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Posts tagged wolf hall

Jul 22
“Lord Mountjoy, Katherine’s Chamberlain, has sent him a list of all the necessities for the confinement of a Queen of England. It amuses him, the smooth and civil handover; the court and its ceremonies roll on, whoever the personnel, but it is clear Lord Mountjoy takes him as the man in charge of everything now.

He goes down to Greenwich and refurbishes the apartments, ready for Anne. Proclamations (undated) are prepared, to go out to the people of England and the rulers of Europe, announcing the birth of a prince. Just leave a little gap, he suggests, at the end of “prince”, so if need be you can squash in … But they look at him as if he’s a traitor, so he leaves off.”
Hilary Mantel, Wolf Hall

“When a woman withdraws to give birth the sun may be shining but the shutters of her room are closed so she can make her own weather. She is kept in the dark so she can dream. Her dreams drift her far away, from terra firma to a marshy tract of land, to a landing stage, to a river where a mist closes over the farther bank, and earth and sky are inseparate; there she must embark toward life and death, a muffled figure in the stern directing the oars. In this vessel prayers are said that men never hear. Bargains are struck between a woman and her God. The river is tidal, and between one feather-stroke and the next, her tide may turn.” Hilary Mantel, Wolf Hall

May 9

May 8
“What is the nature of the border between truth and lies? It is permeable and blurred because it is planted thick with rumour, confabulation, misunderstandings and twisted tales. Truth can break the gates down, truth can howl in the street; unless Truth is pleasing, personable and easy to like, she is condemned to stay whimpering at the back door.” Hilary Mantel, Bring Up the Bodies

Jan 23
“At their first conference, as Wykys laid out the papers, he had said, ‘You’re Walter’s lad, aren’t you? So what happened? Because, by God, there was no one rougher than you were when you were a boy.’

He would have explained, if he’d known what sort of explanation Wykys would understand. I gave up fighting because, when I lived in Florence, I looked at frescoes every day? He said, ‘I found an easier way to be.’”
Hilary Mantel, Wolf Hall

Apr 23

The heck?

Why have half a dozen people all suddenly reblogged this Wolf Hall quote? And where’s the love for this one?


Apr 12
“There was a moment when Anne gave him all her attention: her skewering dark glance. The king, too, knows how to look; blue eyes, their mildness deceptive. Is this how they look at each other? Or in some other way? For a second he understands it; then he doesn’t. He stands by a window. A flock of starlings settles among the tight black buds of a bare tree. Then, like black buds unfolding, they open their wings; they flutter and sing, stirring everything into motion, air, wings, black notes in music. He becomes aware that he is watching them with pleasure; that something almost extinct, some small gesture toward the future, is ready to welcome the spring; in some spare, desperate way, he is looking forward to Easter, the end of Lenten fasting, the end of penitence. There is a world beyond this black world. There is a world of the possible. A world where Anne can be queen is a world where Cromwell can be Cromwell. He sees it; then he doesn’t. The moment is fleeting. But insight cannot be taken back. You cannot return to the moment you were in before.” Hilary Mantel, Wolf Hall

Feb 28
“He can’t imagine himself reading to his household; he’s not, like Thomas More, some sort of failed priest, a frustrated preacher. He never sees More—a star in another firmament, who acknowledges him with a grim nod—without wanting to ask him, what’s wrong with you? Or what’s wrong with me? Why does everything you know, and everything you’ve learned, confirm in you what you believed before? Whereas in my case, what little I grew up with, and what I thought I believed, is chipped away a little and a little, a fragment then a piece and then a piece more. With every month that passes, the corners are knocked off the certainties of this world: and the next world too. Show me where it says in the Bible, ‘Purgatory’. Show me where it says ‘relics, monks, nuns’. Show me where it says ‘Pope’.”

From Wolf Hall, by Hilary Mantel.

"He" is Thomas Cromwell, the first Earl of Essex, a powerful minister to Henry VIII, and the protagonist of this novel. Which is absolutely breathtakingly good. The prose is so beautiful that it makes me want to cry.