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MILL ON ECONOMICS AND SOCIETY 101 compromised the research function.) I hope that technology will soon come to our rescue and preserve every misprint in some efficient way for the specialist, and permit tasteful, intelligently edited editions of great works on spacious pages for the more general reader. These animadversions, even if acceptable, bear more lightly On the present volumes tl,an on the Principles. If they are not acceptable - and the present canons of scholarships emphatically reject them - there is nothing but praise due to Professor Robson and his colleagues in this noble venture. (GEORGE J. STIGLER) HENRY VIII' It is strangely difficult to assess this important and original book. The author explains that he has written IIneither a 'private life' of Henry VIII, nor a comprehensive study of his life and times. Rather, it is something in between." He tells us that he has intended to keep the king at the centre of the canvas and for that reason has found little space for affairs in which he was not directly involved - social and economic matters - and the history of governmental institutions. No one familiar with the vast range of material available on early Tudor history can quarrel with this principle. However, the work remains a biography in the author's own eyes, and it is necessary to judge it as such. And as such, the author's emphases and omissions require more explanation than the desire to keep Henry at the centre of the canvas. It seems likely that the explanation is to be found in Mr. Scarisbrick's personal interests. For this book, for all its formidable scholarship, its admirable restraint, and its generosity towards the personalities who move through it, remains a highly personal document. For that reason it is not really the "standard" work to replace Pollard, as its publisher (and many reviewers) have claimed. But the comparison is not wholly unwarranted, because Scarisbrick's Henry VllI is a commanding figure set off by many new lights. If we come away feeling that he is still elusive and that we have not been given a fully realized picture of his achievement, we must recall that we have also moved a great distance from the firm constitutional and nationalistic assurances of A. F. Pollard. The first half of the book is dominated entirely by foreign policy and the impending crisis over Henry's marriage. Some distinguished historians (notably David Knowles) have objected to this, but it is difficult to deny that we learn much that is new. Mr. Scarisbrick makes the point that - contrary to Pollard - wars and the French ambitions were serious policy to Henry. Above all, he gives us a new estimate of Wolsey. We see him, not in terms of what later generations might have wished him to be, but as Henry found him - an immensely capable and loyal servant who carried the burden for the first half of the reign. He was the man chosen to effect what Mr. Scarisbrick "'J. J. Scarisbrick, Henry Vll1 . Berkeley & Los Angeles: University of California Press 1968. Pp. xiv, 561. $10.95. 102 JAMES KELSEY MCCONICA correctly designates as Henry's "old fashioned" choice about the direction of his kingship - the luxuries of war and flamboyant diplomacy, which hark back to the previous century, against the "unspectacular, civilian business of money-making and law-enforcement" which was the option of Henry vu. He rightly challenges the almost canonical thesis that it was Wolsey's combination of spiritual and temporal authority wbich paved the way for the royal supremacy. And he makes a convincing case for the view that Wolsey used his skills, whenever possible, to bring about European peace and disengagement from the continent. This was consistent with the humanist opinion of the day, as the author urges, but it is also true that the best minds in England joined in common rejoicing when he fell from the royal favour. This is a revised portrait of Wolsey and a timely one, but it is not yet the whole story. There are other important details. The Field of the Cloth of Gold, though extravagant, was more than vain display: it may have provided some tuition for a...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 101-103
Launched on MUSE
2015-07-01
Open Access
No
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