George Cavendish’s Life of Wolsey is one of the best known contemporary biographies from the Tudor era. Written during a time that has fascinated historians for centuries, Cavendish’s work has been used and quoted by many authors from many different time periods. These writers produced biographies of Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, the subject of Cavendish’s biography; Henry VIII, whom Wolsey served as chief minister; and Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII’s love and eventual queen. The dynamics among these three individuals is shown in Cavendish’s work and in subsequent biographies related to that era. As time passed, authors became more and more suspicious of the biases inherent in Cavendish’s book. Because of this, modern writers use the work sparingly or at least explain the problems with the text before quoting it. Early writers—those writing before the 1990s—had no qualms about using Life of Wolsey and had a general faith that the information Cavendish related was true. This change occurred gradually over time and was generally the product of a small number of influential authors.
Advisor(s) or Committee Chair
Dr. Carol Crowe-Carraco
English Language and Literature | History
Crites, Sarah, "The King, the Cardinal, the Concubine, and the Chronicler: A Lesson in Fluid Prejudice" (2011). Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects. Paper 314.