Alice’s Restaurant

May 2, 2007

Three Men and a Tudor.

Filed under: Henry VIII, History with Mr. Al, Research — aliceaudrey @ 10:42 pm

Mr. Al has written a very long piece of Tudor history.  I asked him to slice off a piece for me, and this was the result:

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In November of 1529, Henry was still in love with Anne. But the strain to her of keeping a guy like Henry at arms length for five years was taking its toll. Although she didn’t seem to mind making enemies among those who were outside her family faction, her increasingly short temper and vindictive nature drove away people who’s support she needed. Although only time would make clear just how badly she would need them. For the moment it was stiff upper lip and soldier on. And then three old school mates had dinner together in Essex.
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Thomas Cranmer was not the sort of fellow one would expect to fill a position of power. His career as a theologian was, seemingly, permanently derailed when he married a barmaid. He lost both wife and child when she died in childbirth. He returned to Cambridge, picked up where he left off; graduated and settled down to a quite life of an academic. Then he bumped into his old chums, Fox and Gardenier. These gentlemen were just returning from Rome as Henry’s ambassadors to the Vatican. Naturally, they had no good news to deliver.

 After discussing the Great Matter over dinner, Cranmer brought up a point that no one had considered before. If his majesty was seeking an annulment, rather than a divorce, why bother with the Pope at all? A royal divorce requires the Pope because it involves Canon Law. An annulment, on the other hand, based as it is on Scriptural interpretation, should require only the agreement of Biblical scholars. Heck, one needn’t even leave the country to get that! Call a big conference of England’s leading theologians, have ’em kick it around and whatever they decide settles the matter! Cranmer did have the presence of mind to point out that Henry would have to abide by whatever decision was reached, favorable or not, otherwise the whole proceeding would be a farce. As he told his old schoolmates, “You might this way have made an end to the matter long since.”
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One can imagine Gardenier and Fox looking at one another and thinking the same thought. “It can’t be that easy.” It wasn’t, but it sure beat waiting on a decision from Pope Clement! It also meant that they were not returning to Henry empty handed after all. Henry was very receptive to this new thinking for any number of self-serving reasons. So happy were the Boleyns, father and daughter, at the news about the New Idea that Pere Boleyn, at Henry’s suggestion, gave Cranmer a roof over his head in London while he was working out the details of his plan.
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Cranmer suddenly found himself in the middle of the Henry marriage drama. Henry was waking up to the fact that his marriage problem had wider implications indeed. Many men around the king saw that also. This could be the “wedge issue” they needed to push church reform to the head of the agenda.
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Personal ambition aside, the Boleyns were committed to church reform. It was an issue both felt very strongly about. Although how Sir Thomas squared his hatred of church corruption with the fact that he was, personally, crooked as a dogs hind leg and ready to pimp his daughters to further himself is a bit of a mystery. Nevertheless, with the solution to the Great Matter seemingly in hand, Henry moved to make Anne queen in all but name. She moved into Whitehall Palace and was given all the attendants a queen would expect. Dad was elevated to an Earldom, of Wiltshire, which automatically made Anne, Lady Anne Boleyn. Her brother George became Viscount Rochford.
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To celebrate, Henry threw a feast in dad’s honor. Anne took precedence over all the ladies of the court. She sat at Henry’s right hand, on the Queens throne. That was okay because Katherine hadn’t been invited. Something that caused tongues to wag. If Anne wasn’t worried about the opinions of others, Henry was. Henry was king and he knew he could not ignore The People entirely, if, for no other reason, than they made life unpleasant for the Great Families, who, in turn, let Henry know he was stirring up a hornets nest and they were the ones who would most likely get stung first. Those nobles not directly connected with the Boleyn faction at court were getting restless. Those nobles, and there were more than a few, who supported the Queen were getting downright hostile.
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Christmastime at court was always an occasion for grand banquets, masques and general merrymaking. Usually, the Queen would be much in evidence at this time. The Christmas of 1529 would be different. The Queen had not been invited to participate in any fashion. This caused a great deal hostile comment. The hostility was spreading to Europe. The Emperor Charles was actively trying to convince Katherine that an invasion was the only solution to her problems. Having temporarily settled affairs with France, he was ready, willing and able to tackle England. Katharine wouldn’t hear of it. She pointed out, quite rightly, that it would be a public relations disaster for a Queen of England to invite a foreign power to invade her own realm. Women! They just don’t get it! Was Charles’s take on her attitude.

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Because of the Emperor, and a number of other reasons, Henry decided he was being a bit hasty. One big stumbling block was Archbishop of Canterbury Warham, a very vocal opponent of Henry’s annulment plans. Not an easy fellow to get rid of without causing an ungodly fuss. It wasn’t until his death, in the summer of 1532, that Henry felt he could safely put Katherine aside for good. Warham’s body wasn’t even cold when Henry appointed Cranmer to take his place. By this time Cranmer was about as close to Anne as a guy could get without being a lover. He was ready to pronounce Henry’s marriage to Katherine annulled, Pope or no Pope. So confidant was Anne that all would soon be right with the world that she went ahead and slept with Henry.
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The change in Henry was noticeable at once.

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If Anne’s enemies hoped Henry would lose interest once he got what he wanted, and they had good reason to believe this would be so, they were quickly disabused of that notion. Henry was more in love than ever. If it was love. Henry’s behavior seems, to the modern eye, more like sexual obsession than love. After finally bedding Anne, Henry couldn’t stand to have her out of his sight for long. A very bad sign for Anne. She apparently didn’t catch it. Fat lot of good it would have done her even if she had.
She also had a little surprise for Henry on their Big Night.

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Yep, he left us hanging again!  Hopefully he’ll have another section ready for us next week.
Alice

Truth in Critique

Filed under: Writing Life — aliceaudrey @ 11:00 am

Probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my writing career is critique other people’s writing.

You may have noticed I’m a big fan of balance.  I seriously believe everything in life comes down to it.  Critique is no exception.  In critique the balance is between truth and encouragement.

It’s easy to critique someone who doesn’t need it.  Then truth and encouragement come together for form one big “Wonderful!  Excellent!  Send it out!”  That leaves the other 80 percent of us who are struggling to achieve some level of excellence in our work and NEED feedback to help get us there.

The more the writer needs the feedback, the harder it is to come up with a critique that is both truthful and encouraging.  Sometimes simply being truthful is a burden because there are so many things wrong with a piece.  Then encouragement might come in the form of simply not listing everything.

On the other hand, without truth there can be no improvement.  I, for one, would much prefer a highly discouraging but insightfully critique to one that glosses over everything to make it look like I’m doing well when I’m not.  Nothing ticks me off more than contest results with low numbers and nothing but praise.  If it deserved all the praise, where are the high scores?

As Mona Risk has said many times, “I’d rather hear it from you <her critique partners> than from an editor.”  More to the point, if she didn’t have truthful critique partners, all she would be hearing from an editor is, “This does not meet our needs at this time.”

The result is that I have become a nasty critique partner.  I seriously apologize to everyone I’ve critiqued in the last five years – particularly you, Nancy.  I’ve always been inclined to be a bit brusque.  Now that my patience with critiquing has settled to nearly zero my comments have leaned toward the harsh.  I simply am not willing to be encouraging at the expense of truth.

Likewise, I don’t want to hear platitudes regarding my writing.  Yes, it hurt to hear my baby maligned, but it hurts worse to think I’ve got something good and send it out to a slew of form letter rejections.

Alice
 

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