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Reviews 167 average within the constraining circumstances. But does the character Lee so accurately delineates constitute the successful king he claims to discover? James's Scottish upbringing provided a mixed education in kingship, instilling both good and bad habits foUowed consistently throughout his Ufe and reigns. O n the plus side he learnt the value of keeping his options open: an avoidance of rash initiatives seen at Hampton Court and in his foreign policy after 1603. Both his preference for consensus and short-term tactical concessions rather than belligerent intransigence and also his patience and tenacity in pursuing goals explain both his Scottish successes in Church and State and his partial success, partial because he failed to adapt his methods to different circumstances, in winning over the English political nation, whether in the locaUties, the Court or the very occasional Parliament. Yet on the negative side the favourite of his adolescence, Esm6 Stuart, instiUed in James a convenient but dangerous inteUectual arrogance, an assumption that being more talented in more ways than others he was able to ignore business and still be successful by working in concentrated bursts. A typical inteUectual therefore, self-indulgent and an habitual idler, James lacked the dihgence to operate the more elaborate English governmental machine at full capacity, a fading which turned great state occasions into confused riots but more importantly explains the failure of the 1621 Partiament because of the king's absence at Newmarket. James's avoidance of the minutiae of governance explains the rise of Buckingham as both the king's man of affairs and as thefilterfor the patronage requests which the chronicady extravagant king could not refuse. All this and much more is skilfully dissected in this book, but the one glaring consequence of James's character weaknesses is not mentioned. James may have left Charles a united, peaceful kingdom, but he left that kingdom a king who was clearly unfitted for the task. James's incorrigible self-indulgence in the joys of kingship led him to neglect Charles's political education so that he inherited all of his father's weakness and none of his strengths. In that much perhaps Sir Walter was not so wide of the mark after aU. Glyn Parry Department of History Victoria University of Wellington Levin, Carole, Propaganda in the English Reformation: heroic and villainous images of King John (Studies in British history, II), Lewiston, The Edwin Mellen Press, 1988; cloth; pp. xi, 303; R. R. P. ? The reign of King John contained events of considerable relevance to the postReformation world. T w o questions central to that world could be addressed through the example of John: the proper relationship between kings and the church, and the relationship between kings and their subjects. Carole Levin's 168 Reviews book examines the uses made of John's reign by political writers and dramatists in the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. It begins with the medieval chronicle tradition, which portrayed John as a monster of iniquity. In the 1530s a number of early Protestant writers, including Tyndale and Bale, developed a 'heroic' view of John. The heroism lay mainly in John's anti-papalism, and was taken up by Thomas Cromwell as useful propaganda for the changes of the 1530s. Later in the century this image of John began to fade, and the 'wicked' John made a repeat appearance. Naturally, this was most obvious in the writings of Elizabethan Catholics, who substantially followed the medieval chronicles in seeing John as a wicked enemy of the church who was jusdy the object of the rebelhon of his subjects. But even Protestants in Elizabeth's reign moved away from the heroic image of John. In Levin's view, it no longer suited their argumentative needs. The subject is clearly one of considerable potential interest and much of the material presented in Levin's book is useful. However, it is also seriously marred by a thoroughly inadequate analytical and interpretative framework, especially when w e move beyond the 1530s. Levin concentrates narrowly on two things: the image of John and the argumentative needs of English Protestantism. Anything outside of this, however relevant, is ignored. The problems that flow from this...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1832-8334
Print ISSN
0313-6221
Pages
pp. 167-169
Launched on MUSE
2013-04-03
Open Access
No
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