Yale English Monarchs Series
A survey of the publishing history
of the Methuen and Yale history books
English Monarchs, currently published by Yale University Press, is a series of historical accounts of English or British kings and queens written by specialists in the period of the monarch. These books describe not only the life, actions and character of one monarch but examine the politics and history of that reign. They are the gold standard in historical research and writing. This site records the history of the history books.
Readers coming to English Monarchs in recent years may have thought that this is a series commenced by Yale University Press, but the English Monarchs series has its own history stretching back over fifty years. Yale is a relative newcomer to English Monarchs!
USING THIS WEBSITE - THE SEQUENCES OF BOOKS
Use the links at the top of every page to select the pages of prime importance. The main event is the collection of pages for each monarch and their book. Commence with the link at the top for the books. In the subsequent page you will get to choose a list of the books in three sequences as described in the next section below. Or start here if you can’t wait. The quickest way to get to any book is by using the link to the Main Book Page index which is linked at the foot of every page.
At the end of the tour you will find a page listing future releases and recommendations for reading which have been extracted from the individual pages for each book (these are also linked on the main list of books).
The history of the series itself will be found in the link at the top of every page for Series History. This includes a page for an overview, the authors and the publishers.
VIEWING THE BOOKS
To journey through the books you can navigate this website to look at the series in three ways:
• Chronologically - to see the webpage for each monarch in succession, including those without a biography in the series. To fill these gaps books outside the series are nominated as alternatives.
• Series by date - to see the development of the English Monarchs series as it unfolded. All the books are listed at the series by date page, but note that using the links at the head of each page to the next book published in the series will progress you to the next title, but without visiting the pages for those monarchs for whom there is as yet no biography.
• Publication date - to see the original publication dates of all the books catalogued here, especially those not included in the series in their first printing. Readers should be aware that viewing the pages in the publishing order sequence from this page will not include the pages for books, such as Alfred the Great, which were promised but not delivered and you will miss these “almost but not quite” titles.
Each monarch has a book page. This page describes that volume, its basic bibliographic information, a statement of its origin, purpose, arguments, reception, notes on the cover art, and the like. Use the navigation links on each page to move “horizontally” through the books in sequence by monarch. You can also move “vertically” to the next book published in the series. For those monarchs with no book in the series the absence is noted and suggestions for alternative reading are made. Pages also exist for the Yale biographies of critical importance to the series books themselves: studies of regents, successors, contestants or those who shared the throne in some capacity. This website is calling these titles 'Companion' books - titles to accompany the main series.
The page for each book has a series number based upon the order the title was added to the series, either by being a new title or one introduced into the series by being republished as a Yale edition of an existing title. This numbering system is an obvious invention for this website. It is a numbering scheme never employed in the series itself. We all order our English Monarchs bookshelf in chronological order, but you can never have too much bibliographic information.
On each page links are provided for further information on buying the books, and the publicity page for each title at Yale. Some further links are provided for non-series books where they have been suggested as substitutes for absent series books.
The links to Amazon are suggestions only and no rewards are received by this site for any subsequent purchase. For better or worse Amazon has become something of an international standard, but this usefulness has diminished since Amazon began filtering out results depending on your location. For the full set of results enter a postal code in the box at the top local to the store you are using. You will then see items excluded with a foreign IP address. Local online suppliers are just as useful but they can't all be listed. There are plenty of other virtual vendors to use. Readers are encouraged to shop around for cheaper or more convenient suppliers, particularly used copies of out-of-print titles. The best idea though is to support your local book store. If you can't visit then phone them to order a book.
English Monarchs readers who specialise in the Norman/Angevin period, or the Hundred Years' War will be more interested than most in the kings of France, a title given from Philip II of France onwards. It was Philip who is the earliest king of France rather than king of the Franks. Conveniently it's also where English language biographies of French kings commence.
A supplementary page has been prepared which is an attempt to collate known biographies of these kings in a bibliography similar to this site. What is clear is how well we are served by the English Monarchs books. Only fifteen of the French kings in this list, ranging from 1180 to 1792, are blessed with biographies in English while thirteen do not. French Monarchs can be accessed here.
A similar page has been compiled for the kings and the (rare) queens of Scotland. This is a much shorter list as only scant records survive prior to the Twelfth Century, insufficient to construct a detailed account of a reign. Scottish Monarchs can be accessed here.
Yale itself has an Internet store selling souvenirs, apparel, gifts and so on, though it would seem this is for delivery in the United States only. These items can be purchased from here. For those visiting New Haven, the Yale store can be visited at 77 Broadway, York Square, New Haven, CT 06511.
This online store is set up to sell textbooks for students at the New Haven campus and like any university this is the primary purpose. There is no Yale store in the UK. The store is powered by Barnes and Noble, one of the larger book retail chains in the USA. It's probably not known by the staff at the Yale store, but Barnes and Noble reprinted one English Monarchs title (King John) although this was on the eve of Yale introducing this book to the series. It's interesting to see this connection has survived. Apart from textbooks the online store offers all the usual "souvenirs" such as key rings, drinks bottles, fridge magnets, umbrellas, pet collars, and other items without which your life is not complete. What they don't sell are the English Monarchs books. To acquire the English Monarchs series books use your favoured bookseller. Support the series by purchasing your copy of the English Monarchs books.
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An illustration from The Historia Anglorium,attributed to Matthew Paris c.1250.
Shown are the kings Henry II, RIchard I, John and Henry III. Henry, the Young King is in the centre.
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The coronation of Henry III from the Chronicle of the kings of England from Edward the Confessor (1042–1066) to Edward I (1272–1307) held by the British Library.
British Library Cotton MS Vitellius A XIII