Thomas Wyatt was the first modern voice in English poetry. Revered at the court of Henry VIII, his poetry held a mirror to its secret, capricious world, alluding darkly to events that it might be death to describe. Thought to be the lover of Anne Boleyn, Wyatt was also the devoted 'slave' of Katherine of Aragon, and in the Tower, he was both betrayer and betrayed.
Aspiring to honesty, he was driven to secrets and lies, and forced to live with the moral and mortal consequences of his shifting allegiances. As ambassador to Emperor Charles V, he enjoyed favour, but his embassy turned to nightmare when the Pope called for a crusade against the English king and sent the Inquisition against Wyatt. At Henry VIII's court, where only silence brought safety, Wyatt played the idealized lover, but also tried to speak truth to power.
This remarkably original biography is much more than a conventional life. It is an evocation of Wyatt among his friends and his enemies, at princely courts in England, Italy, France and Spain, or alone in contemplative retreat. Using new research, Susan Brigden aims to show Wyatt in all his diversity, exploring his love, faith and politics and the beginnings of Reformation England. Above all, this new biography is attuned to Wyatt's dissonant voice and broken lyre, his paradoxical inwardness and will to 'make plain' his heart, revealing a complex, elusive, endlessly fascinating figure.
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