The French Queen's Letters: Mary Tudor Brandon and the Politics of Marriage in Sixteenth-Century…

Hardcover | March 15, 2011

byErin A. Sadlack, Erin A Sadlack

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The life of Mary Tudor the French queen, younger sister of Henry VIII, has been chiefly defined by the scandal of her secret marriage to Charles Brandon after the death of her husband, Louis XII of France. Such limited focus has obscured Mary’s role as a political figure, one whom poets celebrated for bringing peace between England and France. In this biography, Erin Sadlack contends that Mary was neither a weeping hysteric nor a love-struck romantic, but a queen who drew on two sources of authority to increase the power of her position: epistolary conventions and the rhetoric of chivalry that imbued the French and English courts. By reading Mary’s life and letters within the context of early modern political culture, this book broadens our understanding of the exercise of queenship in the sixteenth century. 

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The life of Mary Tudor the French queen, younger sister of Henry VIII, has been chiefly defined by the scandal of her secret marriage to Charles Brandon after the death of her husband, Louis XII of France. Such limited focus has obscured Mary’s role as a political figure, one whom poets celebrated for bringing peace between England and...

Erin Sadlack is Assistant Professor of English at Marywood University.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:278 pages, 9.65 × 6.17 × 0.75 inPublished:March 15, 2011Publisher:Palgrave MacmillanLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0230620302

ISBN - 13:9780230620308

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Table of Contents

A Queenly Education * Becoming the Queen * Marrying Where “my mynd is” * Always the French Queen: Identity Politics

Editorial Reviews

'The French Queen's Letters is a useful corrective to discussions of Mary that continue to focus on an image of an overwrought romantic or to gloss over her influence at court entirely.'—Journal of British Studies “Sadlack’s book frees Mary Tudor, the French Queen, from the role of pretty pantomime princess in which she has too often been cast by historians. This engaging revisionist study of Mary’s life and correspondence finds little of the dippy but demanding rich girl of myth. Sadlack shows Mary to have been an astute member of the Tudor dynasty, in every sense a political queen, and one adept at using informal networks of female power and patronage to assert her English and French royal status.”— Glenn Richardson, Reader in Early-Modern History, St. Mary’s University College, UK “This is an original approach to a fascinating historical figure. Sadlack’s thorough knowledge of recent scholarship on women’s letters and epistolary rhetoric enables her to read Mary’s letters as strategic epistolary tools, crafted in terms of aptum, relating to the character of her reader, and of rhetorical ethos and pathos, carefully deployed to advance her goals. The study of women’s agency through letters is currently receiving much attention, and Sadlack’s study makes an important contribution to this field. This biography will be the first to take Mary seriously as an actor and an agent in her own life, and to study the impact of her political interventions.”—Jane Couchman, Professor Emerita, French Studies, Multidisciplinary Studies, and Women’s Studies, York University, Canada “The book combines meticulous archival work with rhetorical analysis to produce a fresh and cogent portrait of Mary Tudor’s efforts to use her letters to control not only her own fate but also to influence court politics in two nations.  The author’s careful recovery, translation, and editing of Mary Tudor’s letters will make this book valuable to students, professors, and scholars studying early modern English and French history, early modern literature, and the lives of early modern women.”—Catherine Loomis, Associate Professor of English and Women’s Studies, University of New Orleans