Friday, 6 March 2009

Henry IV/Henry V Bibliography

I think it's about time for a Henry IV bibliography, and I've decided to include Henry V as well because I don't think I'll be saying much about his reign, or about him as a king. Partly because I dislike the guy.

Please check out the Richard II bibliography as well because some of those books are relevant, and I'm not going to repeat them here - unless I forget I've already quoted them.

Factual Books - Henry IV

Henry IV, Bryan Bevan - Easy read, summarises the reign but lacks full detail. Has the annoying habit of quoting Shakespeare.

Hotspur, Henry Percy, Medieval Rebel, A.W. Boardman. Focuses on Hotspur's military career, not much on his political or personal sides.

Owen Glyndwr, A G Bradley. Published 1901, but still useful.

The Usurper King, Marie Louise Bruce. Very useful if you want to know about Henry's early life; it does not cover his kingship.

Henry IV, J D Griffith Davies. Published 1938 and rather old-fashioned, but does have some useful quotes from primary sources.

The Revolt of Owain Glyn Dwr, R.R. Davies. Much quoted by me and simply invaluable.

Henry IV of England, John Lavan Kirby. Useful, but nothing spectacular.

Owen Glendower, J. E. Lloyd. Published 1931 and regarded as the classic account.

Lancastrian Kings and Lollard Knights, K B Mc Farlane

Fears of Henry IV, Ian Mortimer. Very pro-Henry, but worth reading. Mortimer is an excellent writer.

History of England under Henry the Fourth, J. H. Wylie. Four volume Victorian work, lots of data but very poorly edited. More to refer to than to read at a sitting. However, if you're interested in Henry IV, you need it. (Parts at least are on the internet.)

Factual Books - Henry V

Henry V, Christopher Allmand. The best and most comprehensive of the modern accounts.

Henry V and the Invasion of France, E F Jacob. Published 1947.

Henry V The Cautious Conqueror, Margaret Wade Labarge. Good account, albeit a bit brief.

Henry V and the Southampton Plot, T B Pugh. Another much quoted by me, and more useful than the title might suggest, particularly for the early history of the York family. Albeit, he does not rate Constance at all!

The Reign of Henry V, J H Wylie and W T Waugh. A massive three volume work, this is much better edited than Wylie's Henry IV work.


Rather a thin crop for Henry IV, but check out the Richard II bibliography as several of the novels there cover both, or even all three reigns.

Royal Sword at Agincourt, Pamela Bennetts. Read this years ago, but don't recall much about it.

Azincourt, Bernard Cornwell. Anyone who has read Cornwell will know what to expect. One error is that the Duke of York is called 'Thomas'.

Good King Harry, Denise Giardina. A remarkable novel. The hero, Henry V, is as noxious as I find the real king, so the author must have got him about right. Among other things, Giardina's Henry has an affair with Anne Mortimer and comes over as a proto Welsh nationalist. (This latter would have come to a surprise to the Welsh people he spent several years burning out and hanging but, hey, it's fiction.)

Harry the King, Brenda Honeyman. About Henry V but starts in Richard II's reign. Constance, Edward and Richard of Conisbrough appear as minor characters. Packs an awful lot into 192 pages.

Crown in Candlelight, Rosemary Hawley Jarman. Mainly about Katherine of Valois (Henry V's queen) but also has some weird Welsh stuff in it. Our own dear Philippa, Duchess of York, puts in a guest appearance as a minor character.

He Rides in Triumph, Philip Lindsay. A family of Lollards in Henry V's time, and a plot to kill the king.

Falstaff, Robert Nye. Not a book you would wish your wife or servants to read. In fact if you are offended by bad language and lurid sex, or just easily offended, period, you should not touch it with an extended barge pole.

A Bloody Field by Shrewsbury, Edith Pargeter. About the Percy rising of 1403 - rather romantic in tone. Hotspur is idealised in this even more than Ian Mortimer idealises Henry IV.

Owen Glendower, John Cowper Powys. Heavy-going but incomparably the best novel yet available about Owain.

A Servant of Ambition, Ian C Sharman. Henry IV's reign - contender for the worst novel I've ever read award.

The Captive Crown, Nigel Tranter. Although mainly set in Scotland, Henry IV's court is visited. Tranter changes history by reversing the outcome of a joust that actually happened! For me, this spoiled the book.


Susan Higginbotham said...

Thanks for the list! I have a novel by A. M. Maughan about Henry V called "Harry of Monmouth." Haven't read it yet--it was first published in 1956.

Alianore said...

Great overview! How come the Sharman novel is so awful? I'm not surprised about the error in the Tranter - his knowledge of Scottish history was encyclopedic, but I've spotted a lot of mistakes regarding English history in his novels.

Judy said...

I am happy to find someone who has so little regard for Henry V, that zealot. Thank you for the lists, it is very helpful for my humble amateurish purposes. I enjoy reading your blog.

Brian said...

Hi Susan - I mentioned the Maughan book in my Richard II bibliography so didn't want to repeat. It is a good one!

Brian said...

Hi Alianore,

The Sharman novel's worst aspect is the dialogue. It's awful! Despite my love of this era, I really struggled not to wall bang the thing before I reached p25.

Tranter reverses the outcome of a famous joust that Edmund Holland Earl of Kent won. Though I don't expect 100% accuracy, do expect invention (i.e.fiction) and can tolerate author bias, deliberately changing known historical events in pursuit of that bias is a bridge too far for me. You see, there are ways round these things. If he'd said Kent only won by cheating, for example, I'd have been fine with that.

Brian said...

Hi Judy,

Glad you are enjoying the blog and hope you continue to do so.

I'm afraid I find Henry V a very nasty piece of work. Passing lightly over his bloodthirsty ways, he also left an impossible legacy for Henry VI!

I know I am in a minority, as historians seem to find him the perfect hero-king. King Edward I was equally harsh and bloodthirsty, but at least he left some decent legislation behind him. I can't see what Henry V's legacy was, except maybe national pride. There was a huge price paid for that, first in French blood, then in English.

Susan Higginbotham said...

Duh! You're the one who got me to buy the Maughan book in the first place, I think!

Alianore said...

I can't stand Henry V either, and I'm glad to learn I'm not the only one! The man gives me the creeps.