Saturday, August 28, 2010

Question from Lewis - Spanish Chronicle

Can you get The Spanish Chronicle online?


kb said...

I think the question is a little vague. Can you tell us anymore about this 'Spanish Chronicle'?

Lewis said...

I'm afraid I don't know any more, I've just often seed it in the references and bibliographies in books

Foose said...

I could never find it online. I had to hunt down a copy on one of the Internet book-finding services and have it sent from London.

The respected historian Martin Hume translated the Spanish Chronicle around the turn of the 19th century. He appeared to think it a genuinely contemporary document from the 16th century that related an eyewitness' account of various events in the Tudor dynasty, such as the Divorce, the king's subsequent marriages, the accession of Edward and Mary, Northumberland's treason, and more. I have seen it described as the account of one Antonio de Guaras, a Spanish merchant resident in London. Other sources cast doubt on this, and G.W. Bernard most recently describes it as the work of Catholic Elizabethans who disliked the queen (although it's not notably anti-Elizabeth, as far as I can see, or even offensively hostile to Anne Boleyn -- she even rates a "poor lady" on the scaffold. It does contain an orgy of Catherine of Aragon worship, though.)

It's full of what seem to be very weird errors for a contemporary eyewitness to make; the order of Henry VIII's fourth and fifth marriages are reversed, Anne's brother is a Duke, Katherine Parr's brother is "Lord Rochford." But it's also full of irresistible, if unsubstantiated, "you are there" anecdotes that are gossipy and insider-y and flesh out the stark facts on record (Katherine Parr slanging the Duchess of Somerset, the dish of "marmalade" that Anne orders brought to her chamber when the itch for Smeaton is upon her, the Imperial ambassador's efforts to communicate with Catherine of Aragon). I think many Tudor fiction writers have made and continue to make full use of the Spanish Chronicle, and some popular historians also seem to incorporate its stories into their narratives.

Perhaps it's available online through EEBO?

Susan Higginbotham said...

I believe this is it:

Foose said...

That's the puppy! Thanks for finding it -- I'm sure visitors here will enjoy looking through it and seeing where many popular Tudor anecdotes have come from.