Mary I (2011)

Book Number: 27

Mary I : England’s Catholic Queen

By John Edwards (1949-  )

Research Fellow in Spanish, University of Oxford

Book Editor: Heather McCallum

ISBN data:

Hardback - 9780300118100

Paperback - 9780300194166

Link to the book's Webpage at Yale

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Published as ‘Mary I: England’s Catholic Queen’ by Yale in hardback in 2011 (August UK/ October USA) and paperback in 2013. Comments about this book focussed on it’s approach to Mary from a wider European perspective, rather than an English princess, and this alone marks John Edwards’ book as different from nearly any other on Mary. Reviews, some featured on the rear cover, also compliment Edwards as writing about Mary, “...without undue indulgence but replete with human sympathy”. The Mary who emerges from a reading of this study is a more vulnerable individual than is often suggested in lesser works.

Natalie Mears in The English Historical Review, Volume 128, Issue 531, Number 1 (April 2013) found John Edward’s biography of Mary to be “...a detailed and balanced one, both in terms of the respective weight he gives to Mary’s life as a princess and as a queen, and in terms of his engagement with the existing literature, both academic and popular. Edwards provides lengthy chapters on Mary’s birth, education, her life during and after her parents’ divorce and her experiences during the reign of her half-brother, Edward Vi. He analyses Mary’s reign largely thematically—marriage, the church and the onset of war—rather than providing a chronological narrative. He engages critically and fairly with the existing literature, providing an excellent overview of the latest research, current debates and points of contention” and a continental perspective on Mary’s life which "has largely been missing from most recent works on Marian politics.” Mears, though, finds that Edward’s views on Mary are elusive and that the early chapters are too reliant on secondary sources, rather than primary. Additionally, "Mary fades into the background in the crucial chapters covering her queenship, chapters which largely become biographies of Pole and Philip” Mears suggests that Edwards views Mary an ineffective queen, wishing to hand over government to Philip.

This work was commissioned in 2005 by Heather McCallum at a time when the General Editor role of the series was evolving. in 2005 Dr. Robert Baldock had become the successor to J.J. Scarisbrick as General Editor, and Dr. Baldock was succeeded by Heather McCallum. This book is further evidence that the General Editor role in the series had become redundant. It’s likely that a few years after Yale took over the series, and had incorporated the already commissioned books into their schedule, a new method of approving titles into the series was adopted. In this new model, books were commissioned by senior editorial staff at Yale, no doubt in consultation with the Managing Director, Robert Baldock.

The hardback version of this biography of Mary was the first in the series to be printed with the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) logo on the title page verso, denoting the use of a quantity of recycled paper in the book. Most of books which follow Mary are printed on this mix of new and recycled paper, or at least the first printings of these titles. A reader of this site has reported that while the first printing of the first volume Henry III used the new/recycled mix with the FSC logo, the reprinted copies used different and non-recycled paper. He further commented that the recycled/new mixed paper was much thinner and that the wholly-new paper version was noticeably bigger book.

John Edwards also wrote the Mary I book for the Penguin Monarchs series of brief biographical accounts of the English and British monarchs.

2011 Hardback / 2013 Paperback

and Kindle (UK & USA)

Cover: Portrait by Antonis Mor, 1554, and held by Museo del Prado, Madrid.