Fraser, Antonia (Pakenham)
Antonia (Pakenham) Fraser 1932–
English biographer, novelist, scriptwriter, and short story writer.
Born to "the literary Longfords" of England (historian Francis Pakenham, Earl of Longford, and Elizabeth Longford, author of several historical memoirs), Fraser's interest in writing has culminated in several best-selling historical biographies set in the seventeenth century. Critically valued for their depth of research and sympathetic character portraits, Fraser's biographies attempt to free their subjects from the dry factual analyses common to many academic discussions. She also writes mystery novels which center on a liberated heroine, Jemima Shore, as well as short stories, juvenile books, and scripts for radio and television.
Fraser burst upon the literary scene in 1969 with her critically acclaimed Mary Queen of Scots, a thoroughly researched attempt to uncover the woman whose image has become distorted. Some critics contend that her treatment of politics is uncertain in places. Many debate the conclusions regarding Mary herself; Roy Strong states that the biography depicts "a dim and stupid woman," while J. P. Kenyon contends that it shows Mary to be politically and intellectually astute. Fraser's second biography, Cromwell, Our Chief of Men (1973), was also reviewed as unpolished in its treatment of political events but generally successful as an attempt to "humanize" such a historically biased figure. King James VI of Scotland, I of England (1974) is a less extensive work of scholarship which Alden Whitman nevertheless finds to be "thoroughly readable as a character study." Royal Charles: Charles II and the Restoration (1979) attempts to correct the historical portrayal of another prominent royal figure. Some critics believe Fraser's assessment of Charles is overly favorable. Critics praise Fraser's recent history The Weaker Vessel: Woman's Lot in 17th Century England (1984) as a pioneering overview of the repressive state of women's lives during that era. The book is based on memoirs, diaries, and character studies representative of the period.
(See also Contemporary Authors, Vols. 85-88 and Something about the Author, Vol. 32.)
V. G. Kiernan
Women have been great purveyors of historical novels, but [Mary, Queen of Scots] is emphatically not one of them. Everything in it is carefully documented, and what is romantic in the story stands out more effectively because the handling is always realistic and critical, imagination working on facts instead of on fantasies. Sources of information about Mary are numerous, and if few new ones have been found, or are likely to be found, the known ones have been meticulously used. It is typical of the author's thoroughness to have had a search made in the Vatican archives for a document probably non-existent. There are many sorts of history, on the other hand, and it may come more instinctively to women, denizens of the narrow intense aquarium of the family, to see it as a conflict of individual wills and destinies rather than of mass forces and movements. What we are given is a many-sided account of Mary and her court, her few friends and many enemies, rather than of Scotland in the time of Mary….
A great deal in Mary's story is, in the ordinary Elizabethan's understanding of the word, tragic. It abounds in violent reversals of fate, crime and punishment, the fall of princes, battle and death…. What this book will convince many readers of is that somehow the story remains tragic for us too, in our altered world and with our altered minds….
Mary 'thoroughly enjoyed the business of ruling'. Whether her...
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A. S. Byatt
Antonia Fraser's new biography [Mary Queen of Scots] corrects many myths, endorses a few, and satisfies our double curiosity about Mary, both as a queen and as a real woman. Lady Antonia sees history as an art, not as an impersonal science, which does not mean that she is not thorough….
Her book is very long but consistently gripping, and much of its success depends on the creation of a real world of physical and emotional detail…. But the dramatic highlights—Darnley's murder, Mary's flight to England—have the narrative sweep and flow, and appeal to the imagination in the way they should.
Elizabeth appears little; she is presented, deliberately, largely as the shadowy queen and cousin of Mary's own dangerous fantasy of the friend over the border who would help and understand. But the inevitable contrast of fates and symbolic roles is illuminating…. Lady Antonia's impressive indictment of Mary's Scottish lords, measured and understood though it is, makes it clear that it was impossible for Mary to represent in any meaningful way a Scotland divided by faction amongst nobles brutal, violent, practising witches, and—even by the standards of the time—greedy, short-sighted and inconstant…. Honour seemed to mean nothing more than primitive clan loyalty, itself easily blurred by political intermarriage. Mary tried to govern: she made sensible steps towards religious tolerance, including talking to Knox,...
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It is a long time since we had a fully fledged biography of Mary Queen of Scots, and this splendid new one by Antonia Fraser (Mary Queen of Scots) … is full of surprises….
