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Chapter 27 - Polemical History and the Wars of the Roses

from Part IV - Genre

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  19 December 2019

Jennifer Jahner
Affiliation:
California Institute of Technology
Emily Steiner
Affiliation:
University of Pennsylvania
Elizabeth M. Tyler
Affiliation:
University of York
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Summary

This chapter considers the impact of The Wars of the Roses on late fifteenth-century historiography. It outlines the ways in which English historical writing had begun to change in the years preceding the civil unrest and examines how the dynastic conflict exacerbated those changes, triggering new developments in how historiographers approached the task of writing history in flux. Surveying a range of texts from lesser known works, such as the chronicles of John Vale and John Herryson, to more influential accounts, like the chronicles of John Hardyng, the Chronicle of the Lincolnshire Rebellion, and the Second Continuation of the Crowland Chronicle, the chapter charts the impact of sustained political instability on late medieval historiography. It features authors’ flair for rewriting the past for rival bloodlines, their increased reliance on genealogies, newsletters and official documents, and the emergence of the first governmentally sanctioned histories.

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Chapter
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Medieval Historical Writing
Britain and Ireland, 500–1500
, pp. 467 - 482
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2019

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