Category Archives: The Making of a Journal

Interview with Glenn Richardson

Glenn Richardson is Professor of Early Modern History at St. Mary’s University, London. He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and an Honorary Fellow of the Historical Association. He specializes in the history of Tudor England and its political and cultural relations with Renaissance Europe. He has published extensively on the topic and is currently working on a biography of Cardinal Wolsey. We caught up with him to discuss his article for the Royal Studies Journal, “The King, the Cardinal-Legate and the Field of Cloth of Gold” in the special issue on Renaissance Cardinals which he edited.

Elena, Cathleen, Kristen: Good day Prof. Richardson and thank you for taking some time to do this interview!

You have written a very interesting article on one of the most fascinating characters of Tudor England. Thomas Wolsey came from a common family, and advanced to the second-highest position in the kingdom by his clerical career. Was this still a common occurrence in the early modern period, or was Wolsey indeed a huge exception? Was the promotion of “new men” perhaps a characteristic of the Tudor era, given the political background of the War of the Roses, the new dynasty and the lack of trust for old families?

Glenn Richardson: The early years of Henry VIII up to the period with the break with Rome were still very much dominated by the clerical estate. Many of the king’s leading counsellors and opinion-formers were senior clerics, like Fox, Warham, and Ruthall who (unlike many of their French or Spanish or German counterparts) were from gentry or commoner backgrounds. It was into this clerical establishment that Wolsey himself was first drawn through the patronage of Fox. His background was therefore not perhaps as exceptional as might first be thought, but his meteoric and stratospheric rise certainly was. The first two Tudor kings did directly or indirectly, bring into royal service numbers of ‘new men’ with backgrounds in law and the emerging humanities rather than theology and church administration, based on their competence and capacity for work – and Wolsey was certainly one of those.

Banner of Cardinal Wolsey

Elena, Cathleen, Kristen: And Wolsey had indeed done the king many services but it seems that Henry’s desired annulment of his first marriage became the cardinal’s Achilles heel. He appears ambitious but also very calculating, a man who knew well what and whom he was dealing with. Would you say that it was basically an unfortunate accumulation of circumstances that brought him down or did he overreach himself in the eyes of Henry VIII?

Glenn Richardson: It is true that Wolsey had made his entire career by giving the king what he wanted. He was able to give Henry a high international profile by means other than warfare for a long time but that tied his fortunes very tightly to the uncertain world of European politics. Had the Sack of Rome by Charles V’s rebellious troops in April-May 1527 not happened, it is possible that Pope Clement VII might have granted Henry the annulment of his marriage that he sought, but dependent as he was on the protection of Charles for his own and Florentine family’s interests, Clement was not going to do anything to bite the hand that might yet feed him – whatever the theological arguments for annulment Henry mounted. Wolsey was quite conventional, if imaginative, in his thinking and made strenuous efforts to secure his aim through all kinds of channels and suggested ways forward but, yes, an accumulation of adverse circumstances prevented him from doing all he might have done to achieve his aim. The failure of the Blackfriars’ legatine court and the signing at the same time of the Peace of Ladies between Charles V and Francis I, left Henry without the annulment he had sought and isolated in Europe. It finally undermined his confidence in Wolsey.

Elena, Cathleen, Kristen: You argue convincingly that Wolsey’s loyalty lay with the king’s interests much more than with the church’s, but how were those loyalties perceived towards the end of his career and afterwards? Was he perhaps even accused of being a papal spy and was his deposition partly a statement to the pope?

