Sunday, June 08, 2014

My Year With Jane: History of England

History of England. Jane Austen. 1977. 64 pages. [Source: Book I Bought]

Jane Austen's The History of England is a short and worthy read for any lover of Austen OR for any lover of British history. Austen does not seek to cover every single king or queen in her "history." She begins with Henry IV and ends with Charles I. Some monarchs get only one or two paragraphs. Others get much more attention. But more attention does not equal favorable attention. After all, this isn't a history book by a historian. No, never forget that this history is "by a partial, prejudiced, and ignorant" historian.

I would definitely recommend this one! Have you read this one? Do you have a favorite "history of England" book to recommend?
Henry VI: "I cannot say much for this Monarch's sense. Nor would I if I could, for he was a Lancastrian. I suppose you know all about the Wars between him and the Duke of York who was of the right side; if you do not, you had better read some other History, for I shall not be very diffuse in this, meaning by it only to vent my spleen against, and shew my Hatred to all those people whose parties or principles do not suit with mine, and not to give information. This King married Margaret of Anjou, a Woman whose distresses and misfortunes were so great as almost to make me who hate her, pity her. It was in this reign that Joan of Arc lived and made such a row among the English. They should not have burnt her —but they did. There were several Battles between the Yorkists and Lancastrians, in which the former (as they ought) usually conquered. At length they were entirely overcome; The King was murdered—The Queen was sent home—and Edward the 4th ascended the Throne."
Edward IV: "One of Edward's Mistresses was Jane Shore, who has had a play written about her, but it is a tragedy and therefore not worth reading."
Henry VIII: "It would be an affront to my Readers were I to suppose that they were not as well acquainted with the particulars of this King's reign as I am myself. It will therefore be saving them the task of reading again what they have read before, and myself the trouble of writing what I do not perfectly recollect, by giving only a slight sketch of the principal Events which marked his reign." 
 Bloody Mary: "This woman had the good luck of being advanced to the throne of England, in spite of the superior pretensions, Merit, and Beauty of her Cousins Mary Queen of Scotland and Jane Grey. Nor can I pity the Kingdom for the misfortunes they experienced during her Reign, since they fully deserved them, for having allowed her to succeed her Brother—which was a double peice of folly, since they might have foreseen that as she died without children, she would be succeeded by that disgrace to humanity, that pest of society, Elizabeth. Many were the people who fell martyrs to the protestant Religion during her reign; I suppose not fewer than a dozen. She married Philip King of Spain who in her sister's reign was famous for building Armadas. She died without issue, and then the dreadful moment came in which the destroyer of all comfort, the deceitful Betrayer of trust reposed in her, and the Murderess of her Cousin succeeded to the Throne.——" 
© 2014 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


The Reader said...

Where did you get this book? I am an Austen fanatic and have been looking around trying to find it!! You are very lucky to hold such a copy by one of the world's greatest writers!! Can't wait to read it now myself!!

Sherry said...

Whoa! Why doesn't she tell us how she really feels about Elizabeth!