- Taschenbuch: 576 Seiten
- Verlag: Jonathan Cape (7. November 2013)
- Sprache: Englisch
- ISBN-10: 022409775X
- ISBN-13: 978-0224097758
- Größe und/oder Gewicht: 15,3 x 4,3 x 23,3 cm
- Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 3 Kundenrezensionen
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Elizabeth of York (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 7. November 2013
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"The compelling drama of Elizabeth's life, the traumatic perils she faced as a young woman, the murder of her brothers by Richard III and the later mystery of Perkin Warbeck, are richly presented." (Iain Finlayson The Times)
"A meticulous scholar... Weir sincerely admires her subject, doing honor to an almost forgotten queen" (New York Times)
"The great asset of this book is the combination of the political and the personal. Weir is a fine writer with a wonderful gift for description." (Linda Porter Literary Review)
"Weir has a shrewd sense of what will seize the imagination of the keen historical amateur." (The Independent)
"Weir adheres to the conventional story without giving much weight to new theories, preferring instead to stick with the facts about daily life for a Plantagenet princess-turned-Tudor queen." (Lesley McDowell Herald)
Britain's foremost female historian reveals the true story of this key figure in the Wars of the Roses and the Tudor dynasty who began life a princess, spent her youth as a bastard fugitive, but who finally married the first Tudor king and was the mother of Henry VIII.Alle Produktbeschreibungen
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Fraglos deckt das Buch verständlich und ohne Auslassungen die vielen geschichtlichen Ereignisse ab und Alison Weir geht auch immer wieder auf Detailfragen ein, die Interessierte an der Zeit beschäftigen. Allerdings handelt dieses Buch nicht von den Rosenkriegen oder der Herrschaft Henrys VII. in erster Linie, sondern von Königin Elizabeth - und ihr Leben und Persönlichkeit macht vielleicht ein Drittel des Inhalts; ein anderes Drittel sind die Rahmenereignisse.
Deutlich kristallisiert die Autorin dabei das Wesen Elizabeths heraus, die mehr Familien- als Machtmensch war und dabei eine Gottesfurcht an den Tag legte, die heutzutage wohl als abergläubisch gelten könnte. Hingegen zeigen viele zitierte Luxusrechnungen, dass Henry Tudor weniger ein Geizhals war, als dass Elizabeth sich nicht wirklich - aus Großzügigkeit - an ein Budget halten konnte. Leider wiederholt sich die Autorin dabei oft, was allerdings ebenso einen untermauernden Effekt hat. Das ergibt ein schlüssiges, dreidimensionales Portrait, das wirklich der Epoche entsprechend wirkt.
Das wäre ja schön und gut, wenn das dritte Drittel des Werks nicht aus Aufzählungen und somit aus Rechnungen, Mitarbeiterlisten, gekauften Stoffen, Kostümen, Festrequisiten und Speisen sowie deren Kosten mit damaligen und heutigen Preisen bestände!Lesen Sie weiter... ›
Die Tudorzeit wird lebendig und verständlich. Einiges davon hat sogar heute noch in Traditionen bestand und wird durch das Buch sehr gut erklärt.
Ein wenig mühevoll wird das 'Blättern', wenn man die sehr vielen Fußnoten oder den Stammbaum nachschlagen möchte.
Auch die Auflistungen von gezahlten Summen (als Nachweis für königliche Großzügigkeit ?) ist teilweise sehr langatmig und mühevoll zu lesen.
Durch das Buch wird die Person sehr gut gewürdigt, und ich habe den Eindruck, dass sie in der Geschichte einen größeren Platz einnahm als heute bekannt.
Sehr interessant, vielfältig, interessante Hintergründe und Beschreibungen der Residenzen.
Für England- Fans ein MUSS .
You are buying this book to get a different insight and the nitty-gritty details on Elizabeth by Alison Weir a British writer of historical novels. We transfer dry facts into a person we can remember.
The book is divided into chronological chapters. To help keep track of all the personalities there is a family tree chart. We also have an extensive Bibliography.