Pope Leo X (right) with Cardinal Giulio de Medici (left)

 Glenn Richardson: Wolsey was never in favour of the king’s divorce, a fact which he asked Henry to acknowledge publicly at the Blackfriars’ trial. This was in answer to allegations that he had somehow sought to bring a divorce about. In 1529, Wolsey was caught between a king in whose interests he had largely run the Church in England (through his legatine powers), and the papacy that had granted him those powers but for whom he had in fact done comparatively little. He fell only because he could not, for once, give the king all that he wanted.  I don’t think there was any suggestion that Wolsey was acting as the pope’s ‘agent’ in preventing the legatine court arriving at a decision favourable to Henry (although his fellow legate Campeggio almost certainly was). Subsequently, as part of the posthumous vilification of him by the chronicler Edward Hall and others, Wolsey was portrayed as both a papal dogsbody, and a man with an overweening ambition for the papal crown himself. Neither allegation can really be substantiated.

 Elena, Cathleen, Kristen: How then, was Wolsey perceived in Vatican City and how were the events you described in your article received there?

Glenn Richardson: The events which led to the creation of the Treaty of Universal Peace in 1518 and the Field of Cloth of Gold two years later were well reported and understood in Rome. Leo X had papal legates in England and France and the German lands for the negotiation of what he had intended as a truce between Christian princes and which Wolsey converted into an international non-aggression pact apparently sponsored by Henry but organized entirely by himself. They reported back to Leo regularly. There were French, Imperial and Venetian ambassadors at the English court, and in Rome, who (for their own varied interests) kept the pope well informed about Wolsey’s status and reputation in England and he was perceived rightly, if regretfully, as the key to Henry himself. Wolsey was seen as ambitious for England, pompous and difficult to deal with but impossible to ignore – so a mix of threats and inducements of various kinds were offered. The key to Wolsey in turn, was his desire for permanent legatine status in England. This, Leo was reluctant to give because he had no confidence that such an appointment would make Wolsey work more for him than for his king. He was right to be cautious.

Close up from the Field of Cloth of Gold ©Kent Rawlinson

Elena, Cathleen, Kristen: So the pope was indeed suspicious of Wolsey. At the same time he could not openly act against the peace alliances because it would have made him look hypocritical. Did he perhaps try to undermine them in any other way?

Glenn Richardson: There was little trust between Leo X and Wolsey and the pope constantly sought to undermine Wolsey’s ‘universal peace’ of 1518, in which he had no more than a walk-on role, by trying to get Henry to ally with Charles V against Francis I of France. Even as Henry and Francis met at the Field, Leo was in effect promising to make Wolsey a legate for life (something Wolsey very much wanted) if he could bring about an anti-French alliance, in order to force Francis to relinquish his hold on Milan. In the end this did come about in 1521, but that was because by then Wolsey and Henry had finally recognized that for all the talk of Henry’s being the ‘arbiter’ of Christendom, war between Francis and Charles was all but inevitable and Henry had to be kept on the likely winning side. So Leo got what he wanted (without having to grant Wolsey lifetime legatine status) and was comprehended in the anti-French alliance in November 1521. Even then Wolsey made clear that it would be Henry who determined the timetable for action against France, not Leo.

 Elena, Cathleen and Kristen: Your analysis show that Wolsey was a very complex character. It must be difficult to do him justice on screen. Yet, Wolsey has been depicted quite a lot recently in historical dramas like “Tudors” and “Wolf Hall”. What do you think of these portrayals?

Glenn Richardson: Wolsey is such a difficult character to portray. All the contemporary, or near contemporary, descriptions we have of him emphasize his arrogance, his pomposity and bombast, his cleverness, and his ambitiousness and this has given the lead to actors for generations. Many sources also acknowledge, however, his personal charm and sense of humour (especially for Henry VIII), his eloquence, his capacity for imaginative diplomacy, his considerable administrative competence, a desire to see the kingdom of England well governed, and his enormous appetite for sheer hard work. No recent portrayal captures the balance of these aspects of his personality very well, and having Sam Neil’s Wolsey in The Tudors cut his own throat in despair was just stupid. In my opinion the one portrayal than comes closest to capturing the many varied aspects of Wolsey’s personality and his role as Henry’s chief advisor is Anthony Quale’s subtle and highly nuanced performance in the 1969 film Anne of the Thousand Days.