[It reveals] the one thing about the Queen which had never occurred to me: not that she was a cunning Jezebel, a Catholic saint or even a romantic heroine, rather that she was in truth a dim and stupid woman, caught up in a drift of events she was incapable of understanding, let alone controlling.
She remains, of course, a legendary beauty…. She was, as Antonia Fraser points out, the Mannerist ideal of feminine perfection in the flesh, tall and willowy with reddish fair hair. This ravishing loveliness had gone by her mid-twenties, and she rapidly degenerated into a sad, matronly figure with sharp features topped by false hair…. Throughout her life she was a person who, in Cecil's words, could give 'winning and sugared entertainment of all men.' This fatal wayward charm explains much about her, as indeed—a point excellently stressed in this biography—does her bad health, probably caused by porphyria. Mary had two miscarriages, one of twins, and was continuously prone to sickness, swooning and the aches and pains connected with dropsy and rheumatism…. But these sad physical aspects of the Queen were not compensated by an intellect of any great power.
Mary seems to have had no eye for human character at all. Her...
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C. V. Wedgwood
[In Mary Queen of Scots], Antonia Fraser has diligently compiled and sifted everything that is known of [Mary], trying to reach the truth behind contemporary slanders and later legends. She has given particular attention to Mary's medical history, and is able to show that she was subject to periods of nervous collapse under stress, in which her vitality and her judgment forsook her and she fell into a kind of apathy. One such collapse (naturally enough) followed the shock of Darnley's murder. Antonia Fraser interprets her marriage to Bothwell … as being performed in a state of almost tranced acquiescence….
Antonia Fraser sees Mary as essentially of a maternal disposition. She loved the sickly little Dauphin with a motherly solicitude. Darnley, too, was younger than she was, and she fell in love with him when nursing him through an illness. Furthermore, though she remained to the end an attractive woman able to inspire love in others, her own love life was over by the time she was twenty-five. This is hardly the story of a grande amoureuse. (p. 70)
All in all this is a compassionate and often illuminating account of Mary as a woman. The happiness of her sheltered youth at the French Court, when she seemed almost a spoiled child of fortune, makes a tenderly sunny prelude—and an effective contrast—to the hardships and problems of her brief years as ruling Queen in Scotland, while the effect of her...
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Cromwell's career is traced in great detail [in Cromwell: Our Chief of Men; published in the United States as Cromwell: The Lord Protector]: from the first dishevelled appearance of the rough Huntingdonshire squire in the House of Commons, with blood specks on his neckband, through his victories at Marston Moor Naseby and Preston, to his apotheosis as Lord Protector. At all points the author reveals a transparent desire to be accurate and fair. [Antonia Fraser] deals scrupulously with those aspects of Cromwell's life which still arouse deep passion, notably the execution of Charles I and the massacres at Drogheda and Wexford. She also emphasises dimensions of the man which centuries of royalist propaganda have tended to efface….
Antonia Fraser has an eye for picturesque detail and likes a good story. She devotes a lot of space to the numerous legends which still surround Cromwell's career, some of which she regards as possessing poetic truth, however false otherwise. She picks over all the old chestnuts: Cromwell's Jewish ancestry; his coloured descendants; his mistresses; his pact with the Devil; the ruins he knocked about…. This posthumous mythology is so wide-ranging because Cromwell touched so many aspects of our national life. (p. 760)
The serious student of the period may … find it less rewarding than he had hoped. This is not because of its minor inaccuracies or its numerous misprints....
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G. R. Elton
S. R. Gardiner called Cromwell the greatest of Englishmen, but when he came to write his little book on Oliver's place in English history the phrase acquired no substance. More recent studies also never achieve anything much better than adequacy…. Oliver, in the end, defeated [all his biographers]. He has now defeated Lady Antonia Fraser who, drowning in the morass, drags the reader after her.
[Cromwell, Our Chief of Men] is certainly the biggest book on Cromwell—well over 700 pages of it. It rests on honest and hard work; it embodies solid reading in printed materials and some acquaintance with unpublished manuscripts; its prose, never meretricious, varies from the competent to the unexciting. Reading this interminable book is made no easier by occasional lapses in grammatical structure and a cavalier attitude to commas. The author is not always certain of her words: 'unexceptional' for 'unexceptionable' contrasts with 'inimicable' for 'inimical.' We find Cromwell incurring the focus of public attention and settlers called upon to upstake themselves: both sound obscurely painful experiences.
