In the Mind of Thomas Cromwell

How self doth love . . .

Self, what are you about now?  You realize, don’t you, that you began this post as if you were a citizen of Tudor England?

It’s all Hillary Mantel’s fault.  Her novel is so good.  Self can tell you that Wolf Hall is going to be another of those slow reads which might take weeks.  Self has only read 24 books since the year began!  Ten years ago, she read an average of sixty books a year.  Her brain cells are definitely going.

On p. 177, self finally reads an explanation for the vaunted memory of Thomas Cromwell.  Mantel is so skillful that she’s been teasing the reader about this since the very beginning.  Other characters say it is so:  Cromwell never forgets anything.  He’s like Poppy Montgomery in “Unforgettable.”

Anyhoo, as self was saying, here she is on p. 177:

In Italy he learned a memory system and furnished it with pictures.  Some are drawn from wood and field, from hedgerow and copse:  shy hiding animals, eyes bright in the undergrowth.  Some are foxes and deer, some are griffins, dragons.  Some are men and women:  nuns, warriors, doctors of the church.  In their hands he puts unlikely objects, St. Ursula a crossbow, St. Jerome a scythe, while Plato bears a soup ladle and Achilles a dozen damsons in a wooden bowl.  It is no use hoping to remember with the help of common objects, familiar faces.  One needs startling juxtapositions, images that are more or less peculiar, ridiculous, even indecent.  When you have made the images, you place them about the world in locations you choose, each one with its parcel of words, of figures, which they will yield you on demand.  At Greenwich, a shaven cat may peep at you from behind a cupboard; at the palace of Westminster, a snake may leer down from a beam and hiss your name.

Some of these images are flat, and you can walk on them.  Some are clothed in skin and walk around a room, but perhaps they are men with their heads on backward, or with tufted tails like the leopards in coats of arms.  Some scowl at you like Norfolk, or gape at you, like my lord Suffolk, with bewilderment.  Some speak, some quack.  He keeps them, in strict order, in the gallery of his mind’s eye.

Perhaps it is because he is used to making these images that his head is peopled with the cast of a thousand plays, ten thousand interludes.  It is because of this practice that he tends to glimpse his dead wife lurking in a stairwell, her white face upturned, or whisking around a corner of the Austin Friars, or the house at Stepney.

Isn’t that just fascinating?

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Rantings Of A Third Kind

The Blog about everything and nothing and it's all done in the best possible taste!

Sauce Box

Never get lost in the Sauce

GK Dutta

Be One... Make One...

Cee's Photography

Learning and teaching the art of composition.

Fashion Not Fear

Fueling fearlessness through style and inspiration.

Wanderlust and Wonderment

My writing and photo journey of inspiration and discovery


Decades of her words.

John Oliver Mason

Observations about my life and the world around me.

Insanity at its best!

Yousuf Bawany's Blog


Any old world uncovered by new writing

unbolt me

the literary asylum

the contemporary small press

A site for small presses, writers, poets & readers

The 100 Greatest Books Challenge

A journey from one end of the bookshelf to the other

Random Storyteller

“Stories make us more alive, more human, more courageous, more loving.”― Madeleine L'Engle

Rants Of A Gypsy

Amuse Thyself Reader!

FashionPoetry by Val

A blog. My blog


Just another weblog

Jean Lee's World

Finder of Fantasy & Adventure in Her Own Backyard

%d bloggers like this: