Adams nominates the biography by David Harris Willson (1956, Jonathan Cape) as the standard work which he says has not yet been superceded. Wilson's book is a problem, however. Recent scholars have rejected his toxic views of James and have revised the general opion of this king. Professor John Cramsie (Associate Professor of History, Union College, Schenectady, New York) commented in a June 2003 review of biographies of James that "James VI & I has been thoroughly reassessed in the past twenty years. The obvious target was David Willson's toxic treatment in King James VI & I (Jonathan Cape; London, 1956)." In surveying several newish works on both James II and Elizabeth I on the Institute of Historical Research (University of London) 'History in Focus' book review website he concluded "The missing element in this revisionist project has been a full-length study of James capable of supplanting Willson." In this context then the attempt by Glenn Burgess is indeed a significant book and one frought with problematic issues.  

As a final note, a reader of this website in Los Angeles (thanks Lynne) has advised that Professor Burgess has had a series of promotions in recent years and has served as the Deputy Vice Chancellor at the University of Hull. His dates of promotion slightly preceded the removal of the 2015 note that the book was being researched. This may indicate that work on the book may have been delayed in favour of Professor Burgess’ academic duties. A new note on his University of Hull webpage observes that he ceased to be Deputy Vice Chancellor in August 2019, potentially allowing him more time for this book. Conversely, the site also comments that his current project is the political thought of George Orwell, and makes no mention of working on a biography of James.

A 1605 portrait of James attributed to John de Critz.

One of a number of similar paintings produced by John de Critz and his studio around 1605 and 1606, with small variations. It was used on the 1967 David Mathew book but given the Andy Warhol treatment.

James I  - In Preparation

For the purposes of this catalogue of English monarchs books we will refer to James I rather than the dual title James VI and I.


Book Number: 35

ISBN data

Hardback - 9780300119206

Link to the book's page at Yale

James VI and I

By Glenn Burgess (1961-  )

Professor of Early Modern History, University of Hull

Provisional Date: Unknown

A new title is in preparation called ‘James VI and I’ by Professor Glenn Burgess (University of Hull). Notes from 2009 at his university advise it was being researched and will be published by Yale, but as yet it has not appeared. This note was removed during 2015. As if to confirm this new release Amazon USA has an entry for this title including an ISBN - 9780300119206 - with a publication date of September 2016! Amazon UK had an even less helpful publication date of June 2013 before the title was removed completely from their inventory.

The provisional date for this title was first given on this page as 2017. In February 2018, Yale UK announced on their English Monarchs page that the next new title in the series would be Elizabeth I in October 2020, later moved to October 2021, and subsequently the new Edward the Confessor is due in August 2020, leaving James VI/I in third place with a date a good deal later than both of these books.

Confirming the vendor’s listing of this book, Yale UK has posted this page in their online catalogue with the basic publication details (including 448 pages) and stating that it will be an English Monarchs title, but without a date. This is the last known Yale English Monarchs title in preparation. The Future Releases pages on this site discusses the remaining Monarchs yet to have a book in this series.

Professor Burgess has been at the University of Hull since 1994, but born and educated in New Zealand. He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and already has many published titles to his name in this area of study. His new book on James, and that of the previous monarch by Simon Adams, will fill the large void in the English Monarch series and is most welcome indeed.

In a 2003 London Book Review (9 October 2003) of 'The Cradle King: A Life of James VI & I' by Alan Stewart, the English Monarchs author of the forthcoming 'Elizabeth I', Simon Adams, commented that James poses a problem for biographers which is the cause of few attempting the task: to what degree was he responsible for the collapse of the monarchy and the Civil War?; was he a prodigal king or did he inherit a broken down financial system from Elizabeth?; was the union of the kingdoms a success or a failure?