Elena, Cathleen and Kristen: Richard Burton did quite a nice job as well in this movie playing Henry VIII. You also compiled an issue on Cardinals for the Royal Studies Journal. Could you please tell us a bit more about the role of cardinals at courts, in government, and within royal society?

Glenn Richardson: I have long found Cardinals an interesting group of people and historical subject in themselves, particularly those of the Renaissance period and after. They, more than other senior clerics, embody the close connections between Church and State, belief and politics in the early-modern period. I suppose my interest in them derives from that in monarchy and royal courts. They were at once enigmatic and impressive creatures, the electors of the popes who were the spiritual monarchs of Christendom, sometimes for the better and very often for the worse. After all one had to be a cardinal to be a pope and the papal Curia was, arguably, Christian Europe’s earliest and most complex royal court. I find their roles at Rome and in their home kingdoms, principalities and republics as agents of the papal rule interesting insofar as they always had to face in two directions, towards the papacy as its chief advisors, agents and representatives, ‘the princes of the Church’, but also back towards their own families as the majority in this period were of noble blood (and not a few from royal lines). Royal authority and papal authority had ideally to work in tandem, at least until the Reformation, and yet frequently did not do so very well at all. No two cardinals resolved the inherent contradictions of their ‘Janus-like’ position in quite the same way. Those kinds of questions and considerations were very much at the heart of the 2015 conference on them as ‘diplomats and patrons’ in relation to monarchs, which prompted the current issue.

Elena, Cathleen, Kristen: Thank you very much for answering our questions and giving us a deeper insight into the subject! We are looking forward to reading your biography on Cardinal Wolsey. Apart from the book, what are your next projects?

Glenn Richardson: I have a number of things that I have been tinkering away at for some time to complete including an article on an oration delivered by the University of Paris to Mary Tudor, the sister of Henry VIII, when she married Louis XII of France in 1514. It is a very arcane speech but interesting on showing how a French academic can be nice about England (and to an English woman) when he needs to be! I have a study of leading courtiers of Francis I of France les gentilshommes de la chambre du roi, to complete, making comparisons with the courtiers of Henry VIII. I am working on an article about Sir William Fitzwilliam, one of Henry VIII’s leading courtiers and am also pursuing my research into masculinity and kingship in the early-modern period. The 500th anniversary of the Field of Cloth of Gold is coming up in 2020 and I am working with the Historic Royal Palaces agency in Britain and several TV production companies on exhibitions and possible collaborations to mark that event.

Elena, Cathleen, Kristen: These sound like some ambitious and interesting projects. We wish you good luck with your endeavors!

Cardinal Thomas Wolsey



Royal Studies Journal – Next Round

A new issue of the Royal Studies Journal is out! Already the fourth issue dealing with all topics on Royal Studies, and showing the breadth of the field in its articles and book reviews.

Enjoy reading about the complicated, and ultimately failed, marriage negotiations between the two branches of the Habsburg family in the second half of the 17th century, and their influence on a major dispute like the Spanish War of Succession. This article by Rocío Martínez López won the 2016 RSJ/CCCU article prize. Also, learn more about the new prizes for articles and books in the statements from Lois L. Huneycutt and Zita Eva Rohr. Don’t think, this is all we have for you: there is even more to learn from Talia Zaja about the Rus-born queen Anna Yaroslavna of French king Henri I, and new sources are being examined by Gordon McKelvie on the reception of the bastardy of Edward V.

Summer time is upon us and with it reading time: check out the book reviews from English, German, French and Spanish books on Royal Studies.

Let us know what you think about this new issue! If you have an article for the Royal Studies Journal, see our submit-page. Know a Royal Studies book you would like to review? See here for further information on getting your review into the Journal.

And finally, keep a look out for our interviews with the authors of this issue, and learn more about their research.