The book's chief faults are two—poor organisation and a lack of psychological penetration. The first accounts for its inordinate length. This is not really a biography of Oliver Cromwell but a relentless history of his times written around him. Of course, we cannot understand Cromwell without understanding what...
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C. V. Wedgwood
Antonia Fraser's richly detailed biography ["Cromwell: The Lord Protector"] does full justice to Cromwell's public career. She is particularly good on Ireland, excusing nothing that cannot be excused, but explaining the irrational fear and hatred of the "Popish Irish butchers," intensified by years of pamphlet propaganda, which lay behind his excesses. She is also perceptive in her study of his political doubts and changes of opinion in the critical middle years.
Though she treats his actions fully, Antonia Fraser's true interest lies elsewhere. She has sought, she says, "to rescue the personality" of Cromwell, to detach what he truly was from the almost overwhelming weight of 17th-century scholarship which now surrounds him and his epoch. To rescue his personality? It is the modern phrase. In Cromwell's time they might have substituted the word "soul," for this is very much what she means.
Let it be said at once that she has been as nearly successful in this difficult task as anyone can hope to be. The great quality of her "Mary Queen of Scots" was her sympathetic elucidation of personality. But Mary Stuart is easy compared to Cromwell. In the first place, as Cromwell was not born in a royal family, no one at the time took much notice of his early and formative years. Material is scanty and of uncertain value for the whole of this period. In the second place, his particular brand of religion, what Antonia Fraser...
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Antonia Fraser's enormous biography [Cromwell: The Lord Protector] succeeds in what I take to be its aim: it can be read with pleasure and profit by almost anyone who can afford it, however well or ill acquainted with Cromwell's period. The pleasure might have been doubled, and the profit scarcely diminished, if the length had been halved; but even the most knowledgeable of seventeenth-century historians may feel awed by the thoroughness of Lady Antonia's research….
There are, as one might expect, no startling discoveries, for the challenge to Cromwell's modern biographers is less to unearth new evidence than to make fresh sense of the old; and none of Lady Antonia's perceptions can be said to be very original. Nevertheless, the book is distinguished by narrative skill (especially marked in the accounts of military campaigns) and by unerring good sense. No biographer has dealt so sensitively or so persuasively with Cromwell's friendships and family relationships, a theme which illuminates the public as well as the private man. The factual errors are mostly trivial. There is an occasional tendency to lean on unreliable sources, but otherwise Lady Antonia's judgments command respect even where one dissents from them.
These are admirable qualities. They are, indeed, qualities that reviewers always seem to find themselves describing as admirable. The trouble is that Oliver Cromwell was a great man, and this book,...
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Antonia Fraser's massive biography, "Cromwell: The Lord Protector," attempts, she tells us, to rescue the personality of Oliver Cromwell from the obscurity into which … it had fallen." The author draws heavily on, and pays generous tribute to, the mass of recent, more analytical scholarship on the English Revolution of 1640–1660…. It is fluently, but not vividly written, with an integrity that spurns shortcuts and oversimplifications, and is based on careful research in the sources, including a few relatively unfamiliar ones. Biographies of Cromwell—good, bad, and indifferent—abound, but there is in fact no earlier one which provides a straightforward, detailed narrative of the man's career on anything like this scale.
Cromwell's ambivalences have always fascinated historians…. The tension between the man of action and "the man of introspection" is at the center of Lady Antonia's character-analysis. She brings together a good deal of evidence about Oliver's medical history, noting the frequent bouts of depression and psychosomatic illness during periods of indecision, often followed by spells of manic activity. Perhaps over-cautiously, she shies away from anything like a full-scale psychological interpretation. But if this is no trendy piece of psycho-history, it is still a convincing portrait of a complex human being: the family man who loved music, country sports, and sometimes crude practical jokes, as well as the pious...
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C. G. Thayer
This unpretentiously splendid study [King James VI of Scotland, I of England] is beyond praise, but deserves it anyhow. It is a different sort of book from Lady Antonia's earlier studies of Mary Stuart and Cromwell in that it relies for the most part on secondary sources and original documents more or less readily available. That is to say, it is modestly introduced as not being a work of original scholarship and research. But having written so brilliantly about the mother, Lady Antonia can hardly be expected to write amateurishly about the unfortunate son. She has used her knowledge and resources with extraordinary shrewdness to produce a book every bit as sympathetic as the long out-of-print biography by Charles Williams, and a good deal more professional, in the best sense.
