Thomas Cogswell, James I: The Phoenix King (Penguin Monarchs), (London: Allen Lane, 2017)
Thomas Cogswell’s biography is recognisably one of the Penguin Monarchs series. That means it’s concise (just 109 pages) and informative; a good general introduction to the king who succeeded Elizabeth. For those studying Shakespeare or the Early Modern period, the information about James’ early life is useful and potentially revealing.
AD Swanston, Incendium, (London: Bantam Press, 2017)
This is the first in a new series, and much as I love this period (and am increasingly interested in historical fiction) I’m not convinced I’ll follow Christopher Radcliff’s adventures. Not, at least, at full price.
‘Most students away from these UK shores adore Shakespeare.
In his homeland, unless you catch them young, a dislike gets deep under the skin and stays engrained, enduring wind and weather.’ Ben Crystal [a]
Welcome to my world …
Claiming some kind of unanswerable ownership of Shakespeare based on his nationality is the last thing on my mind, akin to the idiocy of him being some kind of class signifier (or adopting the Turkish hero, St George, as England’s patron). There’s a frustrating, illogical irony to these bigoted attitudes which I have blogged before about. And, bear in mind, I was not born in England.
PF Chisholm, A Famine of Horses (London: Head of Zeus, 2016)
This was a promising start to a series by Chisholm, who also writes as Patricia Finney. Although our hero is a historical figure, and some of his exploits are based on actual events, there was something refreshing and interesting about setting the novel so far from the usual world of court intrigue and plots to kill Elizabeth. Neither is our hero conventionally heroic, or handsome, or some kind of Elizabethan übermensch, as we see too often in historical fiction.
… and we’re back to school today, for another year’s fun and games.
Cue all kinds of traffic on Twitter and elsewhere on-line: pre-battle speeches from the veterans; advice sought by the newbies, and given by the self-styled ‘influencers’; new teaching-year resolutions declared; virtue-signalling pictures of classroom displays, and so on …
Have I got anything to add to the Babel? Not really. I’d rather chat about Literature …