The Life of Thomas More

The Life of Thomas More

Peter Ackroyd / Apr 06, 2020
The Life of Thomas More Peter Ackroyd s The Life of Thomas More is a masterful reconstruction of the life and imagination of one of the most remarkable figures of history Thomas More was a renowned statesman the au
  • Title: The Life of Thomas More
  • Author: Peter Ackroyd
  • ISBN: 9780385496933
  • Page: 123
  • Format: Paperback
  • Peter Ackroyd s The Life of Thomas More is a masterful reconstruction of the life and imagination of one of the most remarkable figures of history Thomas More 1478 1535 was a renowned statesman the author of a political fantasy that gave a name to a literary genre and a worldview Utopia and, most famously, a Catholic martyr and saint.Born into the professional clasPeter Ackroyd s The Life of Thomas More is a masterful reconstruction of the life and imagination of one of the most remarkable figures of history Thomas More 1478 1535 was a renowned statesman the author of a political fantasy that gave a name to a literary genre and a worldview Utopia and, most famously, a Catholic martyr and saint.Born into the professional classes, Thomas More applied his formidable intellect and well placed connections to become the most powerful man in England, second only to the king As much a work of history as a biography, The Life of Thomas More gives an unmatched portrait of the everyday, religious, and intellectual life of the early sixteenth century In Ackroyd s hands, this renowned man for all seasons emerges in the fullness of his complex humanity we see the unexpected side of his character such as his preference for bawdy humor as well as his indisputable moral courage.
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      Published :2020-01-12T14:50:40+00:00

    About "Peter Ackroyd"

      • Peter Ackroyd

        Peter Ackroyd CBE is an English novelist and biographer with a particular interest in the history and culture of London.Peter Ackroyd s mother worked in the personnel department of an engineering firm, his father having left the family home when Ackroyd was a baby He was reading newspapers by the age of 5 and, at 9, wrote a play about Guy Fawkes Reputedly, he first realized he was gay at the age of 7.Ackroyd was educated at St Benedict s, Ealing and at Clare College, Cambridge, from which he graduated with a double first in English In 1972, he was a Mellon Fellow at Yale University in the United States The result of this fellowship was Ackroyd s Notes for a New Culture, written when he was only 22 and eventually published in 1976 The title, a playful echo of T S Eliot s Notes Towards the Definition of Culture 1948 , was an early indication of Ackroyd s penchant for creatively exploring and reexamining the works of other London based writers.Ackroyd s literary career began with poetry, including such works as London Lickpenny 1973 and The Diversions of Purley 1987 He later moved into fiction and has become an acclaimed author, winning the 1998 James Tait Black Memorial Prize for the biography Thomas More and being shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 1987.Ackroyd worked at The Spectator magazine between 1973 and 1977 and became joint managing editor in 1978 In 1982 he published The Great Fire of London, his first novel This novel deals with one of Ackroyd s great heroes, Charles Dickens, and is a reworking of Little Dorrit The novel set the stage for the long sequence of novels Ackroyd has produced since, all of which deal in some way with the complex interaction of time and space, and what Ackroyd calls the spirit of place It is also the first in a sequence of novels of London, through which he traces the changing, but curiously consistent nature of the city Often this theme is explored through the city s artists, and especially its writers.Ackroyd has always shown a great interest in the city of London, and one of his best known works, London The Biography, is an extensive and thorough discussion of London through the ages His fascination with London literary and artistic figures is also displayed in the sequence of biographies he has produced of Ezra Pound 1980 , T S Eliot 1984 , Charles Dickens 1990 , William Blake 1995 , Thomas More 1998 , Chaucer 2004 , William Shakespeare 2005 , and J M W Turner The city itself stands astride all these works, as it does in the fiction.From 2003 to 2005, Ackroyd wrote a six book non fiction series Voyages Through Time , intended for readers as young as eight This was his first work for children The critically acclaimed series is an extensive narrative of key periods in world history.Early in his career, Ackroyd was nominated a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 1984 and, as well as producing fiction, biography and other literary works, is also a regular radio and television broadcaster and book critic.In the New Year s honours list of 2003, Ackroyd was awarded the CBE.


    1. I ve never really like Thomas More He always seemed a bit hard headed, stubborn, bordering on cruel At least, in what I ve read about him and seen in the movies It is to Ackroyd s credit that he makes More human I don t like him, but I respect him.Ackroyd goes a long way into taking a closer look at More s marriage He makes Alice More into than a shrew Ackroyd also place More in time and place He looks at the influence of society and religion He is careful too keep away from the idea of a saint [...]

