Act of Union actually modified the ancient administrative methods. This work is the result of and was originally the introduction to Mr. Williams’ Calendar of the Caernarvonshire Quarter Sessions Records, 1541-58, I (Caernarvonshire Historical Society, 1956).

13 The two best discussions of the operation of early Tudor government and the balance between statute, precedent, and prerogative are W. H. Dunham's articles: ‘Wolsey’s Rule of the King's Whole Council', American Hist. Rev. XLIX (1944); and ‘Henry vm’s Whole Council and its Parts', Huntington Library Quarterly VII (1943).

14 See G. R. Elton's answer, ‘Parliamentary Drafts, 1529-1540’, Bulletin of the Inst. of Hist. Research xxv (1952).

15 J. U. Nef, ‘War and Economic Progress, 1540-1640’, Economic History Rev. XII (1942).

16 For example, see Marshall, A., Industry and Trade (London, 1919), pp. 719720 . For more recent works see: Ramsey, P., ‘Overseas Trade in the Reign of Henry VIII: the Evidence of Customs Accounts’, Economic History Rev., 2d Series, VI (1953), and de Roover, R., Gresham on Foreign Exchange: an Essay on Early English Mercantilism (Cambridge, Mass., 1949).

17 See two articles by A. A. Ruddock, ‘London Capitalists and the Decline of Southampton in the Early Tudor Period’, Economic History Rev., 2d Series, II (1949), and ‘The Earliest Records of the High Court of Admiralty, 1515—1558’, Bulletin of the Inst, of Hist. Research xxn (1949); also Connell-Smith, G., Forerunners of Drake (London, 1954), which is the story of Anglo-Spanish trade relations and their connection with foreign policy, 1485-1558.

18 F. M. Parker, ‘Was Thomas Cromwell a Machiavellian?’ Jour, of Economic History 1 (1950) (Parker says yes); Ogle, A., The Tragedy of the Lollards’ Tower (Oxford, 1949); Zeeveld, W. G., ‘Thomas Starkey and the Cromwellian Polity’, Jour, of Modern History xv (1943).

19 For the opposite view see R. Koebner, ‘ “The Imperial Crown of this Realm“: Henry VIII, Constantine the Great, and Polydore Vergil’, Bulletin of the Inst, of Hist. Research XXVI (1953).

20 Booth, K., ‘The Problem of the Breach with Rome, 1529-34’, The Month, New Series, x (1953).

21 See also H. G. Russell, ‘Lollard Opposition to Oaths by Creatures’, American Hist. Rev. LI (1946).

22 The Secret of Henry the Eighth (London, 1953); The Queen Makera Portrait of John Dudley (London, 1951).

23 Henry the Eighth (Milwaukee, 1949); Humanist as Hero; the Life of Sir Thomas More (New York, 1947); The Crown and the Cross; a Biography of Thomas Cromwell (New York, 1950); The Life of Thomas Cranmer (Chicago, 1956); Bloody Mary (Milwaukee, 1958). Mr. Maynard espouses the liberal Catholic view.

24 Henry VIII, a Difficult Patient (London, 1953).

25 Bromiley, G. W., Thomas Cranmer, Theologian (New York, 1956); Rupp, E. G., Six Makers of English Religion, 1500-1700 (New York, 1957) has excellent chapters on Cranmer, Tyndale, and Foxe.

26 Chester, A. G., Hugh Latimer, Apostle to the English (Philadelphia, 1954); Darby, H. S., Hugh Latimer (London, 1953).

27 J. C. Ridley, Nicholas Ridley, a Biography (London, 1957). Compare Bromiley's, G. W. 32-page pamphlet: Nicholas Ridley (Church Book Room Press, 1950 , Great Churchmen Series No. 19).

