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Xerxes "ljllewellyn-jones"

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Catherine Howard: The Adultress Wife of Henry VIII
Catherine Howard: The Adultress Wife of Henry VIII
by D. M. Loades
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.00

8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Poorly thought out, redundant, and badly produced, 27 Oct 2012
Loades' new biography of Henry VIII's short-lived fifth queen is a rehash of the same old material first gathered together in the mid nineteenth century by Agnes Strickland and utilised by successive historians ever since. Catherine was best served by Lacey Baldwin Smith whose biography of the queen was as full as the sources permitted. But there is nothing new or original here in Loades' study; nothing thought-provoking, insightful, or instructive. As with his `Mary Tudor', Loades opts for the simple narrative approach ("and then... and") and Catherine doesn't enter the narrative until page 83 (of 188); the rest is mere back-fill (Henry's earlier marriages, the Henrician reformation).
What is disappointing here is the disregard Loades has for any analysis. What did adultery mean in its sixteenth century (royal) context? How were virginity and chastity viewed? What do the royal wardrobe accounts tell us Catherine's time as queen? What about Catherine's portraiture - do we have an image of her or not? If not, why not? As Emertius Professor of History, Loades has a duty to go beyond the narrative and get into the analysis. The book's subtitle, "The adulterous wife of Henry VIII", says much: this is a hackneyed study, lacking depth and subtlety.
Loades is not well-served by Amberley's disastrous presentation of the work: blurred typeface and poorly reproduced images add nothing to the reading experience. Neither do the images add anything to the study: the same photos get reproduced in Amberley's Tudor series without any good reason. Why once more do we have the portraits of Anne Boleyn, Catherine of Aragon, Jane Seymour? We know these images. Where are the debated contenders for Catherine's portrait? Sloppy, lazy picture editing is a serious flaw here. The text, unfortunately, follows suit.
If you want to read a short but penetrating analysis of Catherine Howard turn to Wicked Women of Tudor England: Queens, Aristocrats, Commoners by Retha Warnicke (a chapter is devoted to Catherine). But let's hope a more intelligent full-length study of this interesting period in Henry VIII's marital career will be published soon.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 29, 2012 5:50 PM GMT

The Pillow Book (Penguin Classics)
The Pillow Book (Penguin Classics)
by Sei Shōnagon
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.69

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A glory of world literature, 31 Dec 2010
I first read this book (the Ivan Morris translation), way back in the mid 1980s when I was studying Japanese drama at University. I was recommended it by my tutor - a great man.
I LOVED Sei Shonagon from the moment I started to read her; she is snobish, priggish, judgemental, sensitive, witty, funny and always fascinating.
This new translation gets even closer to the spirit of this remarkable woman. It is a wonderful peak into the lost world of the Heian court and in spite of the distance in time and space, Sei Shonaghon's beautiful voice resonates loud and clear. Read it; I urge you!

Get On With Your Short Life
Get On With Your Short Life
Price: £11.08

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A new BK convert, 18 Aug 2005
I listened to this driving in my partner's car the other day. It gripped me straight away, so out I went and bought my own copy - together with Songs 2.
This is great stuff - solid, interesting lyrics, great melodies and a very engaging, clear, and emotive voice.
Go listen for yourself, and enjoy!

In a World of Gods and Goddesses: The Mystic Art of Indra Sharma
In a World of Gods and Goddesses: The Mystic Art of Indra Sharma
by James H. Bae
Edition: Paperback
Price: £31.39

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Breathtaking imagery to lift the spirit and the senses, 22 Mar 2003
I recieced an advanced copy of this large format book and I've poured over it for days now. The quality of the reproductions is wonderful; each page is saturated in rich colours and the glos finish on each image enhances the vitality of the picture. Indra Sharma's profound understanding ('oneness') with the Hindu pantheon is enlightening, moving and exciting. Do not hesitate to buy this volume if your interest lies in Hinduism, spitrituality, mythology, cultural studies or the iconography of religions.
A beautiful book.

One Last Time: A psychic medium speaks to those we have loved and lost
One Last Time: A psychic medium speaks to those we have loved and lost
by John Edward
Edition: Paperback

10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent and sensitive insight into life after life, 16 Mar 2002
I'll admit, I'm a fan of John Edward anyway, but this is the first of his books I've read. It is a user-friendly account of his early years as a medium and his developing ability to make contact with those who have crossed over. I have a strong belief in this myself, but it was good to hear my thoughts and aspirations voiced with such clarity, honesty and humanity by an expert in the field. While his descriptions of extraordinary 'readings' are very interesting, by far the best sections of the book are his own speculations on the nature of the soul, the process of death and the structure (if I can call it that) of the Other Side. Having recently lost a very dearly beloved grandmother, I used this book to help me through some difficult days and problematic questions. A very worthwhile book for those of us who already believe in life after life or those who are perhaps new to the subject and seeking to know something beyond the here and now.

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