You can now read 10 articles in a month for free on Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.

The Boston Globe



History’s monsters — and ours

Saga of Henry VIII reverberates today, even in America

Hilary Mantel’s coup in winning her second Man Booker Prize last week speaks not only to her distinction as a novelist but also to the broad resonance of her subject. The Booker Prize is Britain’s most prestigious literary award, but Mantel, only the third writer to win twice, has struck deep chords in the United States, too. At the center of the 2009 winner “Wolf Hall,” and of this year’s “Bring Up the Bodies,” is the drastic figure of Thomas Cromwell, the intimate adviser to Henry VIII. Literature can illuminate history; Mantel’s portrait of Cromwell brings us into the era in which our own sensibility was forged, and hints at dangers that still lurk today.

Loading comments...

You have reached the limit of 10 free articles in a month

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week