Henry V: The Conscience of a King (Paperback)

Henry V: The Conscience of a King By Malcolm Vale Cover Image

Henry V: The Conscience of a King (Paperback)


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More than just a single-minded warrior-king, Henry V comes to life in this fresh account as a gifted ruler acutely conscious of spiritual matters and his subjects’ welfare

Shakespeare’s centuries-old portrayal of Henry V established the king’s reputation as a warmongering monarch, a perception that has persisted ever since. But in this exciting, thoroughly researched volume a different view of Henry emerges: a multidimensional ruler of great piety, a hands-on governor who introduced a radically new conception of England’s European role in secular and ecclesiastical affairs, a composer of music, an art patron, and a dutiful king who fully appreciated his obligations toward those he ruled.
Historian Malcolm Vale draws on extensive primary archival evidence that includes many documents annotated or endorsed in Henry’s own hand. Focusing on a series of themes—the interaction between king and church, the rise of the English language as a medium of government and politics, the role of ceremony in Henry’s kingship, and more—Vale revises understandings of Henry V and his conduct of the everyday affairs of England, Normandy, and the kingdom of France.
Malcolm Vale is emeritus research fellow in history, St. John’s College, Oxford. He has written extensively on Anglo-French history and the cultural history of northern Europe during the Later Middle Ages. He lives in Oxford, UK.
Product Details ISBN: 9780300270075
ISBN-10: 0300270070
Publisher: Yale University Press
Publication Date: February 21st, 2023
Pages: 336
Language: English
“The Henry who emerges from this study is not the stereotypical warrior-king feted (or vilified) for his military prowess. He is an altogether more complex figure: decisive in his leadership but collegiate in his approach to government; exceptional in his mastery of administrative detail and his determination to do right by all his subjects. . . . It is a fascinating and persuasive portrait of a controversial monarch and a major contribution to studies of his reign.”—Juliet Barker, Times Literary Supplement

“Vale gives us a portrait of Henry V’s kingship and, not surprisingly, it is a good one.”—John Watts, London Review of Books

“By giving greater authority to the archival record than most previous historians have done, and by adopting a thematic rather than a chronological approach to his subject, Malcolm Vale has succeeded in penetrating, as never before, the mind and intentions of Henry V. As this highly recommended study develops, the reader is presented with a king no longer primarily a soldier but a much more rounded, multifaceted figure who leads his country through a time of uncertainties social, political, military and religious, justifying the author’s claim to have revealed ‘another Henry V’ in the process.”—Christopher Allmand, author of Henry V

“A highly original study of Henry V. It is difficult these days to say anything new about the king: Malcolm Vale manages it.”—Nigel Saul, author of For Honour and Fame: Chivalry in England, 1066–1500