Richard III (Folger Shakespeare Library)
Henry VIII (Folger Shakespeare Library)
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Indeed, Weir spends a surprising amount of time telling us who Elizabeth of York wasn't: NOT a formidable, passionate and stubborn advocate like her granddaughter, Mary Tudor; NOT a brilliant, shrewd survivor who wields power with skill like her descendent and namesake Elizabeth I. Nor was she a phoenix capable of rising from the ashes of disappointment like great- grandchild Mary, Queen of Scots. No, says Weir. This Elizabeth, very much a woman of her time, is conventional. Happy to be consort even though she might have been regnant. Happy to be the pious, virtuous and ever-patient helpmate.
There is frequent repetition of the deep seeded misogyny of her day (all of it true) and one is almost ready to concur with Weir that we should appreciate Elizabeth (because of these constraints) merely as a survivor. Except......there were so many formidable women actually surrounding Elizabeth of York during her lifetime, that she comes off as a bit of a milksop in comparison. Her own mother, Elizabeth Wydeville was a shrewd manipulator of power and a fierce advocate of her family interest. Her mother-in-law Margaret Beaufort was relentless and successful in realizing her son's rather presumptuous ambitions. And her father Edward IV had no more implacable enemy than Margaret of Anjou who either went around an addle-brained husband or tried to drive over any member of the House of York who tried to thwart her ambition for her son.
So it is perfectly fine that Elizabeth of York was unlike the half dozen women mentioned above. It does however make her dull (or to put it more pleasantly--conventional). Any biography of her deeds is therfore something of a snooze--lots of details about how many yards of fabric she was given as queen (after the sixth or seventh listing I stopped caring) and how many prayer books she owned and what she inscribed them. There's even a few pages devoted to her penmanship (neater than her sister's I'm happy to report). Hence the....And Her World....
Weir does do a fine job of sorting out the ebb and flow of Yorkist fortune and astutely observes that Edward IV marriage to the base Elizabeth Wydeville would, decades later, plant the seeds of his House's self-destruction. Stomaching her mother's arriviste family was more than most Plantagenet could or would bear, and the premature death of her father left his heirs, male and female, exposed and vulnerable.
Weir deftly delves into the "who killed the little princes?" controversy, which shouldn't be all that controversial, IMHO, concluding it was almost surely Gloucester. I agree. In retrospect, the parts of the biography I liked best had little or nothing to do with Elizabeth of York. Odd praise for certain. It is when Gloucester assumes the throne that Weir makes a good case for its transformative effect on her subject. Briefly, and rather creepily, Weir shows that this now bastardized half-royal, in an effort to regain or secure her position was actually willing to marry the uncle who murdered her brothers, maternal uncles and brought her low.
It is a fascinating example of a person doing what is needed to survive and I wish Weir had explored it further. Of course an exploration could only be conjecture, but that resolute Elizabeth, determined to survive was infinitely more interesting than the pious devoted consort who occupies the last half of the book. Frankly, the final 15 years of Elizabeth's life is proof that virtue, while always commendable, can also be extremely irritating.
Apparently Elizabeth never objected to being slighted by her husband--with regard to her belated coronation or his miserly dower. Nor did she object to being upstaged by a willful mother-in-law. If your husband mistreats your own mother, canceling her dower, ah well, don't stir the pot. Should your husband's paranoia attaint your brother-in-law, devastating your sister's family, just go along to get along, even though Weir repeatedly tells us how devoted Elizabeth is to the close knit Wydeville clan.
Apparently instability and turmoil made Elizabeth of York as timid as a mouse and a bit of a doormat. Happily for her, constant acquiescence gained her husband's eventual, if hard won trust, but at what price? There is no consideration or discussion of what it must have cost her pride or dignity. In fact, one of the more bizarre passages asserts "there is no record of Elizabeth's reaction" to her brother-in-law's arrest for conspiracy and treason. Perhaps not, but I can imagine what any decent woman's response would be to a paranoid husband tearing her sister's family asunder--shock and horror seem likely to me, Ms. Weir. For some reason the author is loathe to draw even commonsensical conclusions like this for they obtrude into her thesis of the contented and pious good-deed-doer.
