Details
HILARY MANTEL (b.1952)
Bring Up the Bodies. London: Fourth Estate, 2012.
First edition of the Booker Prize-winning novel, signed and abundantly annotated by the author with 4753 words of commentary across 179 pages. Bring Up the Bodies is the second work in a celebrated trilogy of historical novels – following Wolf Hall (2009) and preceding The Mirror & the Light (2020) – which chart the experiences of Thomas Cromwell in the court of Henry VIII. The Royal Shakespeare Company produced a two-part adaption of Wolf Hall and Bring up the Bodies in 2014, and in 2015 a six-part television series was broadcast by the BBC. Mantel’s annotations are a masterful study in the historical novelist’s art, providing insights into the interpretation of primary sources and the myths and legends surrounding her central characters. They show a deep concern for accuracy and historical truth and a desire to put the humanity of her characters at the very centre of her literary project. On Henry VIII, for instance, she writes: ‘I don’t think he is a monster […] but there is no type of man (or woman) who is suited to the exercise of absolute power’. Her notes are also acutely personal, offering a striking sense of the author’s profound emotional attachment to the stories being told and her absolute immersion into the lives of her characters. A truly engaging authorial commentary on a major historical novel.

Octavo. Original black cloth, gilt lettering to spine, pictorial dust jacket, promotional material for the stage play loosely inserted.
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