A Man for all Readers

Recently Heidi wrote about The Tudors in this blog, reminding me of my own failed attempt to watch that program. Which is not to fault the program - it’s likely that I would have really enjoyed it - if I had not read Wolf Hall first.

Wolf Hall is about Henry’s advisor Thomas Cromwell, and over the course of reading I had grown to think of Thomas Cromwell as ‘Cromwell my Cromwell’.

Throughout the book Hilary Mantel creates a feeling that you are sitting on Cromwell’s shoulder, experiencing the world with him, from the blacksmith’s son to the Cardinal’s councilor to the King’s chief minister. Through humiliation, manipulation, and the plague.

And I adored Mantel’s Cromwell, this extremely intelligent, ruthlessly pragmatic man, who loves his family so deeply and understands that they are all just as human as he is. The writing in Wolf Hall is not complex, but the ideas are -- power, the Reformation, the inevitably democratizing effects of literacy.

It gave me a hunger for more on the Tudors. So I tried A Man for all Seasons, various BBC documentaries, and The Tudors. None satisfied.

I only want ‘my Cromwell’, not other representations. Or the facts.