Thursday, 13 August 2009

Book review - Margaret of Anjou, Queen of England

Margaret of Anjou, Queen of England by Philippe Erlanger. (Published 1970)

(I gave this book two stars on Goodreads.)

This is not the best book written about Margaret of Anjou (check out Helen Maurer's work) but it is useful. The author is French (as I would have guessed even if his name had been Fred Bloggs) and it is his knowledge of the French aspects of Margaret's life that make this book of interest as these very aspects tend to be neglected by English/Anglophone authors and are yet (obviously) important.

On the other hand, when reading about English events in this work please check carefully against other sources. I found factual errors, most notably the presence of Margaret at the Battle of Wakefield, where she very definitely wasn't. There's odd things like Hastings being described as a kinsman of Earl Rivers. (He probably was, in some degree, but I doubt he boasted about it and it certainly wasn't his main selling point.) There were also bits of chronology that made me go - eh? If you really know your wars of the roses you will know what bits to disregard, but if you are still learning do not rely on anything in here as far as English history is concerned.

The author also has the common and infuriating habit of quoting great chunks of Shakespeare which have no place in a work of history. I knocked off a star for that alone as it is something that really cheeses me off.


Susan Higginbotham said...

A shame there isn't an up-to-date full-fledged biography of Margaret! I read somewhere that Anthony Goodman was writing one. I have the Bagley one, but even that's iffy in spots.

trish wilson said...

I've think I've found the Hastings-Rivers connection, The stepdaughter of Hastings, Cecily Bonville whose mother was Katherine. sister of Warwick (ooh these 2nd marriage)was the second wife of Thomas Grey, eldest son of Elizabeth Wydeville. One of their great granddaughters was Lady Jane Grey.

Brian said...

Susan, have you tried Joanna Laynesmith's work on queenship? If you can't get the book, the underlying thesis is on the web somewhere. Not a full biography, but useful.

Trish - thanks for this. I was pretty sure they would be a relationship. I think it would be hard to find a pair of nobles who weren't related.

trish wilson said...

I've already read Joanna Laynesmith's book 'The last medieval Queens - English Queenship 1445-1503. And yes it is available on the WEB

One week from now it will be the 524 anniversary of the Battle of Bosworth. No doubt there'll be the usual annual 'In Memoriam' in the Times.

But as some singer said' The times they are a-changing'

Susan Higginbotham said...

Thanks, Brian! I have the Laynesmith (both the book and the dissertation). It's invaluable.