Interview with Layout Editors, Diana Pelaz Flores and Danna Messer

Dr. Diana Pelaz Flores has received her PhD from the University of Valladolid, Spain. Her research focused on the study of Castilian Queenship during the 15th century, especially in the reign of Juan II of Castile (1406-1454) and his two wives, Queens María of Aragón (1420-1445) and Isabel of Portugal (1447-1496). Currently, she is working in different research projects related to the symbolic importance of water in the Middle Ages and the formulation of the meaning of queenship in the Iberian Kingdoms.

Dr. Danna Messer has received her PhD from Bangor University in Northern Wales (and for everyone who has ever been to Bangor, that means she is also very adept at climbing steep hills). Her research focuses on women living in native Wales before the English conquest of 1282. While her PhD primarily concentrated on married women from the aristocratic and noble classes, she is now taking a closer look at ‘queens‘ and royal women from the native princely dynasties in historical and literary sources and records of practice.

Diana and Danna are the layout editors of the Royal Studies Journal – we got together with them to ask them, what it is they do and also a bit about their research.

Cathleen: Thank you both for doing this interview. First of all, could you tell us a bit more what a layout editor does?

Danna & Diana:  Well, essentially, to coin a friend’s term: the clue is in the title!  After an article or review has successfully gone through the peer-review process and is submitted for publication, it goes through the stages of being proofread and copy-edited.  Eventually, the final version is sent to our team to template it and lay it out according to our guidelines.  As editors, we work closely with the layout assistants; assigning articles and reviews to be laid out so the work is spread out as equally as possible and, ideally, with enough leeway time so there’s not a lot of stress involved at the end of production.  It’s not really just a matter of simply delegating work.  It’s about working with each other, including laying out articles ourselves, and helping with any glitches that arise.  There’s also the matter of looking after the online system that we have set up for the journal and making sure all the right boxes are ticked (figuratively and literally).  This side is important because if we don’t go through the proper technical channels, the journal physically can’t be published.

Levin article word file

Levin article layout version

Carole Levin‘s article on the afterlife of Elizabeth I in Stuart England, before and after Diana, Danna and their team worked on it

Cathleen: So, you are pretty much the last step to make sure everything is as it should be. How does your work fit in with all the other steps, e.g. section editors, copy editors and so on? Is there a lot of communication going on between these different roles?

Danna & Diana:  Really, with the journal overall there seems to be a lot of open communication across the board.  Certainly, as layout editors we work pretty closely with the copy editor, since her job also entails issues concerning agreed house formatting and style.

Cathleen: There is a quite a team of layout editors at the journal. Could you tell us a bit more about how you organise the work between you? Are there multiple rounds of checking? Also, what kind of software to you use? And what are the challenges there?

Danna & Diana: The main task is overseeing the OJS side of things so we can make sure the publication is pushed through on time and that the articles and reviews that appear in the publication are the final versions that are meant to be there.

We have an absolutely fantastic team to be working with.  Everyone is so enthusiastic about getting their hands dirty, so to speak, in order to help this journal be a continued success.  And, communication within the layout team is impressive given we are all busy with other life demands and spread so far and wide – if an email is sent querying something or if someone flags up an issue that needs to be dealt with it’s usually within a matter of a couple of hours at the most that any of us have to wait for a response.  It’s brilliant.  And reassuring.

We do multiple rounds of checking, as far as we can.  Generally, after an article or review has been laid out, it is sent back to the copyediting team and authors for a last run through to make sure everyone is happy we’re meeting our standards.  Previously, the journal has used Publisher for layout, but we are currently in the process of rejigging things with the intent to use Word from here-on-out.  There’s a general consensus that this switch will hopefully make the last-minute chaos that ensues in publishing when trying to meet deadlines a lot less chaotic!

Cathleen: Good luck with that! Besides layout editing for the journal, you have of course also your own research. Could you tell us a bit more about this?

