BEYOND THE NEW BOOKS
Yale's strategy for the series is becoming clearer. Starting in 2016 the oldest books in the series have been replaced by new and updated books. The first was 'William the Conqueror'. At the time this seemed to be an unusual addition to English Monarchs, but it has proved to be the first in what may be a long line of updated titles. Since 2016 three of the first four books in the series ('Henry VIII' is the exception) have been updated, and additionally Yale has published a new Richard III, the series status of which has yet to be confirmed.
Therefore it would not be unexpected if in the next few years Yale issues new books of those titles in the series published by Methuen up to 1992, which are:
William the Conqueror (1964)
James I (1967)
Henry VIII (1968)
Edward the Confessor (1970)
Henry VII (1972)
Henry II (1973)
Edward IV (1974)
Henry VI (1981)
Richard III (1981)
William II (1983)
Edward I (1988)
Henry V (1992)
Those listed in Italics already have been replaced or, in the case of James I, promised but missing in action. Some of the above are more out of date than others. The contemporary (and subsequent) reviews of Henry VI indicate that it was out of date when it was published. James I was an inferior historical biography and one Yale dropped like a hot coal as soon as they took charge of the series. Jack Scarisbrick and Michael Prestwich are still living and perhaps Yale might not consider replacing works of living authors. Edward IV by Charles Ross is an unlikely candidate for replacement as it is still regarded widely as the classic and standard work on this king.
There are many variables at work and none of them are known. All we do know is to expect surprises such as that of March 2020 when the new 'Edward the Confessor' was announced and five months notice.
This list does not include the four titles brought into the series by Yale and perhaps these will not be challenged. Indeed, the authors of two of them are still living. Of these four, the one very inadequate title is George I which does not conform to the house-style of the series - as broad as that is - and more importantly it does not present the politics and history of Britain during the reign. Instead the book is focused on the foreign policy of the first Hanoverian king of Great Britain. It deserves a place at the head of the queue for replacement.
The release of Henry III was announced in September 2019 via Yale's website with publication dates of May 2020 in the UK and June 2020 in the USA.
Edward the Confessor
Yale unexpectedly added a new book to the series list early in 2020. 'Edward the Confessor' by Tom Licence was published on 11 August 2020 in the UK on 29 September 2020 in North America.
FORTHCOMING ENGLISH MONARCHS SERIES TITLES
Simon Adams (Reader in History, University of Strathclyde) is finishing work on ‘Elizabeth I’ for Yale. After several delays the book is now scheduled for release in October 2024.
James VI and I
Yale UK has posted in their online catalogue confirming the basic publication details and confirming that it is an English Monarchs title, but without a publication date. The URL seems to be an orphan page with no easy point of access and does not appear in search results. Of the three forthcoming titles we know about this is the only one which has never had a release date. It will be the last of the above to see publication and the author is still working on the book.
The latest Yale biographies to compliment the English Monarchs series were the two titles released in 2019 - 'Matilda' written by Catherine Hanley and 'Richard III' written by Michael Hicks and the 2021 release 'The Making of Oliver Cromwell' by Ronald Hutton. No further Yale biographies of non-series kings, consorts or contestants or heirs are known to be forthcoming.
George IV is the most recent monarch to have a biography in the series. After George IV and yet to be written are biographies of, in sequence, William IV; Victoria; Edward VII; George V; Edward VIII; George VI and Elizabeth II. There are convincing arguments that the series will not see biographies of the 20th Century monarchs, certainly not Elizabeth II, who is still living. Some government Cabinet papers are embargoed up to fifty years (others for a shorter period) and therefore not available for researchers. Records in private hands often find their way to library collections but also are put under embargo either for a period of time or while any nominated individual is still living. For these reasons alone the level of inquiry necessary for a successful Yale biography is thwarted.
However there are some gaps to fill for earlier monarchs. Of the remaining five unpublished reigns Elizabeth I and James VI & I are known to be in various stages of preparation. Therefore only three reigns are lacking a biographer: the two Charles’ and William & Mary.
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