While Wolf Hall is obvisouly fiction, Thomas Cromwell is not a fictional character: he's a real guy who lived a real life that, I assume, closely parallels the events described in the novel.We talk a lot about “characterisation” as critics or in writing classes, but really we have only the foggiest notion what it is. Writing guides give all sorts of advice about it – from the stupid to the incomprehensible – but when you see it, when you really see it, a character in a book can seem more real than anyone you know. A great book shows us someone in all their aspects and makes us understand who they are, and in so doing it shows us ourselves.This can be a scourge, as in satire or horror, and absolution, as in tragedies, I guess, or, in a more ancient mode, as a guide to living. I think this last is what Wolf Hall is trying to do.
|Thomas Cromwell |
He gets this portrait (by Hans Holbein) done in part V.
|Sir Thomas More|
Also by Holbein.
|Good King Hal!|
Yep, Holbein again.
Late Elizabethan copy of a portrait probably by
our old friend HH.