It is entirely plausible the petty but regular slights from Henry mask his own insecurities, and here I think Weir misses an opportunity. She is so determined we believe they genuinely loved each other (which I don't doubt) she fails to explore a very complex relationship where each needed but must also have resented the vulnerability such reliance imposes. Frankly, Elizabeth's claim to the throne was far superior than an upstart Welsh nobleman. Even if she made her peace with the need to subjugate her feelings, it had to have galled her. Further, one may come to love somebody without being blind to their misdeeds or bad behavior--most people have to do so. Weir however seems overly vested in the belief Elizabeth was not just happy, she was happier than most. But for the travail of lost children we might have been told blissful. It apparently never occurs to the author a contented facade can be a mask to conceal more complicated, but dangerous feelings.
Weir's less than thorough evaluation of Elizabeth and Henry's multi-layered relationship foreshadows my biggest qualm about the book--the author's depiction of Henry VII. Recent biographies like Penn's Winter King portray a miserly, paranoid whose spy
system and Star Chamber were akin to modern day secret police. This Henry VII was relentlessly determined to quash any threat, or even a perceived threat to his power. Weir doesn't even hint such a monarch reigned. At worst her Henry VII is a bit cheap and rather suspicious which led to some unfortunate behavior. One doesn't have to endorse portrayals as harsh as Penn's but any thoughtful evaluation should take his excesses into account. A hard look at the ruthlessness of Henry VII tells you much about the Henry who followed. Apples never fall far from the tree, as my grandma used to say.
The author insists: "Henry was often a cheerful, witty and congenial companion. He loved court ceremonial, music, cards, dice, gambling, and delighted in the antics of tumblers, jugglers [and] acrobats....to his children he was an attentive and loving father. Also he was a faithful and loving husband to Elizabeth. There is NO assessment of his hated tax system that squeezed all classes and revived the power of monarchy by lining his coffers; nor is there mention of the Star Chamber and spy system he perfected with thugs who could have taught Francis Walsingham a trick or two; ignored is the fact that for the most part, when he died, his nobles and subjects greatest emotion was tremendous relief. He had, to his credit, ended years of civil strife and the instability it entailed. But peace exacted other prices. And yes, Elizabeth did come to love him. But let us also remember this is a woman, who by the author's own investigation was proved willing to marry her murderous uncle Gloucester. If Henry was a catch then it is so only by comparison.
Looking back at Weir's effort I am surprised she attempted a conventional biography of Elizabeth of York. There are so many blanks in Elizabeth's life that "we simply don't know" becomes a too familiar refrain. As a result, there is lots of detail about those around her, not nearly enough about herself to be satisfy. And that which is known is almost always readily accepted at face value. Rarely does Weir scratch below the surface of the official, public version. For me that lead to a few spurious conclusions. When writing about a woman who lived 500 years ago, reasoned speculation is perfectly acceptable. What seems strange is to conclude that a life of such tumult and personal danger resulted in a character completely guileless and indifferent to the exercise of power; always complacent, ever content.
I liked Weir's fictional account of Lady Jane Grey. It was plausible, well-imagined and looked at the interior life of a historical figure whose life wasn't sufficiently documented for in depth biography. Relevantly, I think it portrayed how easily people can be swept along by events and to some extent be at their mercy. Elizabeth of York's life suffers similar gaps and blanks and therefore doesnt really lend itself to the author's approach. There is lots of information in Elizabeth of York, and much well-recounted history. But biography should impart a sense of having come to know its subject on some personal level. In that essential regard, Elizabeth of York doesn't succeed, the subject is still an enigma to me.
But as I read on, that 3-star rating began to wobble, and then slip, and eventually it went into a complete free-fall. There is no actual biography here; there is only a recycling of material from other books, with Elizabeth's life as a pasted-on theme. It turns out that there is a good reason that no in-depth biography has been written on Elizabeth of York. There is little to no source material on her, and what little there is portrays an utterly conventional woman of her times, who would be indistinguishable from a comely, flaxen-haired peasant lass from Middle-of-Nowhereshire, except that she happened to be the daughter, wife, and mother of kings.
