Thomas Wolsey: In History & Literature

A Reading List

Chapter 2 : Literature

Wolsey's earliest appearance in literature was in Shakespeare's Henry VIII (believed to be a collaboration between Shakespeare and Fletcher), in which he is shown as scheming to dispatch the Duke of Buckingham and then against Queen Katharine.

Katharine of Aragon disliked Wolsey and Anne Boleyn was his bitterest enemy so, since most of the fiction relating to the period has one or other of them as heroine, Wolsey comes off badly. However that has all changed with Hilary Mantel's novels "Wolf Hall" and "Bring Up the Bodies", where her hero, Thomas Cromwell ,is shown as being motivated by revenge as he tries to punish those whose ill-treatment of Wolsey, his first master, he resents.

Henry VIII - William Shakespeare and John Fletcher (Arden Shakespeare, 3rd Revised edition, 2000)

Wolf Hall - Hilary Mantel (Fourth Estate; First Picador edition, 2009)

Bring up the Bodies - Hilary Mantel (Fourth Estate, 2012)

Wolf Hall and Bring up the Bodies: RSC Adaptation (Fourth Estate / Nick Hern Books, January 2014)

The Autobiography of Henry VIII - Margaret George (Pan; New Edit/Cover edition, May 2012)

This article is part of a Profile on Thomas Wolsey available for Kindle, for purchase from Amazon US and Amazon UK.