    2. I thought on first reading this biography some years ago that it was less gripping that it could have been, given the stature of the man that it is about, but I find on re reading the book that my first assessment was wrong What I had found tedious then is what I would now call atmospheric and impressively detailed Peter Ackroyd knows sixteenth century London inside and out One of the virtues of this biography is that it places Thomas More in his proper context, as a man who all his adult life u [...]

    3. Long and tedious in some ways but very interesting Adult reading I liked how he was so opposed to materialism that he gave his daughter a necklace of peas rather than pearls to teach her a lesson Watch the movie A Man for All Seasons.

    4. Informative and easy to read Ackroyd keeps the original spelling of Renaissance times, which is a little irritating, but that aside, I totally got wrapped up in his recounting of More s rise in the court of the English government, and subsequent fall from grace through King Henry s split with the church Plenty of nuggets of which I was unaware among the many words More introduced into the vernacular paradox, and fact , and plenty of lines culled from More s correspondence used in various dramati [...]

    5. Ackroyd writes in such an enchanting style, and boy did he choose a fascinating topic Since reading Wolf Hall , I have been intrigued by the polarised figure of More a recent article of History Today was entitled Thomas More Saint or Sinner Ackroyd wisely avoids this dichotomy of interpretation, and instead recounts More s life from start to finish a life which traverses European cities and the courts of Kings, but one which ultimately remains entrenched in the city of London I particularly enjo [...]

    6. Akroyd writes with an irresistible scholarly starchiness It s hard for me to like More, though I love reading about his times He was a medieval, hierarchically inclined stick in the mud at the time that this world view was about to be shattered It s hard for us in modern times to even imagine a world that had the kind of oppressive cohesion of his youthful years He stuck with the mothership of the 1000 year old franchise Unfortunately, his boss had left the building He was obviously killer intel [...]

    7. Really interesting biography of an historic figure I knew he had been beheaded for refusing to take the oath of the Act of Succession by Henry VIII and was thereafter canonized by the Catholic Church I didn t know that prior to these events he d been the King s Chancellor and had had numerous burned at the stake for being heretics or not Catholic, and he had reveled in those very facts I suppose you live as a religious murderer and you die as a religious murderer Very prescient with the state of [...]

    8. It is still difficult to place oneself in the frame of mind that would lead a man like More to condemn himself to death figuratively, that is Ackroyd does an excellent job of trying to help you see the man and the times but perhaps, in this age of Jihadists, it is still difficult for most people to understand what would lead someone to die for their religion.

    9. This is one of the best biographies I have come across full of detail, it sheds a great deal of light on this man who was known best of all as Chancellor of England to Henry VIII suitable for students and general readers alike.

    10. Excellent, three dimensional profile of the Saint and explanation of the political, religious, and cultural elements of the time The authors misconceptions that the Sacramental System was exclusively a Medieval viewpoint does not take away from the quality of the work.

    11. Review I was quite looking forward to reading this book, as all I really know of Thomas More is what I ve read from reading about Henry VIII, and watching shows like The Tudors and Wolf Hall Perceptions for example in The Tudors and Wolf Hall are completely different so I was really intrigued to see how this book treated him He comes across quite human, but flawed and obsessive at times, but loving towards his family It was well written and engaging.General Subject s Biography History TudorsReco [...]

    12. Deze biografie leest als een trein maar vergt voor een goed begrip wat extra kennis Het blijft een boek over een markant figuur uit de geschiedenis met bijzondere idee n, een sterk geloof en een zeer grote intelligentie De geschiedenisfeiten zelf die tot vandaag doorwerken doen me huiveren.

    13. One stands in awe of Ackroyd s scholarship and learning read the back of the book, and that is true in the fullest sense of those words the profundity of this work is nothing less than inspiring Ackroyd writes like a fluid mind, conversational, yet thoughtful and elegant His prose is intermixed with a great deal of More s direct verbiage, which flavors the book thoroughly with the sixteenth century further, this biography, like all great biographies, is the tale of an age from hegemonic, pervasi [...]

    14. Thoroughly readable and informative biography of the English Catholic layman Thomas More More is a fascinating person a layman who is also a saint, a humanist who put people to the fire as heretics, a loyal servant killed by the king as a rebel As a protestant it was particularly interesting to see the origins of the reformation from viewpoint of a devout Catholic rather than from Luther It is also the chronicle of life of a man with a familiar arc As a young man he questions the established cle [...]

    15. Very much a biography s biography, we start with Thomas More s birth, then childhood, schooling, and so on, solidly chronological from there, always trying to define the time and place More was part of, but sticking to his timeline rather than wandering about and getting lost in the medieval weeds.Ackroyd makes a firm connection between More s respect for the orderliness of the legal system and the order of the Catholic Church, arguing that to More, they were one and the same to attack the Catho [...]

