Author Topic: 'The Sisters who would be Queen'  (Read 5373 times)

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Offline s.v.markov

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'The Sisters who would be Queen'
« on: February 12, 2009, 02:37:05 PM »
A new book recently published here in UK ~ 'The Sisters who would be Queen' ~ The Tragedy of Mary, Katherine and Lady Jane Grey, by Leanda de Lisle (Harper Press, 2008). It's already on Amazon, with a good reduction in price. An excellent book, real scholarly history. The author gives us the 'brief life and grim times of Lady Jane Grey and her family in merciless clarity and dazzling detail. This is a marvellously told and quite terrifying biography' (Telegraph, 17.01.09). Don't expect the traditional Victorian portrayal of LJG as the hapless child-victim, but rather see a questioning, intelligent young woman with a sense of her own dignity and an unfailing Protestant faith. Unlike most books on this subject, this one does not end with Jane's execution, but goes on to look at the subsequent lives and deaths of her two sisters Katherine and Mary, who were both named as heirs to Elizabeth by their great uncle Henry VIII.

Offline Kimberly

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Re: 'The Sisters who would be Queen'
« Reply #1 on: February 12, 2009, 03:23:12 PM »
Ooh thanks for that info. I have always been particularly drawn to Mary Grey rather than her sisters. I think I will have to buy myself this as a Valentine's prezzie.
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Offline Prince_Lieven

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Re: 'The Sisters who would be Queen'
« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2009, 04:10:35 PM »
I was in England recently, so I bought the book there and finished it on the plane home. It's quite a good read, and de Lisle definitely puts a different spin on the traditional interpretation of Jane and especially of her mother Frances Brandon. There's also lots of stuff about Katherine and Mary Grey I didn't know. My only critiscism would be poor editing - at one point Lady Margaret Douglas is described as Mary Queen of Scots' 'cousin' (whereas she was in fact her aunt, as the family tree in the book shows!). That irritated me a bit, and so did de Lisle's propensity to repeat things about certain people over and over again, especially things like 'Francis Newdigate, Hertford's father-in-law' and 'Lady Arundell, who had been Mary's childhood friend Margaret Willoughby' . . . this is ok once or twice, but when it happens about three times a chapter you feel like shouting 'yes, I bloody know that Francis Newdigate was Hertford's father-in-law!!!!' Apart from that it's a good read though, not quite as good as her first book 'After Elizabeth' (in my opinion) but still not bad at all!
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Offline Mari

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Re: 'The Sisters who would be Queen'
« Reply #3 on: February 13, 2009, 03:20:52 AM »
Does the book go into this: And if so were all the Sisters treated harshly?


Then followed one of the most famous conversations in English history, recorded by Ascham in the vivid, informal style which made his work popular. He recalled his conversation with Lady Jane Grey in The Scholemaster (The Schoolmaster):

"Before I went into Germanie, I came to Brodegate in Lecetershire, to take my leaue of that noble Ladie Iane Grey, to whom I was exceding moch     beholdinge. Hir parentes, the Duke and Duches, with all the houshould, Gentlemen and Gentlewomen, were huntinge in the Parke: I founde her, in   her Chamber, readinge Phadon Platonis in Greeke, and that with as moch delite, as som ientleman wold read a merie tale in Bocase. After             salutation, and dewtie done, with som other taulke, I asked hir, whie she wold leese soch pastime in the Parke? smiling she answered me: I wisse, all their sporte in the Parke is but a shadoe to that pleasure, that I find in Plato: Alas good folke, they neuer felt, what trewe pleasure ment. And howe came you Madame, quoth I, to this deepe knowledge of pleasure, and what did chieflie allure you vnto it: seinge, not many women, but verie fewe men haue atteined thereunto. I will tell you, quoth she, and tell you a troth, which perchance ye will meruell at. One of the greatest benefites, that euer God gaue me, is, that he sent me so sharpe and seuere Parentes, and so ientle a scholemaster. For when I am in presence either of father or mother, whether I speake, kepe silence, sit, stand, or go, eate, drinke, be merie, or sad, be sowyng, plaiyng, dauncing, or doing anie thing els, I must do it, as it were, in soch weight, mesure, and number, euen so perfitelie, as God made the world, or else I am so sharplie taunted, so cruellie threatened, yea presentlie some tymes, with pinches, nippes, and bobbes, and other waies, which I will not name, for the honor I beare them, so without measure misordered, that I thinke my selfe in hell, till tyme cum, that I must go to M. Elmer, who teacheth me so ientlie, so pleasantlie, with soch faire allurementes to learning, that I thinke all the tyme nothing, whiles I am with him. And when I am called from him, I fall on weeping, because, what soeuer I do els, but learning, is ful of grief, trouble, feare, and whole misliking vnto me: And thus my booke, hath bene so moch my pleasure, & bringeth dayly to me more pleasure & more, that in respect of it, all other pleasures, in very deede, be but trifles and troubles vnto me. I remember this talke gladly, both bicause it is so

Offline s.v.markov

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Re: 'The Sisters who would be Queen'
« Reply #4 on: February 13, 2009, 03:54:55 AM »
Yes, Leanda de Lisle quotes this story ~ though not in the wonderful original language quoted by Mari above ~ in Ch. VII, pages 67ff. The author goes on to say that Ascham used the episode to support his theory that pupils did better if their teachers treated them kindly, but the passage has been misused since, as 'proof' of the cruelty of Jane's parents, especially her mother. Leanda de Lisle goes on to quote another letter written by Ascham to Jane a few months later. In this he makes his admiration for Jane clear, and adds the hope that her sister Katherine, then aged only ten, would one day follow in her footsteps. He had nothing but good words for her parents, who, he noted, delighted in her achievements. Her father had invested in Jane all the hopes a nobleman normally placed in a son ~ and that inevitably meant a rigorous, even harsh, educational regime (page 70). Read the book to see the rest.......!

Offline boleynfan

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Re: 'The Sisters who would be Queen'
« Reply #5 on: February 13, 2009, 07:44:48 PM »
Thanks so much for letting us know about this book.  It is a great subject.  Checked Amazon and it is not available until Oct 2009 in the States.  Yikes!

Offline ladyjanegreyref

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Re: 'The Sisters who would be Queen'
« Reply #6 on: April 03, 2009, 06:27:22 AM »
Hope this is ok to post this here.

Leanda de Lisle will be answering any questions you have about 'The Sisters Who Would Be Queen' at my blog.

See here for more details.

http://ladyjanegreyref.livejournal.com/25617.html