Henry V: The Conscience of a King

Henry V: The Conscience of a King

by Malcolm Vale


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More than just a single-minded warrior-king, Henry V comes to life in this fresh account as a gifted ruler acutely conscious of spiritual matters and his subjects’ welfare

Shakespeare’s centuries-old portrayal of Henry V established the king’s reputation as a warmongering monarch, a perception that has persisted ever since. But in this exciting, thoroughly researched volume a different view of Henry emerges: a multidimensional ruler of great piety, a hands-on governor who introduced a radically new conception of England’s European role in secular and ecclesiastical affairs, a composer of music, an art patron, and a dutiful king who fully appreciated his obligations toward those he ruled.
Historian Malcolm Vale draws on extensive primary archival evidence that includes many documents annotated or endorsed in Henry’s own hand. Focusing on a series of themes—the interaction between king and church, the rise of the English language as a medium of government and politics, the role of ceremony in Henry’s kingship, and more—Vale revises understandings of Henry V and his conduct of the everyday affairs of England, Normandy, and the kingdom of France.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780300148732
Publisher: Yale University Press
Publication date: 09/27/2016
Pages: 328
Sales rank: 774,405
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Malcolm Vale is emeritus research fellow in history, St. John’s College, Oxford. He has written extensively on Anglo-French history and the cultural history of northern Europe during the Later Middle Ages. He lives in Oxford, UK.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements viii

List of Abbreviations xi

Prelude: Baptism of Fire xiii

Introduction 1

1 The Everyday Business of Kingship 15

2 'In mine own hand': the Personalisation of Kingship 62

3 The King and the English Language 88

4 The King and the Church I: Public Piety and Private Devotion 126

5 The King and the Church II: Prerogative, Power and the Papacy 161

6 The King and the Peaceful Arts 204

7 Last Will and Legacy 240

Conclusion 260

Appendix 280

Bibliography 284

Illustration Credits 297

Index 298

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