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jerryking : protestant_reformation   16

Hilary Mantel’s Triumphant New Novel Brings Thomas Cromwell Across the Finish Line
March 3, 2020 | The New York Times | By Parul Sehgal.

“The Mirror and the Light” is the triumphant capstone to Mantel’s trilogy on Thomas Cromwell, the son of a blacksmith who rose to become the consigliere of Henry VIII and architect of the English Reformation......“Wolf Hall,” the first book in the series, begins mid-scene, in a galloping present tense. Cromwell is a teenager and lying in his own vomit, enduring one of his father’s brutal beatings. His eyes leak blood; he is frightened that he has gone blind. It is the last time we will encounter him with his vision obscured.....He flees home, and from that moment on, he will distinguish himself with an ability to perceive a path for himself, to seize opportunity in the midst of chaos. He searches for the nearest war and enlists as a mercenary (“at least, as a soldier of King Louis, he was paid to receive blows”). He serves in the counting houses of Italy and the banks of Antwerp, rises to become the right hand of the doomed Cardinal Wolsey and later the king himself.......Mantel might best be compared to Robert Caro, the biographer of Robert Moses and Lyndon Johnson, the great anatomizer of political power....They share an interest in what power reveals and conceals in human character. Intimate knowledge, of the self and others, is among Cromwell’s most reliable weapons. “Tell me what you want, I’ll get it” is his mantra. But his subtlety, his crooked genius, lies in never needing to be told; he divines what you desire, before you know it yourself......The curtain here rises on Cromwell in 1536. He is 50 years old, rich beyond all his imagining and very much alone. A sickness carried off his wife and two daughters years ago. He is the king’s chief confidant and fixer, although his primary duty is now “to get the king new wives and dispose of the old.” He admits: “I am running out of ladies.”....A blacksmith makes his own tools, Mantel writes. Rumor and insinuation are Cromwell’s favorites; he throws what mud he can and sees what sticks.....Henry VIII"s marriage to the docile Jane Seymour is the beginning of Cromwell’s undoing. A man who has worked in the shadows is now too visible, envied and feared...... Cromwell is a different creature, less tentative and more ruminative. .... “A man’s power is in the half-light,” Cromwell thinks to himself. “It is the absence of facts that frightens people: the gap you open, into which they pour their fears, fantasies, desires.” ... It is too facile to regard the Cromwell as a Machiavellian monster of self-interest.... In his road-building projects that employed the poor lie the foundations of the welfare state.
anti-hero  books  Carpe_diem  consigliere  fiction  éminence_grise  Hilary_Mantel  historical_fiction  novels  political_power  Protestant_Reformation  Robert_Caro  royal_courts  the_English_Reformation  Thomas_Cromwell  Tudors 
4 weeks ago by jerryking
Thomas Cromwell: the man who made modern England
September 13, 2018 | Financial Times | by Kate Maltby.

Thomas Cromwell: A Life, by Diarmaid MacCulloch, Allen Lane, RRP£30, 728 pages
biographies  books  book_reviews  Hilary_Mantel  Protestant_Reformation  Tudors  United_Kingdom 
september 2018 by jerryking
Keep God in the calendar
Apr. 19 2003 | - The Globe and Mail | JOHN IBBITSON.

There could be no more perfect way for a political party to guarantee its defeat at the next election than to take God out of the calendar. The Ontario government won't even end public funding for Catholic schools, though they're an egregious example of religious discrimination. Christians are not a constituency to be messed with.

But there are other reasons, more deeply embedded (will it be possible to rescue that word?) in our collective political psyche for retaining Christian holidays, for beginning daily sessions of federal and provincial parliaments with Christian prayer, for keeping God in the national anthem.

They remind us that Canada is blessed to be a liberal democracy, and that liberal democracy is the product of Christian civilization, and specifically of Protestantism.

Why is that? Why didn't Islam achieve the separation of church and state necessary for democracy to evolve? Why did Buddhist or Hindu or Confucian or Shintoist Asia not generate responsible, constitutional government even once?