Since there is nothing about which she can write, Weir resorts to her tried-and-true method (on abundant display in earlier works like the Swynford biography and The Princes in the Tower) of supposition and conjecture. Other reviewers have commented on the surplus of phrases containing "Elizabeth must have," "Elizabeth probably," Elizabeth would have," etc. etc., and it was painfully apparent from nearly the beginning of the book. Weir says in her introduction that "there is sufficient evidence from which to draw conclusions about Elizabeth's character," but I'll be damned if I saw much evidence at all in the pages that followed.
Instead, the reader is treated to text-padding of the first order, as we are led through the entire history of the Wars of the Roses, and then (and this should come as no surprise to readers of Weir) something which appears to be a prosecution brief against Richard III, who apparently is guilty of all the sins in the calendar. Henry Tudor becomes King and proceeds to take over the biography (except for when Elizabeth has children, attends church and/or shrines, or spends money) until Elizabeth dies 17 years later. There is virtually nothing here that Weir has not written about before --- even the confusing excursus about Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn (which really makes no sense whatsoever, except that it adds a few more pages of text). If she were to distill the text down to the basic facts about Elizabeth and why she is important, Weir would be left with probably a 50-page pamphlet.
And so I am left with a thoroughly useless biography which I feel richly deserves this 1-star rating. I know nothing more about Elizabeth of York than I did when I began the book. The other information might be of use to readers who are new to the period, but for those who are better-versed, the book is (again) useless, and unmistakably biased as well. I suppose it is my mistake for expecting something more illuminating.
As other reviewers have noted, there is not much record of what these people actually felt and thought. What we have is limited record of what they did, but not why. Weir fills this gap with ample speculation based on nothing much beyond her interpretation. Frankly, Josephine Tey did a much better job in "The Daughter of Time" with her speculation and interpretation whether or not it was ultimately correct.
Weir has annoyingly strung together every description of Henry VII she could find without considering the sources, their motivations, their possible biases, and their access to first hand information. This leaves the reader with an indigestible lump of adjectives but no real picture of the person. Nor did she weigh the descriptions against known actions. She gives much weight to the opinions of Francis Bacon which were written 100 years after the events without any personal knowledge but with the spin of the Tudor era. It leaves the reader with a headache.
I was particularly annoyed by the speculation that Henry VII might have resented the rumors that Elizabeth might have been interested in marrying Richard III. Weir returns to this several times, ignoring the fact that medieval princesses tended to be betrothed and unbetrothed multiple times as political needs changed before they married. Henry and Elizabeth didn't know each other before they married. Their marriage started as a political union whatever it eventually became. I don't think we need half-assed romance novel speculations here.
I did not find Weir's arguments that Richard III killed the "princes in the tower" convincing. While I recognize that the truth is unknowable, I am still inclined to think that Henry VII and/or his supporters were behind it. Weir twists and turns to try to convince us that Henry VII knew nothing about it, but is not convincing. Henry needed Elizabeth legitimate and therefore needed her equally legitimate brothers dead or else we would have Edward V on the throne. Richard merely needed them illegitimate as they were declared by Parliament. And we have the pattern of judicial murder practiced by Henry VII and Henry VIII against their political adversaries which Weir seems to consider good policy.
So I think this book so far is a mixed bag. I will continue reading and may update this review.
Dipping back into the family she has previously written so well about (The Princes in the Tower, etc) , Weir’s writing maintains the fluid and exciting style I have found in her previous works; the work of a historian and the flair of the historical fiction author.
It may seem odd to find such a large volume on a woman, whose life has some documentation holes and gaps, but Weir is able to pull things together. On occasion, she makes some conclusions where previous historians (including herself) has tread, that may seem at odds with other recent work by other historians, but that is part of the difficult of work during this time period.
All in all, fans and readers familiar with Weir’s previous work will enjoy this book and not find too many surprises, but newcomers may be a bit overwhelmed by the scope of the book, amount of detail and people mentioned. Nonetheless, it is worthwhile and engaging. Some readers may do themselves good by getting a more basic overview of the time and players before tackling the book, but she won’t leave you behind in the narrative. 4 Stars.
Disclaimer: I received an Advanced Reader's Copy from the publisher through Goodreads.com.
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