Rather than aiming to present new facts about James (and perhaps there are not many to be unearthed), she has offered a modest reassessment of the old ones, and, more important, she has done much to undermine the ludicrous lack of understanding of her subject that began in his own time….
Inevitably, many readers will find Lady Antonia's account of James's years in Scotland the most interesting part of the book; and with some justification, since Scottish affairs from 1567 to 1603 are on all levels something to boggle the mind. (p. 122)
But what is most important about this book is the extremely persuasive argument that...
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Shirley Strum Kenny
Antonia Fraser's King James VI of Scotland, I of England is a tribute to the king and to the age. At political matters, however, James was not adept, and Fraser's attempt to arouse "greater understanding and therefore greater sympathy" for a king she finds worthy of the "great position" of first monarch of Great Britain consequently falters. His political successes, such as they were, resulted, according to Fraser, from his indecision and inability to act. When he did act it was to embroil himself in scandal or intrigue…. As statesman James displayed none of the judgment or even taste that characterized his literary and intellectual pursuits. On the basis of his political maneuvers, it is difficult to agree with Fraser that his subjects "were not so badly served by him after all."
The brevity of the "biographical essay," as Fraser calls it, a text that runs scarcely more than 100 pages in all, makes it impossible for her to give a three-dimensional portrait of James—she had no intention of supplanting the full-length studies….
Shirley Strum Kenny, "Great Position," in The New Republic, Vol. 172, No. 12, March 22, 1975, p. 25.
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The first King of Great Britain (self-proclaimed until Parliament agreed), James Stuart has had a deservedly unenviable reputation owing to his family background, his bisexuality, his unsettled religious allegiances and his "juggle-and-rule" politics. This view of James is only slightly ameliorated by Lady Antonia Fraser [in her King James VI of Scotland, I of England]….
It would be difficult to be entirely partisan to James, and Lady Antonia stops short of adulation; but she clearly seeks to put the best gloss possible on him and on his son Charles I, to whom she refers as "the Martyr King."…
Skirting the basic conflicts in British life, Lady Antonia has produced a rather hollow essay—gorgeous on the outside, lavish in illustrations, felicitous in presentation, yet withal lacking in essential understanding of James's reigns. On superficial levels, nonetheless, she has cleared away some of the unjust accusations leveled against James that have persisted over the years….
Lady Antonia writes about … James's personal life with insight and understanding. She is properly sympathetic, I think, in delineating the forces that shaped his character and in showing that he was not hard-hearted in agreeing, in effect, to his mother's execution…. James, even in his teens, was quite aware of survival….
Although Lady Antonia's essay is not infused with profound political...
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Antonia Fraser's tale of convent capers [Quiet as a Nun, is] a heavily propertied but lightly written thriller. The proceedings are presided over by one Jemima Shore, television interviewer and one-time convent girl who has an eager eye for nunnish delights and deprivations, and remains relatively cool when confronted with kidnapped schoolgirls, candleless chapels and whispered warnings. Since the novel's villains turn out to be almost poignantly recognisable for what they are, her no-non-sense attitude is eminently justified, and carries the novel calmly over the wilder sensationalisms suggested by its title. But a certain amount of more vigorous action, and rather fewer general reflections ('How quickly autumn passed! Like every pleasure, it seemed momentary'), might have made a pleasant book more exciting.
Susannah Clapp, "Whirligig," in New Statesman, Vol. 93, No. 2410, May 27, 1977, p. 719.∗
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[In Quiet As a Nun, Lady Antonia Fraser] has created a suspenseful story, though without much success at masking the outcome. Her private investigator, Jemima Shore, of whom we at no point get any real description, seems to be an alter ego of Antonia Fraser herself. Murder in a convent would seem to be a sure-fire recipe for a thriller, especially when combined with secret passages, ghostly walks and child-abduction. But the thrills (at least as felt by this reviewer) are at best only mild, and the potentially fascinating background is treated with such unfortunate superficiality as to be disturbing rather than contributive….
There is a strange incongruity between the personality of the ultra-modern narrator-heroine, a kind of British Barbara Walters, a nationally known TV personality, and the medieval ambience of the Convent of Blessed Eleanor, where she does her sleuthing.
