Doctor Lucy Arnold is a Lecturer in Contemporary Literature at the 冰球突破官网. In this Academic Blog she explores the connection between Worcester Cathedral and the novels of Hilary Mantel.  Hilary Mantel’s latest novel '镜子与光' was published in 2020:

Worcester Cathedral, 矗立在塞文河岸边, dominates the Worcester skyline and shapes the city centre’s aural character as its bourdon bell strikes each hour. As a landmark, 它经常出现在我上下班的路上, 在福尔盖特街车站, across the river and uphill to the St John’s campus of the 冰球突破官网, 近两年来, 在薄雾中或在初夏的阳光下发光. 希拉里·曼特尔的 镜子与光 approached in 2020, I was drawn inside the building to ask how putting this local landmark into conversation with Mantel’s Tudor novels - particularly the text which introduced her readership to Thomas Cromwell’s England, Wolf Hall - destabilises a perception of the historic building as an incontestable element of the narrative of certain moments in the historical past. My visits revealed how historical fictions and the heritage sites they reference intersect through their accommodation of the gaps in the historical record, the moments when documentary evidence fails and we are thrown back on our own imaginations. Such texts and places have the capacity to put pressure on the dominant narratives of history, to allow us, 作为访客和读者, 提出一组新的问题.


Cathedral Ruines

‘How lonely it is to die young, to go down into the dark without any company! 莫里斯·圣约翰没有和他在一起, 也不是克罗默·威廉·伍德尔先生, 也没有一个人听到他说, “Masters, 有妻子是一种很好的消遣.”’ 

克伦威尔在 Wolf Hall, 一个在小说和地方之间建立紧张联系的评论, 介于文学小说之间, 建筑事实与史学猜想. 也许比其他类型的小说更有吸引力, the historical novel makes claims on our material world and the way we understand it, 根据冰球突破官网读过的历史文献提出主张, 还有冰球突破官网参观的遗产,比如伍斯特大教堂. Moreover, heritage sites, 不管是不是宗教场所, similarly generate relationships to the historical past and the historical dead. We sit where they sat, we touch what they touched – or at least, we may assume we do. 



Cromwell’s comment foregrounds Worcester’s most prominent connection to the Tudor world, and to the world of Wolf Hall:它是亚瑟·都铎王子的长眠之地, 都铎王朝的最大希望, whose death at the age of fifteen ushered in the reign of Henry VIII, 亨利的宗教改革, tangentially, 托马斯·克伦威尔史无前例的崛起. 但如果亚瑟走起路来像个幽灵. . .勤奋的和苍白的 Wolf Hall, a phantom who appears in dreams to make cryptic claims on the future, we might assume that stepping into his chantry chapel at Worcester would offer a more tangible and unambiguous connection to Arthur’s story, 经常被删节或遗忘的, 被他哥哥更著名的故事所掩盖.

但正如史蒂文·冈恩和琳达·蒙克顿在他们的书中观察到的那样 亚瑟·都铎,威尔士亲王:生、死和纪念,亚瑟王的教堂提出了许多“解释问题”。. No records exist pertaining to the commissioning of building of the tomb, the labour or costs involved or the extent of royal involvement in its erection. 教堂建起来花了多长时间, whether it has always stood in its current position – all of these details remain in question, 尤其是亚瑟尸体的位置. The position of the chantry encourages the untrained eye to assume that Arthur’s bones repose either in his box tomb itself (as is the case for his royal companion in the cathedral, 约翰国王)或者在它下面. However, archaeological surveys undertaken in 2011 using ground penetrating radar revealed a large chamber off to one side of the tomb which may, or may not, 包含亚瑟的遗骸. 与亚瑟王有关的物质历史, far from offering a straightforwardly graspable account of his burial and memorialisation, 相反,继续挑衅和抗拒解释.


To grasp the challenges to interpretation that this structure poses to the visitor, and the way that resistance mirrors other resistances present in Mantel’s account of the Tudor world and of Prince Arthur’s haunting legacy in particular, 有必要详细研究一下这座陵墓的建筑结构. In Wolf Hall, Mantel depicts the ruthless process of architectural editing commissioned by Anne Boleyn as she seeks to eradicate any material trace of her forebear, Katherine of Aragon: ‘[Anne] is planning to commandeer Katherine’s royal barge [. . .],并拥有设备“H&K "被烧掉了,凯瑟琳的徽章都被抹掉了.“检查亚瑟王子的教堂, however, reveals that the historical Anne’s efforts were not universally successful. High on the walls of the chapel are carved pomegranates, Katherine of Aragon’s emblem. Meanwhile, the chamber conjectured by archaeologists to 包含亚瑟的遗骸 is much larger than necessary to contain one body, prompting speculation from historians such as Mark Duffy that the chamber may have originally been intended to allow Katherine to be laid to rest next to her husband.

The stone pomegranates and empty chamber continue to attest to a narrative which never came to fruition, 维护亚瑟和凯瑟琳的合法婚姻, 来维持凯瑟琳在都铎王朝叙事中的地位. They speak to the provisional quality of history, an awareness of which saturates Wolf Hall. In a passage which echoes the inscription on the historical Arthur’s tomb, 曼特尔这样描述被遗忘的王子:“如果他现在还活着, 他将成为英格兰国王. His younger brother Henry would likely be Archbishop of Canterbury and would not (at least we devoutly hope not) be in pursuit of a woman of whom the Cardinal hears nothing good. [. . .在每一段历史之下,还有另一段历史.’


Author Bio: Lucy Arnold is a lecturer in English Literature (Contemporary) at the 冰球突破官网. Her book 阅读希拉里·曼特尔:闹鬼的几十年 由布卢姆斯伯里出版社于2019年出版

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Photo Credit: 图片由伍斯特大教堂提供

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