LADY JANE GREY by Hester W. Chapman


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Hester Chapman, who re-examined the life and reign of Edward VI in The Last Tudor King (see p. 591, 1952), now turns the bright, even light of her scrutiny to his short-lived successor. Putting aside the soft glow of Lady Jane's posthumous glorification as a sweet martyr-victim, she reveals her as ""of the stuff of which the Puritan martyr is made; self examining, fanatical, bitterly courageous, and utterly incapable of the art of compromise in which the Tudors specialized"". Lady Jane's upbringing, her excitement in cultural pursuits -- the only consolation in a harsh world where her parents were perfectly willing first for Thomas Seymour, then for John Dudley to use her as a pawn to pave the way to their own desired power -- her own sense of responsibility and moral regret over accepting the crown even under duress and the momentary conviction that it was God's will, and her determined stand against Popism which cost her her life (Mary sent her best persuader to Jane in the Tower hoping to convert her and thus render her ineffectual as a focus of Protestant revolt, releasing her from the necessity of the death sentence), and her final harrowing moments at the block are portrayed with fine consideration for the many individuals, politics and principles involved. The portrait that emerges is hard-headedly admiring, far more comprehending and effectual as a monument to the doomed queen than a less vital approach. Limited to those who take to the intrigue of English history as an intellectual delight -- and to serious students.

Pub Date: Jan. 30th, 1962
Publisher: Little, Brown-A.M.P.