The strength of the book lies in the little vignettes of characterization that dot its pages, such as that of the child Tessa Justin. The protagonists—Jemima and the murderers—emerge with much less clarity.
The solution to the mystery that troubles the good nuns, accomplished by the joint efforts of one of them (whom Jemima, for a while, suspects of complicity) and Jemima herself, has long been at least partially obvious to the reader. The neat device of killing off the culprits in a convenient automobile accident is...
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There have been comparatively few biographies of Charles II, and Lady Antonia makes up for the lack [in Royal Charles: Charles II and the Restoration]. She is refreshingly unpretentious, as when she explains why she will keep her notes to a minimum: experts on the period already know the sources, and the general reader will not be interested. She makes no claim to have gone beyond the printed sources and secondary works—a huge bibliography in any case, including such splendid material as the diaries of Samuel Pepys and John Evelyn. She has worked hard and thoroughly—in some senses almost too much so, in that she seems determined to tell us all she knows about Charles II.
In her evenhanded progress through his 55 years, there might have been somewhat more differentiation and selectivity. An old-fashioned biographer with a modern sensibility, she does not hesitate to linger over the glorious set pieces in the life and does them full justice…. (pp. 1, 30)
Lady Antonia is sympathetic to her subject: understandably, she sees nothing wrong in his time-consuming devotion to sex and sport. She provides vivid pictures of his various mistresses….
The difficulty, however, is that Charles is depicted as almost too good to be true….
It is not that Charles is claimed to be perfect, but whenever there is a choice of interpretations, the favorable one is almost invariably chosen....
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J. H. Plumb
[Charles II] was tender, kind, overwhelmingly generous, and totally disillusioned. On this aspect of his character Antonia Fraser is both fresh and original [in her Royal Charles: Charles II and the Restoration]. For her, rightly, he is no "Merrie Monarch" but a cynical, melancholy man, a lover of the flesh but always conscious of the fleeting nature of its satisfactions…. His character, as well as the events of his life, make him a splendid subject for a biography and Antonia Fraser's book does him justice.
This is a far better book than either her Mary Queen of Scots or Cromwell, good as they were: the narrative is stronger, tenser, better structured; her perceptions of character go deeper and carry conviction. As always, Antonia Fraser has done her scholarly homework…. The result is the best biography of Charles II yet available: indeed it is one of the best historical biographies for some years. (p. 43)
I think Antonia Fraser slightly misjudges Charles's long-term political aspirations and, indeed, she is often unsure when dealing with the intricate political conflicts of his reign, such as relations with the French and the City. But no other writer has been so convincing on the monarch himself. And I think that Antonia Fraser has never written better—her style is here freer, wittier; her judgments of men and women and their motives deeper. She is becoming a formidably good historian and...
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W. D. Blackmon
Antonia Fraser, undaunted by the overwhelming weight of historical opinion, sets out in her latest book [Royal Charles: Charles II and the Restoration] to do what Charles Stuart himself could not do: make Charles II of England a great king. Lady Fraser has an excellent reason for such an attempt—everything bad that could possibly be said about the King's dissipation and laziness has already been said, both by his contemporaries and later biographers. Fraser's attempt to restore Charles to favorable public opinion is a fascinating blend of painstaking (and interesting) historical research and a flamboyant writing style, but, in paying court to Charles, her research is often slanted and her prose, in the manner of an apologia, elaborate, tangled, and a bit embarrassed. (p. 122)
At Charles's death, Fraser's final advice to the reader is "Let his royal ashes lie soft upon King Charles II," and my final advice to Fraser's potential reader is that the book is, as was once said of the King, "of many virtues and many great imperfections." (p. 123)
W. D. Blackmon, in a review of "Royal Charles: Charles II and the Restoration," in The Denver Quarterly, Vol. 15, No. I, Spring, 1980, pp. 122-23.
