A Plumbline in the Wind

The world is going to the dogs, but I refuse to learn to bark

A Plumbline in the Wind Near Lauder, Scotland: Sheep on a hillside

History contrary to fact, alas

23 August 2008 · No Comments

I recently came across a paper I wrote during my first semester in graduate school, in the fall of 1975. The class was Tudor England; the paper assignment gave a choice of topics, including “What if Henry VIII had had a son?” I took that one and wrote Encomium Henrici: A brief examination of the reign of King Henry IX. I scanned the paper and posted here.

It is, of course a work of fantasy. The child in question was really born, but in the real world he died immediately after birth. All the other people mentioned, except for Thomas Roper, are actual people, although they did not do some of the things I ascribe to them. St. Thomas More’s Dialogue Concerning Tyndale does contain the suggestion I mention. There are, of course, lots of things left vague, such as developments in the Netherlands and Scotland: I didn’t really have any clear idea behind those hints. One wonders about lots of other questions and how they would have developed, like the roles of King and Parliament, the position of the Protestant minority, relations with Spain and France, and the Irish question, which would have been a question even without the religious issue. Still, it was fun, and even after more than 30 years I still think I did a pretty good job.

And I did get an A-plus on the paper.

Tags: Literature · My Life

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