Series Identification

How do we identify a book in the English Monarchs series? For most books this isn’t difficult;  they tell us. Yet there are those for which we require further definition. One of the most recent books, Henry III, has been the longest in preparation and has been promised as ‘forthcoming’ in earlier series books since at least 1989 yet the book itself bears no series attribution. Long-term readers of the series will have known for decades that this was to be published by Yale - or originally Methuen - to take its place between W.L. Warren’s ‘King John’ and Michael Prestwich’s ‘Edward I’. Casual readers, and book stores too, may not have that foreknowledge. They would recognise Yale’s prestigious imprimatur, but not recognise the book as one in the series. Conversely, Æthelred the Unready’ by Levi Roach has been catalogued as an English Monarchs book by many vendors. They have correctly identified it as a Yale book, but are in error in naming it as part of the series. Just as ‘Henry III‘ has no series attribution, so to does Æthelred bear no mention of the series, but the former is most definitely in the series while the latter is not.

A small number of books have been deleted from the series, starting as early as the mid-1990s with the removal of 'James I’, the 1967 book by David Mathew when Yale acquired the series. While exclusion does not apply retrospectively, it is more difficult after the fact to identify this as a series book, and hence this purpose of this website.

Even more confusingly, four existing titles from other publishers were brought into the series by Yale. Clearly earlier iterations of these books will not named the series, yet occasionally the earlier printings are labelled as being in the series in online catalogues of vendors of used books.

Increasingly Yale is using their website to communicate information about the series books and is the only place where forthcoming titles are listed. Currently ‘Elizabeth I’ is listed for publication in October 2024 but this book is not mentioned in any book already published.

Therefore we need to have several sources of truth to be authoritative in our description of a series book. In order of importance:

     1.     The book will bear the label ‘English Monarchs Series’. Paperback versions of recent books are more diligent at including this label than their hardback counterparts.

     2.     The book will have been listed as forthcoming in earlier books - a feature only of Eyre/Methuen releases - or on Yale's website.

     3.     The book will be listed in a publisher’s catalogue, which in the modern sense will be on Yale’s website. Forthcoming titles also appear in this list.

     4.     The absence of any mention of inclusion in the series on the part of the publisher indicates that the book is not in the series. A book vendor’s citation, or somebody's list on the internet is insufficient.

     5.     Confirmation of a series status may have to depend on inclusion in a list after publication. Henry III, for example, while included in Yale’s website list, was included in the list of series books in the 2020 release Edward the Confessor, and indeed was described as having two volumes..

     6.     Inclusion by association is insufficient. The Hicks 'Richard III' provides a list of books "Also in the Yale English Monarchs series", from which readers might reasonably infer that 'Richard III' is included, but it bears no further mention of the English Monarhcs Series and is not in any of Yale's list of series books. Subsequent publications did not include the Hicks book in the series.