Danna: My main research interest are the wives of the Welsh rulers before Wales was conquered by the English in 1282.  In particular, I focus on the ideals and expectations concerning women and gender found in the native and normative Welsh sources roughly composed during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries and examine these against what records of practice actually tell us about the types of agency royal and noble women held.  Welsh queenship and kingship are very complicated topics because the whole system of rulership was pretty ill-defined and even use of the terms queenship and kingship are debatable.  My research on Welsh queens, nevertheless, is proving exciting because after some painstaking delving into the sources, it‘s pretty clear that women enjoyed real levels of political and economic agency that effected the administration/management of family lordships, as well as native Welsh polity and international relations.  It’s a topic that’s been ignored for too long and I just find it fascinating.

Diana: My research focuses on the role of the queens of Castile during the Late Middle Ages, especially in their role as the wives of kings. My main objective in my PhD was to understand the role of the queen consort in the different spheres of participation in the kingdom. By this reason, I have observed the political relevance of the wives of King Juan II of Castile (1406-1454), because these two women established a singular conflict against the king’s favourite, the Constable of Castile, Álvaro de Luna. The research on these Castilian queens, in relation to examples given by other queens of the Trastamara dynasty, has inspired other angles concerning Castilian queenship, such as the role of the queen as mother, the configuration of the queen’s itinerary, or the formation and composition of the queen’s household, among other aspects. The study of these women has been absolutely fascinating for me, because it helps me appreciate the importance of the queen in her context and the true role that developed with the evolution of the Crown of Castile. It is really suggestive and, in my opinion, it is a research field as interesting as necessary to understand the functions of the queen in the medieval period.

Cathleen: Alright, both of you share this fascination of medieval Queens – be it Welsh or Castilian. And, come to think of it, Castilian medieval queens and noble women in general are also research interests of the chief copy-editor of the Royal Studies Journal, Jitske Jasperse. Can you tell us a bit more about this fascination of medieval queens? For example, what exactly were their roles in politics? Did they mostly have influence via cultural patronage, or how did this work in a mostly male dominated world?

Danna:    For me, the fascination with queenship stems from the traditional lack of understanding (and, really, historic disinterest) concerning women’s lives in general.  There is so much research now showing that women were hardly on the periphery of society as most of history has led us to believe.  I think it’s crucial that we understand the varying levels of agency and downright power that women actually wielded from every aspect of society in order to have a more balanced view of the past.  I think this, in turn, has a direct impact on changing gender and sex relations and attitudes in our own cultures.

As for royal women in medieval Wales, there is a lot of evidence that strongly suggests that the office of the ‘queen’ was one that allowed the ruler’s wife significant political agency, on both the national and international stages.  In fact, there is very little evidence between 1100-1282 of the queen’s influence in terms of cultural patronage or the import of the pigeon-holed role of the woman as mother.  Though medieval Wales has been portrayed as a male-dominated society, all surviving evidence seems to singularly point towards real social and cultural expectations that women, and especially the wives of Welsh rulers, be both politically and economically active.

Diana: Well, I think the study of the relationship maintained by the women and power from the past let us to know the capacity and the implication of women in history, but also in the history of themselves. This is very important, since it increases our knowledge, especially with respect to the relations between the sexes and their mechanisms of acting. There are different roles developed by the queens, and the case given by the Crown of Castile is very interesting for its complexity and wealth of the scenarios where queens could participate. Concrete, during the government of the Trastamara dynasty (during the 14th/15th centuries), the same to which Isabel the Catholic belongs, we can observe the importance of Juana Manuel de Villena, the first queen of the dynasty, who legitimized her husband for the Castilian throne, thanks to her succession rights; her example is very similar to Catalina of Lancaster, as heir of the succession rights of Pedro I, the king who was murdered by Enrique of Trastamara. This relevance of the queens from the birth of the dynasty motivated a particular evolution and their specific weight in the Castilian Late Middle Ages. This was fruit of a historical relevance of the women of the royal family, because they could govern and inherit the throne according with the traditional law, different, for example, of the case of France where the Salic Law impeded it. In consequence, throughout medieval history of the Crown of Castile we can see strong queens consort, queens mother exerting the government as regents and queens regnant, too.

