Readersforum's Blog

December 14, 2012

Hilary Mantel: how I came to write Wolf Hall

Filed under: Books — Tags: , , , , — Bookblurb @ 8:14 am

Wolf-HallIt wasn’t that I wanted to rehabilitate him. I do not run a Priory clinic for the dead’

“Show up at the desk” is one of the first rules of writing, but for Wolf Hall I was about 30 years late. When I began writing, in the 1970s, I thought of myself simply as a historical novelist; I can’t do plots, I thought, so I will let history do them for me. I had an idea that, after the French revolution was done and dusted, Thomas Cromwell might be the next job. Blacksmith’s boy to Earl of Essex – how did he do it? The story seemed irresistible. I thought someone else would write it.

The 500th anniversary of Henry VIII’s accession fell in 2009. Dimly aware of this, but not yet focused, in 2005 I proposed to my publisher a novel – just one, mind – about his great minister. Still no one had told the story. The Tudor scholar GR Eltonhad established Cromwell as a statesman of the first rank, but Elton’s work had done nothing for his popular image. Holbein’s portrait shows a man of undistinguished ugliness, with a hard, flat, sceptical eye. In A Man for All Seasons, he is the villain who casually holds another man’s hand in a candle flame.

Biographies of him are cut up into topics: “Finance”, “Religion” and so on. He seemed not to have a private life.

Click here to read the rest of this story

Advertisements

Leave a Comment »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: