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Thomas Becket (Reputations) [Paperback]

Anne Duggan

Price: 19.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

29 Oct 2004 Reputations
The question 'Who will rid me of this turbulent priest?' must be one of the most notorious in history. Four knights interpreted it as a hint from their sovereign, rode to Canterbury, and there in his own cathedral murdered Archbishop Thomas Becket. Or so the story goes. Of Becket's murder there can be no doubt, nor is there any question about the spectacle of Henry II performing public penance for the act by being flogged round Canterbury Cathedral, but so much is obscured by the very act of martyrdom and the cult that followed it that a great many issues remain unresolved.

The construction and deconstruction of Becket's reputation is central to this provocative new study. The cult of Becket has remained enduring: it was the centrepiece of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales; and in our own time it has carried powerful enough resonance to generate interpretations from T.S. Eliot, Jean Anouilh, and indeed Hollywood. This book investigates whether the popular conception of Becket through the ages is a result of valid assessments of the man and his cause, or a product of a carefully constructed myth, and how far can one correct for the bias and reach 'the truth'.

Frequently Bought Together

Thomas Becket (Reputations) + The Lives of Thomas Becket (Manchester Medieval Sources) + Henry II (Yale English Monarchs Series)
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The easy grasp of the source material, the exhaustive analysis of every aspect of the theme, and the soundness of judgement displayed throughout, makes this a book of exemplary scholarship that will surely remain the definitive study for many years to come.

(Alan B. Cobban, The Historical Association 2006-01-01)

About the Author

Anne Duggan is Professor of History at King's College London

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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, balanced, nuanced, and inspiring 2 Dec 2012
By Bekah - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This biography manages to be both a balanced work of careful historical scholarship, which dialogues multiple viewpoints with evidence from the sources, and also a vivid (and inspiring) biography. It is very well written, copiously footnoted for the academic, and also quite accessible for the general reader. Conflicting characterizations of Becket (e.g. hypocrite, arrogant prima donna, or devout religious man, etc) and Henry (innocent or guilty, justly aggrieved or personally vengeful?) are given, with evidence to back up assertions.

At the same time, it is also a vivid narrative, as gripping as a novel. Ultimately, the portrait of Becket that emerges is both human and deeply inspiring. This is historical work at its finest. If there is one book you read on Becket, make it this one.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The real middle age 29 May 2013
By rt - Published on Amazon.com
It is very rare that a first class scholar can write a book for the general public that is accurate and interesting at the same time.
This book is of this category. Thomas Becket and his historical background is described in a way you can hardly stop reading, and at the same time you get the insight by a leading and credible historian.
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