Cultural patronage is a fundamental field of study for understanding medieval queens, because it is possible to contrast the impact of their religiosity and their taste for literature, but it is not the only sphere where we can find the queens. The Castilian queens participated with her husband in the concession of privileges and they took part of the political evolution of the kingdom. In this sense, the queens were close to their husbands in the war against the Muslims; in occasions they even commanded the troops, as happened in the case of Juana Manuel during the Civil War after the death of king Pedro I. The capacity of the Queen to transmit her identity and her political perception can be observed clearly, such as reveals the example of María of Aragón against the royal favourite, who tried to separate her from the king Juan II. We can appreciate (at least in part, because not all documentation has been conserved) their functions in towns and cities that composed her lands as Queen of Castile, in addition to knowing her relevant influence on her children, thanks to their authority as mother.

Cathleen: Finally, is there anything you like to add – any way an author for the journal can help make your job easier, or anything else?

Danna & Diana:  I think our switch from Publisher to Word will make everyone’s job easier in the long-run, from the submission stage to the final layout.  It’s a good move to make.

Cathleen: Thank you both so much for doing this interview!

Danna & Diana:  Our pleasure!


Interview with Philippa Woodcock

Niki: Thanks for doing an interview with us! to begin, how did you get interested in history? especially the period you specialize in?

Philippa: Thank you, I’m flattered to be asked. It is entirely my mother’s fault that I became a historian. She read historical novels non-stop (Dorothy Dunnett’s Lymond and Niccolo novels especially) and had the portraits of the six wives of Henry VIII above her bath (but not Henry VIII). Anne Boleyn was a clear favourite, but I always preferred Katherine Parr (ah, the admiral!)

Niki: Your latest article contribution to the RSNJ is fascinating. Is this a subject you’ve been studying for years?

Philippa: Thank you. The article is a bit of an aside to my PhD which I finished in 2006 and, to my shame have still to publish. I ended up studying French Milan thanks to my supervisor, Evelyn Welch, who advised me to work in very quiet archives – Milan, Mantua, Cremona etc – rather than Florence.  When I started researching the de Foix family’s role in Milan, I realised that studying the governors would also give me an excuse to do research in Pau and Tarbes….

Each time I go to a new archive I always make a quick sweep of terms relating to French Milan before starting my other research. There’s a lot of unpublished material out there, even though Italian and French scholars have really revived interest in this period in the last twenty years.

Niki: What went into the research for this article?

Philippa: A long process and lots of travel! This article’s origins are in the Kings and Queens 3 conference in Winchester in July 2014. I remembered a contemporary Venetian observer remarking that Lautrec always maintained and fed a certain number of liveried servants and followers, so my contribution developed from that. Whilst teaching for Warwick in Venice I had the absolute luxury of being able to spend some time in the archivio di stato, where some references survive to the gifts given to Lautrec and his cronies by the Republic. I then gave the adapted paper at a researchconvegno, and was given some leads for future work from Italian scholars. Finally, when I submitted the article to the RSJ I got some really useful feedback about new research and publications that I had missed. This iterative editorial process is so important to ensure that work is representative of the state of scholarship, as well as including original archival research.

Niki: Was there anything that surprised you when conducting your research?

Philippa: I’m afraid that I get carried away in the archives and go off on tangents. I knew from Sanudo that Lautrec and Gritti had a difficult relationship, so I looked through the draft despatches of the Senate for 1515-20. I came across some lovely nuggets about provisions being made for Andrea Gritti to travel by litter on campaign, rather than horseback, owing to his age. This meets the idea of Venetian gerontocracy, but somehow goes against the idea of Gritti ‘man of action’. I was also interested to see how many references were made to the scars on Lautrec’s face which seemed to have affected his sinuses and made it necessary for him to frequently hawk up phlegm. He even adopted the panther as his emblem for it too had a ‘savage visage’.