    16. Peter Ackroyd s book, The Life of Thomas More, was one of the best biographies I have ever read It was clear, detailed, unbiased, and full of information I never knew about the saint, the times, and the major players in that epoch in history I was very impressed with Mr Ackroyd s grasp of the specific skills in which Thomas More was fluent I learned a lot from this book, but I never felt talked down to rather spoken to as someone who could slip into the country and century as easily as Thomas hi [...]

    17. The book is good Bit verbose, and I was surprised at its abrupt ending with his execution, rather than discussing further the fall out his death had on the family and their estates, as well as the rescue of his head by Margaret More Roper, but in general it s very well researched and gives an interesting portrait of the man who was born a sinner, and is now a saint.If I could change one thing, it would be to update the spelling in the direct quotes from Erasmus and Thomas More s correspondence i [...]

    18. One of the best biographies and simply put best books I have ever read Ackroyd makes More s England come to life One smells the smells, hears the sounds, and tastes the tastes of More s London Ackroyd has an incredible sympathy for his subject and writes a gripping book It reads like a novel My one complaint, and it is minor, is that Ackroyd does not translate the Olde English into the contemporary English and this can make some of the quotations quite difficult to understand On my second read t [...]

    19. Aside from Ackroy claiming to a fidelity to the milieu of More by quoting him in the obscure spellings of the sixteenth century, there are vast praries of emotional space between the author and his subject I am left a bit puzzled Ackroyd goes to sufficient lengths to remove the aura of hagiography from More, but doesn t construct a viable counter thesis either There is simply the written record Odd.

    20. A meticulously researched and well written portrait of Thomas More Ackroyd has a gift for making his subject come alive, and teasing out the nuances of the primary source material in a subtle and insightful way There s nothing in here that s really new or startling unsurprising, perhaps, given how well studied More has been in the centuries since his death but Ackroyd presents it in such a way as to give one of the most lucid and complete biographies of the man that we possess.

    21. As Teigan said to me many years ago when I was reading this hmm Thomas More fun guy Ackroyd brings the time and place absolutely alive His detail about London life at that time makes you feel you re there at such an important juncture in English history Very very good.

    22. Mid 4 Ackroyd has produced the definitive account of this great thinker and man of principle, born in 1478 The author reveals, amazingly that More and Beckett, both martyred and canonised, were born twenty yards from each other Son of a lawyer serving the capital s guilds of merchants, it should be no surprise that More followed in his father s steps studying law, under the patronage of John Morton, Archbishop of Canterbury and Lord Chancellor Morton would be a great role model for the young Mor [...]

    23. Thomas More is a man I look up to Ackroyd s biography gave me even reason Still only a rating of 3 because of odd choices in his editing Why a full chapter of More s trial completely quoted in the spelling of that day And certainly why no chapter about More s legacy in the first years after his execution How did his family cope

    24. Interesting biography Gives some very nice if overly sympathetic the man did order many to be burned for being protestant insight to a hugely important historical figure.

    25. When I was growing up my parents had a huge portrait of Thomas More their favorite saint hanging in our living room One of my brothers was named for him and one of the first movies I saw was A Man for All Seasons I came to accept that More was a noble, God like figure who became a martyr for the Catholic Church because his conscience would not allow him to go along with the plans of Henry VIII to displace the Pope as head of the Church.Later, in reading Wolf Hall, I encountered a different Thoma [...]

    26. The book seems well researched, but not exciting It is a biography, it is to be expected that it concentrates on the man, the subject, but this one does so, one feels, at the expense of much that was occurring around him and influenced his behaviour, his stance and his decisions Ackroyd gives us a flavour of the Humanists and who Erasmus was, but not what they stood for He tells us that the heretics were put to death by More and that he wrote polemics and pamphlets against them, and what politic [...]

    27. Exceptional biography Ackroyd brilliantly places More at the nexus of Humanism and Renaissance thinking as it struggled from the cloak of Medieval beliefs and argument We see More as the Man for all Seasons in an historical and socio cultural milieu roiled by the cracks in monolithic Catholicism and the rise of the imperial king A sublime rhetorician, deeply and eventually zealously religious he was a man who did not suffer fools, was marvelously ironic and imbued with great conscience and servi [...]

    28. Powerful, hopeful, and enlightening the story of Sir Thomas More is one that everyone should hear.Thomas More was a remarkable sixteenth century lawyer who, out of his faith to the Catholic church, refused to swear an oath of spiritual obedience to King Henry the Eighth after the later took it upon himself to seize power from the Catholic Church and form The Church of England What was most interesting is that More brilliantly refused to give the reason why he would not take the oath of spiritual [...]

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