Mantel Pieces: The New Book from The Sunday Times Best Selling Author of the Wolf Hall Trilogy
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In my Catholic childhood, I had a fascination with the stories of women who became Catholic saints, so the essay on "holy anorexia" found its perfect audience. Her piece on the way “royal bodies” are viewed and treated by the public and the media is forceful. Anderson's book begins, as it should, with the prodigal, the violent, the gross. But what do you expect? Madonna's wedding was different from other people's. In her essay on Britain's Last Witch, she describes the life of Helen Duncan, a psychic imprisoned in Royal Holloway for divulging state secrets from The Other Side.⠀
Mantel Pieces: Royal Bodies and Other Writing from the Mantel Pieces: Royal Bodies and Other Writing from the
It's reassuring to see her research in action and to appreciate to what extent it props up her fiction - she ably resists the impulse to infodump everything she knows in her novels, but the foundations as evidenced here are deep and secure. On Charles Brandon – this essay stood out to me because I realised that while I enjoyed reading the review, it made me not want to read the book I will never read most of the twenty books that make up the substance of Mantel Pieces but that doesn’t matter. Each review is a little jewel in itself - exhaustively researched and written in clean, lucid prose.
These essays are culled from Mantel’s semi-regular contributions to the London Review of Books over a period of many years. Most are based on books she’s reviewing, chosen because they’re of interest to her for one reason or another. The story of a medium prosecuted for being a witch—in the 1940s—greatly interests Mantel, and so interested me, especially as it turns into an indictment of the type of people (gender- and class-wise) deemed guilty. My favourite “piece” wasn’t a review at all but an essay called 'Meeting the Devil' written on the harrowing aftermath of her medical procedure. I can’t imagine a more intense, graphic telling. This is part of a series of diary writings that reflect on her experiences in Saudi Arabia and meeting her step-father, as well. Our selection of mantels are the perfect way to finish off your fireplace and create a feature wall in your room.
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Next, decide on you finish. Oak fireplace beams are made from partially dried new untreated sleepers, allowing you to create your desired look using oil, stain or wax. Marie Antoinette as a royal consort was a gliding, smiling disaster, much like Diana in another time and another country. But Kate Middleton, as she was, appeared to have been designed by a committee and built by craftsmen, with a perfect plastic smile and the spindles of her limbs hand-turned and gloss-varnished. Interspersed among the essays themselves are photocopied correspondences between Mantel and her LRB editor, Mary-Kay Wilmers. Many of these are a chore to make out, being both tiny and handwritten, and since they seem to be selected almost at random I'm not really sure what the benefit will be for most readers. Fun if you'd like a glimpse at how the sausage is made, I suppose. The Hair Shirt Sisterhood – on women saints and suffering. I was reminded a little of The Nun’s Tale by Candace Robb here, probably because of the description of how some of these women sought out suffering We specialise in selling beautifully crafted, high quality oak fireplace mantels and fireplace surrounds. High Quality Solid Oak Fireplace Mantels to Buy Online
Sublime, as you'd expect. What is new, however, is that when she sinks her teeth into a subject, she's brutal: “Our heroine is charmless, foul-mouthed [...] We know that in this film we are seeing the real Madonna - for we know from her other films that she cannot act”. The essays that shine through all focalise on misogyny - the infamous Royal Bodies, the Hair Shirt Sisterhood, and Britain's Last Witch; she takes figures of history who have been mythologised, and dissects the phallocentric iconography that has warped their image. And as someone who is still haunted by periods of physical and mental ill health, Meeting The Devil is the essay that lingers in my mind with a spectral quality. She writes about the visceral and mental aspects of pain so well: In both women, Mantel recognises how much the dead follow the living around & that to be alive is to be haunted. Her memoir, Giving Up The Ghost, explores this in respect to her own life & draws out her other great preoccupation: bodies & how they limit our world. ⠀ It’s important to ensure that your solid oak products are ethically sourced and of the very highest quality. By choosing to buy from a well-established brand like UK oak, you know that you’ll get exactly what you expect. Our mantel pieces are beautifully crafted and built to last.
MANTELPIECE | English meaning - Cambridge Dictionary MANTELPIECE | English meaning - Cambridge Dictionary
Another GR reviewer calls Mantel Pieces an "inessential" Mantel book. I don't know anything about that, I've only read this and the Cromwell novels, but it's definitely one of those collections you shouldn't feel guilty for not reading straight through; if you're like me, you'll probably like it better if you don't. These, in my opinion, were the highlights: Our current royal family doesn't have the difficulties in breeding that pandas do, but pandas and royal persons alike are expensive to conserve and ill-adapted to any modern environmentWhen Hilary Mantel first began to write for the London Review of Books in 1987 she warned the editor that she had “no critical training whatsoever”. “Thank goodness,” you think. What Mantel has instead are much more useful qualities: a researcher’s in-depth grasp of every topic she writes about, fearlessness, originality and robust common sense. Her wide-ranging pieces, spanning three decades, are the best kind of critical writing, rich with recondite knowledge, wearing their learning lightly. Like a Tudor detective, Mantel ferrets out the slightest whiff of historical overreach whilst managing to land some sly burns not once, but twice, to the hapless Phillipa Gregory. There is, therefore, a temptation to write afterthoughts into these pieces, to embellish them with later and better thinking. I have not done that, but left them as they were--mantelpieces littered with to-do lists, and messages form people I used to be.” From the Introduction The author is, of course, quite brilliant on the Tudors and the various iterations of Henry VIII, from strapping young prince (“Hooray Henry”), through pious apostate (“Holy Henry”) to tyrannical Bluebeard (“Horrid Henry”). But she also argues persuasively that the ageing and increasingly irascible king fits the picture for McLeod syndrome, the symptoms of which include progressive muscular weakness in the lower body, depression, paranoia, and an erosion of personality – which would make the tragedy of his reign “not a moral but a biological tragedy, inscribed on the body”. In his later years Henry suffered from osteomyelitis, an infection in the bone of the leg. ‘Historians,’ says Mantel writes, ‘and, I’m afraid, doctors, underestimate what chronic pain can do to sour the temper and wear away both the personality and the intellect.’