Late Medieval England, 1399-1509. (Reviews).
Late Medieval England 1399-1509. A.J. Pollard. Longman. [pounds
sterling]50.00. 454 pages. ISBN 0-582-03134-6. This latest title in
Longman's History of Medieval England is by an historian widely
recognised as one of the leading experts in the field. His aim is to
'bring together the product of a good part of half a century's
research . . . by many historians'. Our understanding of the
'long' fourteenth century has been radically altered by this
new research. The format is the traditional 'king-centred'
one; it begins with Henry IV's usurpation of the Throne and ends
with the death of Henry VII. If the format is traditional the approach
adheres to the 'new learning' and rejects the traditional Whig
interpretation of the period as one of chaos and instability. The text
is divided into three parts. The first discusses the politics under
Lancastrian rule (1399-1461); the second is a more discursive study of
English society during the whole period of the book; the third looks at
the political conflicts under the York and early Tudor dynasties. While
this period was, he concludes, 'politically unsettled, it was
socially stable'. The century was different not because it saw
military conflicts but because these were of a dynastic order which
affected government. The real end of the 'middle ages' came
with the Reformation, not before.