Niki: Thanks again for letting us interview you! One last question: what are you working on next?

Philippa: Lots of things. I get distracted easily! I am working with my friend and former colleague, Matthias Range, to publish our post-doctoral work on Reformation rural religion, exploring the daily religious experience in isolated Catholic and Lutheran parishes. However, my main project (going slowly at present) concerns the experience of French mariners in the Venetian Stato da Mar. I have lots of juicy French complaints about the Venetians seizing French goods on rather flimsy pretexts. I aim to match this with Venetian enquiries into ‘misconduct’ and pre-consular diplomatic activity. I’ve looked at this in Paris, but I need to get down to Marseille. And one day, I will publish my PhD in some form or another….

Interview with chief copy editor, Jitske Jasperse

Dr. Jitske Jasperse is a medievalist from the University of Amsterdam, specialising in Royal Studies, gender history and with a focus on the 12th century. In her PhD The Many Faces of Duchess Matilda. Matronage, Motherhood and Mediation in the Twelfth Century she showed the sphere of influence of a royal woman by analysing her cultural patronage. In 2016 she will continue her research on medieval noblewomen in relation to coins and seals at the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas in Madrid.

Jitske was also one of the founding members of the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, Amsterdam and is involved with the medieval network CARMEN. In addition to all that, she is the chief copyeditor of the Royal Studies Journal, and has agreed to tell us a bit more about her work and research.

Cathleen: Thank you, Jitske, for doing this interview. First of all, could you tell us a bit more about what a copyeditor does?

Jitske: Copyediting is an exciting and challenging task, because you need to analyse the articles and reviews in a formal way – checking spelling, style, punctuation – without getting carried away by the content and the author’s argument. The copyeditors use a stylesheet – which is the author stylesheet that can also be found on the RSJ website – to check whether the authors overlooked elements in style and spelling and to make the overall style in the journal as coherent as possible.

Screenshot StyleguideSnippet of the stylesheet

In order to do so the copyeditors use the famous ‘track changes’ and ‘new comment’ buttons, so that the author of the article or review is able to see what the copyeditor has changed or suggested. While a copyeditor’s main task is to detect style- and spelling mistakes, occasionally he or she will also ask the author to clarify sentences.

Cathleen: How does this work fit into the general process of making the Royal Studies Journal? When do authors interact with you?

Jitske: Of course copyediting isn’t the first step. A lot of work on the articles and reviews has already been done by the section-editors and review-editors who support the authors. Together with the layout team the copyeditors are part of the production team. The copyeditors are there to track and change the final errors that have been overlooked by the author.

01 example of copyedit comments in reviewExample of copyedit comments

Of course you need to read the content of text, but you also have to look at the text as a text searching for double spacing, odd quotations marks and forgotten International Standard Book Numbers (ISBN). Yet, the final work is done by the layout team, who has the big and laborious task to make the journal visually coherent. As copyeditors we try – and sometimes fail – to make their lives easier by trying to deliver flawless texts.

Cathleen: That sounds like quite a task! Especially since there are so many different styles of writing, or come to think of it, also of spelling. Maybe the easier question first: is the journal published in British or American English (or another kind)? And the slightly more difficult question: what do you look for in writing styles besides clarity? Are there some general rules you could give us and the prospective authors of the journal?

Jitske: Yes well, to make it slightly more challenging, although we prefer articles in English we also accept them in foreign languages. This makes it even more difficult to come up with a stylesheet that tackles all issues. We have, for example, debated the spelling of names in reviews and articles. In our stylesheet we point out that foreign names should not be anglicised. Yet some foreign name are so common in English, such as Frederick Barbarossa, that it feels a bit to odd to change this to Friedrich Barbarossa. In any case, our point of departure is the style guide by Modern Humanities Research Association, which uses a UK spelling. Alternative spellings, such as American, are accepted, but they should be consistent throughout the article.

