Archive | May 2012

Rant on Non-Fiction History Books

A couple of days ago, there was a discussion on the blogs of Kathryn Warner and Karen Clark on the depiction of history and historical characters in fact and fiction. Inspired by these posts, and in response to the so-called “non-fiction” book I am reading, I decided to set down a further nine points with respect to non-fiction, from the point of view of a reader, learner, and history enthusiast. I am neither a historian, nor a writer. But I know how to read, and I know what I enjoy. I make no claims to superior knowledge. The following points basically stem from my needs when I read a non-fiction book. And I honestly think that since every second history enthusiast is now writing books for the mainstream media, they could, at the very least, be honest in their writing. So here goes …

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Sumptuary Laws under Henry VIII

Sumptuary laws are legal acts that mark a person’s social status by legally specifying what they could wear, what they could eat, and even what kind of furniture they could have in their homes. Henry VIII’s opulent court called for such laws, but these were also applicable to those lower in rank, and even to monks and laypersons. A difference between the Tudor sumptuary laws and sumptuary laws practiced by other countries was that in England, the laws originated in Parliament, whereas in most other countries, these laws were local, and applicable only within the towns.

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