the TUDOR TUTOR

Your cheeky guide to the dynasty

Mediocre Expectations

Charles Dickens was a man of many words. Many, many, many, many words. I don’t know how well his books would go over if they were newly-released today because most people have the attention span of a gnat. But part of his appeal, at least to me, is the gorgeous way he serves up succulent sentences full of the finest detail.

I love me some Charles Dickens, but the man could not say the same about our Henry VIII, apparently. In his Child’s History of England (used in British schools well into the 20th century), Mr. Dickens had these many, many words for the much-married monarch:

“Bluff King Hal [was]…one of the most detestable villains that ever drew breath…He was a big, burly, noisy, smelly, small-eyed, large-faced, double-chinned, swinish looking fellow in later life (as we know from the likenessess of him, painted by the famous Hans Holbein), and it is not easy to believe that so bad a character can ever have been veiled under a prepossessing appearance…He was as most intolerable  ruffian, a disgrace to human nature, and a blot of blood and grease upon the History of England.”

So, no questions then?

You can read Dickens’ history book online here; if you are only interested in the Tudor bits, they fall between pages 145 and 193.

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3 Comments

  Rex Bibendi wrote @

Wow! That description by Dickens is almost enough to make poor old Hal turn in his grave while giving out a loud wail.

  Anonymous wrote @

He didn’t like Henry at all, did he? :-p So many adjectives!!

  Bill Barber wrote @

Other than that, what did Dickens think of Henry?


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