Suzannah Lipscomb

Suzannah Lipscomb

Dr Suzannah Lipscomb is Reader in Early Modern History at the University of Roehampton, and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.

Location United Kingdom


  • Only Mary Boleyn could answer you that.

  • And I think that's exactly why some people find historical novels so hard to get along with: because they don't know what to trust.

  • I think it's certainly true that Cromwell was not as sympathetic a man as Mantel appears to make him (though I wonder if her third volume will change our view). But, if you read her novels closely, I think there's scope for a less positive reading of him too. So we see everything from his point of view, meaning of course we're sympathetic, BUT we also hear...

  • I think it's fair to conclude that Mantel's Cromwell is (or seems to be - she hasn't published the third book in the series yet, so it all may change) more benevolent than the historical Cromwell. One thing that I think always summed up the historical Cromwell is that among his notes was a memo that said: 'Item, the Abbot of Glastonbury to be tried and...

  • What's brilliant about this is it shows Mantel's great familiarity with the primary sources. Thomas More wrote of Henry VIII: ‘If you will follow my poor advice, you shall, in your counsel-giving unto his grace, ever tell him what he ought to do but never what he is able to do. So shall you show yourself a true faithful servant and a right worthy counsellor....

  • There are some wonderfully thoughtful responses to this question. Thank you so much for your engagement: it's certainly got me thinking!