The reasons are many, conflicting, and disputed. But Christianity was a part of it. The root religion of Judaism stressed the importance of the individual, who alone could save himself from darkness by embracing God. Judaic tradition, infused by Greek philosophy, imbued Christianity with a tradition of rationalism, skepticism and inquiry. The resistance of northern Europeans to dictatorial Rome brought about Protestantism, with its emphasis on the absolute sovereignty of each individual in his relations with God. If with God, then why not with the state? And the citizen was born.

(And scientific inquiry, and free trade, and the Industrial Revolution. The price was centuries of drab and uncomfortable clothing. Protestants are the worst-dressed people on Earth.)

Democracy, it turns out, is an exportable product. It has taken root in Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist societies, although the further it gets from Protestantism, the more fragile it becomes. Southern Europe came late to democracy, Latin America even later; in Asia and Africa, democracy is still the exception more than the rule.

Which is why even a nation as culturally diverse as Canada does well to remember that our democracy is rooted in the Christian tradition, that our political freedoms and social tolerance flow from that tradition, that it is not an oxymoron to describe Canada as a secular Christian nation.
religion  Christianity  Canada  history  democracy  human_psyche  Protestant_Reformation  John_Ibbitson  constituencies 
december 2013 by jerryking
Give Credit to Christianity -
December 11, 2002 | WSJ | Van B. Moeller.

The cause of this education and prosperity is the Protestant Reformation, who freed the Bible from its Roman prison. They translated it from Latin into the common tongues of Europe and taught it to anyone who wanted to learn. Mr. Henninger gives credit to our nation's Founding Fathers for our "progress, pluralism, tolerance and freedom." Certainly they are worthy of our gratitude, but they in turn were indebted to those who preceded them.
letters_to_the_editor  Christianity  Protestant_Reformation 
may 2012 by jerryking
Wolf Hall
21 May 2009 | New Statesman | Review by Rachel Aspden of Hilary
Mantel's Wolf Hall. In the hands of Hilary Mantel, Tudor kitsch
becomes something darker and less digestible. Wolf Hall takes a forensic
slice through a nation caught between feudalism and capitalism, the
Middle Ages and modernity, Catholicism and the revolutionary doctrines
emerging from the Continent. Memories of the disastrous dynastic wars of
the previous century are still fresh, and fears of another are growing.
As there is little national, so there is no personal, security: noble
and commoner alike are only ever a step away from their legal
transformation into a mangled corpse or a smouldering residue of “mud,
grease, charred bone”.

Mantel’s hero for this age of uncertainty is Thomas Cromwell....he is a
champion of reason and – unlike other, less scrupulous members of the
nobility – of the rule of law.
book_reviews  novels  england  royal_courts  fiction  the_English_Reformation  forensics  éminence_grise  Hilary_Mantel  Tudors  feudalism  Protestant_Reformation  protagonists  Middle_Ages  Thomas_Cromwell  historical_fiction 
july 2010 by jerryking
The Men Who Made England
March 2010 | The ATLANTIC MAGAZINE | By Christopher Hitchens.
Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall is a service to the history it depicts, and
puts the author in the very first rank of historical novelists.
book_reviews  Christopher_Hitchens  history  Thomas_Cromwell  fiction  royal_courts  the_English_Reformation  éminence_grise  Hilary_Mantel  Tudors  Protestant_Reformation  protagonists  Middle_Ages  historical_fiction 
july 2010 by jerryking
Book Review: Hilary Mantel's 'Wolf Hall' -
OCTOBER 10, 2009 | Wall Street Journal | by MARTIN RUBIN who reviews "Wolf Hall" By Hilary Mantel
Henry Holt, 532 pages, $27.
book_reviews  United_Kingdom  History  royal_courts  Thomas_Cromwell  éminence_grise  Hilary_Mantel  Tudors  Protestant_Reformation  protagonists  Middle_Ages  historical_fiction 
october 2009 by jerryking

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