Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Isabella: She wolf of France

Alison Weir's, Queen Isabella : Treachery, Adultery, and Murder in Medieval England

I always enjoy Weir's books, and must admit that I own all of those that she's written to date. She has a bit of a thing for English Queens and I can't say that I blame her. This time around she takes a look at Isabella, 'the she wolf of France'. History has not been kind to her.

Yesterday I had a long review written out. Today we're going the bullet route.

Main thoughts on the book
  • As always I liked that we are given contemporary events, instead of focusing just on the main subject.
  • Use of contemporary sources, how I love seeing them used. I think most of us have read at least one book that refers to the sources written long after the subject (person, place, or thing) and have wondered why the contemporay sources were ignored.
  • While Weir is biased towards Isabella in part, she keeps to the facts and contemporary sources for the most part.
  • This brings up a point for another time, should historians attempt to suppose what their subject might have felt and thought or keep to what we know for sure?
  • The debunking of the popular mode of death for Edward II, ala red hot poker, done in a way that made sense. I agree that Edward more than likely died by suffocation.
  • I'm not sure how much validity the premise of Edward escaping and living as a hermit has but she did support her theory well.
  • I was pleased to see that she did not come down on one side or the other of the death verse escape. Though she does lean heavily towards the escape theory.
  • Yes, the escape theory very much appeals to my romantic literary side.
  • I agree that it is rather doubtful Isabella would have agreed to killing Edward II. Killing a King, any king is a dangerous precedent to set and she would have been smart enough to be wary.
  • Must find a book on Queen Philippa of Hainault, from what we see of her in this book she'd be a fascinating subject.
  • Overall if Isabella is everything later histories say she is, one would thing the contemporary records would show more of this tone towards her.
Thoughts, criticism, debates?

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