28 Hudson, W. S., John Ponet, Advocate of Limited Monarchy (Chicago, 1942).

29 Hopf, C., Martin Bucer and the English Reformation (Oxford, 1946).

30 To name but a few of the better works: Maynard, T., Humanist as Hero: The Life of Sir Thomas More (New York, 1947); Reynolds, E. E., St. Thomas More (New York, 1953); Farrow, J., The Story of Thomas More (New York, 1954). E. L. Surtz, ‘Interpretations of Utopia’, Catholic Hist. Rev. XXXVIII (1952), has a convenient summary of modern scholarship.

31 The publication of Ro. Ba., Lyfe of Syr Thomas More, sometymes Lord Chancellor of England, ed. E. V. Hitchcock and P. E. Hallett (London, 1950, E.E.T.S., O.S., no. 222), and Rogers, E. F., The Correspondence of Sir Thomas More (Princeton, 1947), has added to our understanding of More.

32 For still another example see Elton, ‘The Quondam of Rievaulx’, Jour, of Economic History VII (1956), in which the author deprives Abbot Edward Kirkby of any claim to a martyr's crown.

33 Hoskins, W. G., ‘English Provincial Towns in the Early Sixteenth Century’, Trans. Royal Hist. Soc., 5th Series, VI (1956).

34 Jordan, W. K., Philanthropy in England, 1480-1660 (New York, 1959).

35 See also Semenov, F. V., Enclosures and Peasants’ Revolts in England in the Sixteenth Century (Moscow, 1949); Hoskins, W. G., Essays in Leicestershire History (Liverpool, 1950); Beresford, M., The Lost Villages of England (London, 1954).

36 Thirsk, J., Tudor Enclosures (London, 1959, Historical Asso. Pub. G41), p. 3 .

37 J. H. Hexter, Encounter XI (1958).

38 An exception is Gammon, S. R., Master of Practises; a Life of William, Lord Paget of Beaudesert, 1506-63 (doctoral thesis, Princeton University, 1953).

39 Elton has, in fact, made a start; see besides his other works already mentioned in this essay, ‘Thomas Cromwell’, History Today VI (1956), and ‘Thomas Cromwell’s Decline and Fall', Cambridge Hist. Jour, x (1951).

40 See especially his criticism of Pollard's conclusions about Mary's responsibility for the Smithfield fires, pt. III, ch. II.

41 Ket's Rebellion (London, 1949, Historical Asso. Pub. G12).

42 ‘Renaissance Realism in the “Commonwealth” Literature of Early Tudor England’, Jour, of the History of Ideas XVI (1955).

43 F. G. Emmison, ‘A Plan of Edward VI and Secretary Petre for Reorganizing the Privy Council’s Work, 1552-1553, Bulletin of the Inst, of Hist. Research XXXI (1958).

44 S. T. Bindoff, ‘A Kingdom at Stake, 1553’, History Today in (1953); D. Hayes, ‘The “Narratio Historica” of P. Vincentius, 1553’, English Hist. Rev. LXIII (1948); A . J . A. Malkiewicz, ‘Eye-witness's Account of the Coup d'Etat of October, 1549', English Hist. Rev. LXX (1955).

45 A highly suggestive start has been made by MacCaffrey, W. T., Exeter, 1540-1640 (Cambridge, Mass., 1958). However, the bulk of this work lies outside of the scope of this essay. See also W. G. Hoskins, ‘English Provincial Towns in the Early Sixteenth Century’, Trans. Royal Hist. Soc, 5th Series, VI (1956).

1 This essay is one in a series of bibliographical articles sponsored by the Conference on British Studies. It deals primarily with the period from Henry VII through Mary, since a separate essay will be devoted to the reign of Elizabeth. Since the new edition of Conyers Read's Bibliography of British History: Tudor Period, 1485-1603 (Oxford, 1959), larger than the earlier by about one-half, includes a full review of historical scholarship to date, there seems to be no particular merit in achieving completeness, and instead I have endeavored to indicate the nature and direction of Tudor scholarship throughout the last two decades. Readers who are interested in a somewhat less historically oriented bibliography should consult Elizabeth Nugent, The Thought and Culture of the English Renaissance (Cambridge, 1956).

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