Complete Works and Correspondence
To the extent that she is popularly known, Katherine Parr (1512–48) is the woman who survived King Henry VIII as his sixth and last wife. She merits far greater recognition, however, on several other fronts. Fluent in French, Italian, and Latin, Parr also began, out of necessity, to learn Spanish when she ascended to the throne in 1543. As Henry’s wife and queen of England, she was a noted patron of the arts and music and took a personal interest in the education of her stepchildren, Princesses Mary and Elizabeth and Prince Edward. Above all, Parr commands interest for her literary labors: she was the first woman to publish under her own name in English in England.
For this new edition, Janel Mueller has assembled the four publications attributed to Parr—Psalms or Prayers, Prayers or Meditations, The Lamentation of a Sinner, and a compilation of prayers and Biblical excerpts written in her hand—as well as her extensive correspondence, which is collected here for the first time. Mueller brings to this volume a wealth of knowledge of sixteenth-century English culture. She marshals the impeccable skills of a textual scholar in rendering Parr’s sixteenth-century English for modern readers and provides useful background on the circumstances of and references in Parr’s letters and compositions. Given its scope and ambition, Katherine Parr: Complete Works and Correspondence will be an event for the English publishing world and will make an immediate contribution to the fields of sixteenth-century literature, reformation studies, women’s writing, and Tudor politics.
Part 1: Prologue to Queenship, before July 1543
Part 2: Katherine as Regent of England, July to September 1544
Part 3: Queen Katherine, January 1544 to January 1547
Part 4: The Dowager Queen, February 1547 to September 1548
Part 5: Epilogue—Remembrances of the Queen, September 1548 to after 1571
Psalms or Prayers (1544)
Prayers or Meditations (1545)
Kendal Autograph Fragment
The Lamentation of a Sinner (1547)
Personal Prayerbook (ca. 1544–48)
Autograph Text (Harley 2342)
1: The Elton Hall Inscriptions Relating to Katherine Parr
2: The Inventory of Katherine Parr’s Personal EffectsIndex
"[T]his meticulous volume will prove vital to historians, literary scholars, and others interested in early modern women writers. It is unlikely to be superseded. Highly recommended."
“In this much-needed and meticulously annotated edition of the devotional writings and correspondence of Katherine Parr, Janel Mueller recovers the voice of an important Tudor author whose writings have received little attention from readers over the centuries. The first woman to publish books in English under her own name, she engaged in self-revelatory reflection that offers unique insight into the mentality of an English queen. Learned in multiple languages, she appears to have molded the character of her stepdaughter who later reigned as Elizabeth I, the Virgin Queen of England. Of particular interest within this exemplary edition are two documents written in Katherine Parr’s own hand, for which Professor Mueller provides old-spelling transcriptions that supplement the modernized texts of her complete oeuvre.”
“There has been no full annotated edition of Katherine Parr’s works before and it is high time that we had one. This new edition is a huge accomplishment, and many scholars, from those interested in women’s studies to those exploring Tudor politics to religious historians, will want to consult it.”
“Janel Mueller’s edition of the writings of Queen Katherine Parr makes a perfect bookend to the earlier edition of the writings of Queen Elizabeth I, who owed much, as this superbly collected volume shows, to the complicated example of her brave and prudent stepmother.”
Society for Study of Early Modern Women: EMW-Josephine A. Roberts Edition Award