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PATRICIA CRAIG and MARY CADOGAN
Debonair Jemima, a past pupil of the convent (though she's not a Catholic) and now a successful television interviewer and presenter of her own programme, is the heroine of two detective novels by Antonia Fraser. In Quiet as a Nun (1977) she is summoned to the school to investigate queer goings-on. A cry for help is sent out by her old headmistress Mother Ancilla, and soon Jemima is back in the world of bells, statues and rosary beads. It takes 'an outsider's eye to see clearly what perhaps we, so close to it all, have missed'. 'Jemima,' says Mother Ancilla, 'you've got to tell us. Why did she die?' 'She' is Rosabelle Powerstock, or Sister Miriam, who has starved to death in a ruined tower in the convent grounds (a prop straight out of the Schoolgirls' Weekly). There are political reasons for her death, as it turns out: she owns property, including the convent and its lands; and she has fallen under the influence of a person who holds fanatical views about the redistribution of wealth. The disrupter of the convent's peace is Alexander Skarbek who actually roams its corridors at night got up as the Black Nun, a legendary figure that proves convenient for his distorted purpose. At one point in the eventful narrative he traps Jemima in a crypt replete with the bones of nuns; it is a fearful spot, but the resolute investigator never loses heart. (p. 235)
[Eventually, the mystery is solved and] the property justly disposed (it...
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The first mystery in Antonia Fraser's detective novel, Cool Repentance, is why it is not set in Ireland. The characters give off such a strong whiff of decadent Anglo-Irish flesh that it seems perverse to have located them somewhere in rural-England-by-the-sea. Anyway, despite the eccentricity of the setting, it starts off excellently.
Christobel Herrick, whose fate is at the centre of the novel, is a prematurely retired famous actress about to be enticed back on stage by an ambitious, pseudish director…. She has recently returned to her husband's home after a protracted desertion of a humiliating kind: she had run off with the stable boy, the son of the domestic servants of the house. The stable boy had used her as a stepping-stone to becoming a pop star, ruined her career, then deserted her, only to die in a motorbicycle crash. Christobel has now returned to resume her role at the centre of the household as though she had never left it. Her husband, Julian, seems as adoring as ever, but is he?… What does their governess, the aunt of the stable boy, feel about having her place in the household usurped? And, most important of all, what do Mr and Mrs Blagge, the parents of the spoilt stable boy feel at having to serve the woman they blame for their son's death? These are the questions that intrigue Jemima Shore, Antonia Fraser's prissy detective….
As can be seen, this is an excellent recipe for murder and,...
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The Weaker Vessel is a celebration, not a lament. The women whose lives fill its crowded pages include not only royal mistresses, actresses, great heiresses, and the rare (mainly childless) creative artists and writers, but the ordinary maids, wives and widows whose quieter achievements can be deduced from the family papers of the period; fittingly, the final chapter is given over to the role of the midwife. Lady Antonia has avoided the lurid and often-told stories of the Essex divorce and the Castlehaven scandal (though the adventures of Lady Roos and the witty Lady Catherine Sedley make a good substitute); she has looked, on the whole, for the encouraging and heart-warming….
Unlike Lady Antonia's other works, The Weaker Vessel lacks the unifying element of a single central figure, though she is skilful in indicating the dynastic relationships which link characters in different parts of the book. Her arrangement of the material—partly thematic, partly chronological, with chapter titles that are decorative rather than informative—encourages the reader to treat it as a bedside book rather than to seek a sustained argument. Much of the material does speak perfectly well for itself, and the author's reluctance to argue a case is partly a matter of tact, though at times it also suggests the same kind of diffidence that she notes in female writers of the period.
In fact, this extremely enjoyable book...
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[In The Weaker Vessel] the varieties of social opportunity and experience in the Stuart age indicate the difficulties posed by Antonia Fraser's subtitle, 'Woman's Lot in 17th-Century England'. A better choice might have been 'Meetings with Remarkable Women', for her book has little place for the ordinary or for the silent. In some ways, it is true, 17th-century women did have a common lot. Whatever their class, they were held to be inferior to men, intellectually, morally and spiritually. Institutions and the law, as we would say, discriminated against them. Yet in society they shared little beyond their formal disadvantages. Historical inquiry which treats people as members of a class—a class, moreover, which constitutes a rather sizable proportion of the population—does not always make them more interesting.
We need a more elastic and less anachronistic vocabulary. We talk of 'attitudes to women'—and invite the phrase to cover not only abstract statements about female characteristics but the full range of unfathomable personal feeling. The 'attitudes' we identify prove often to belong to a broader mental context from which they cannot be separated without distortion. Thus Fraser says that the 17th century had 'a distinct feeling of guilt' about 'romantic love'. Women and men alike 'shuddered away from the concept of love'; 'ever with love came guilt.' But her examples are of people feeling guilty not about loving each...
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