King Henry VIII was one of the most intelligent and widely read monarchs of the renaissance. From surviving catalogues, which tell us what books he had, it is clear he was deeply involved in theological debate and monastic history, especially when moving to the break with Rome. At the same time, he was a Humanist scholar ahead of his time in all the liberal arts, especially music and poetry. Equally, most of his wives were also avid readers who collected a variety of books.
In this important new work, leading scholar James P. Carley describes Henry VIII's books and their significance for a deeper understanding of this seemingly familiar monarch and his wives. The extensive illustrations allow us to examine the binding and content of the collection, as well as providing some examples of marginalia in Henry's own hand.
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James P. Carley is a distinguished research professor in the Department of English at York University.