Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Question from LH - Under-explored aspects of Henry VIII's reign

I’m interested in doing a research degree on an aspect of the reign of Henry VIII. I’m not interested in wars or laws – any ideas which aspects need further research?


kb said...

You might want to look at women of the court. Not the queens but the ladies. One aspect I find missing is research on foreign women at court. For example, why would high ranking women of France visit Henry's court? You could start with the Spanish ladies who accompanied Katherine of Aragon and work your way through he wives or take specific women unattached to queens. Did they exhibit any agency, or influence. You could look at Charlotte Merton's excellent doctoral thesis on 'The Women who served Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth'(Trinity College, Oxford, 1992) for an example. Or perhaps my own thesis on the political power of kinship networks 'No other faction but my own': Dynastic Politics and Elizabeth I's Carey Cousins (University of Nottingham, 2008).

kb said...

I thought of something else - book culture. Books were starting to come into England and to be printed in England. There are lots of ways to approach book culture. You can look at printing techniques, printers, censorship, content of what is being printed, ownership, importing, translation, etc.

Mary R said...

One thing that I've always have thought that was never properly explored was the roles that women took while their men were at war.

From the Crusades through the English Civil War, women acted as castellons/dispensers of justice, they withstood sieges, acted as regents (see K of A) and basically "kept the home-fires burning".

The one question almost no one has explored is this: What was it like for a woman to go from someone who had the ultimate authority, to suddenly become someone who was supposed to bow to the authority of a husband (who may or may not have been intelligent or had any clue about what might have transpired during his absence)?