This brings me to the second part of your question: rules related to writing style. This is a really tricky matter, because style is not just a matter of following the rules of grammar, it also something really personal. The use of commas is one example. Some people prefer to use comma each time you feel there’s a pause in a sentence when you read it out loud. But others just don’t like this because you can end up with too many commas in one sentence.
In general I would suggest the use of active instead of passive. And I would also recommend that authors or their editors contact their copyeditor in an early stage if they have doubts about style matters. We can then advice the author or editor in an early stage and he or she can make alterations before the copyeditor makes the first copyedit.

Cathleen: There is a quite a team of copyeditors at the journal. Could you tell us a bit more about how you organise the work, e.g. how you decide whom to give an article to copyedit? Or, are there more than one round of copyediting?

Jitske: At the moment we have a team of about 22 copyeditors. Their specialities range from Anglo-Saxon England to eighteenth-century Italy, including history, art and architectural history and literature. Together the team covers eight languages. The copyeditors receive the piece they need to copyedit through the online Open Journal System used by the Royal Studies Journal. I try to match the topic of an article or review to the copyeditor’s interests, although this is not always possible.
After the author’s document is uploaded, the copyeditors make their first corrections. They then upload these so that the author can rework his or her article or review and publish it again in the system. The copyeditor then does the final check. So author and copyeditor use the online system to communicate with each other.

02 example of system used by copyeditors and authorsExample of Royal Studies Journal-system used by copyeditors and authors

Cathleen: Thank you, Jitske, for this insight into the copyediting process.
Dear reader, leave us a comment if you have further questions about this!

Besides copyediting for the journal, you are also involved in quite some other projects. Could you tell us a bit more about these, e.g. CARMEN and the project New Interpretations on the Angevin World?

Jitske: CARMEN is an international network for medievalists and organizes an annual meeting in different places around Europe in September. These meetings focus on a theme, often connected to current research interests or (European) funding opportunities. Our 2015-meeting was in Sarajevo and the theme was ‘Memory and Identity’. The idea of CARMEN is that people gather to present and exchange ideas and research and join forces when applying for funding. Two of CARMEN’s successes are the ESF project ‘Saints’ cults’ and the ESF-funded exploratory workshop on Creative Cities. I myself also benefitted from CARMEN, because it was there that I met Therese Martin in 2012. She was in the midst of her European Research Grant project on medieval women as makers of medieval art and architecture. With her support I applied for a two-year postdoctoral grant at the Juan de la Cierva Formacion, which was awarded to me to do research at the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas in Madrid. By the way, our 2016-meeting will be held in Essen (Germany). So take a look on our website and join us!

I am also involved in Stephen Church’s project on the Angevin Empire, which is funded by The Leverhulme Trust. This international research networks studies the phenomenon of empire through the prism of the medieval Angevin Empire. I will focus on gift-giving and gift-exchange between the Angevin court and that of the Holy Roman Empire: who are involved, how do the participants style and perceive themselves and others, are the gifts gendered, and is the notion of empire part of gift-giving and gift-exchange? I am excited to conduct this research and to find out what my colleagues are doing. For those eager to find out more, please read Stephen Church’s article ‘Was there an Angevin Empire?

Cathleen: That does sound promising! So, how does your research fit into this all? What are you focussing on right now?

Jitske: Well, I already mentioned the grant I received to do research in Madrid. Although I still need to figure out the details of my research, I will certainly be working on medieval noblewomen, including some Castilian queens. Leonor of Castile was the sister of Duchess Matilda, the woman who inspired my research on medieval women. This research also included twelfth-century coins on which women were depicted. I think that we can learn more about the way coins and seals were used and how they functioned in medieval society by including women. Also, a study of these objects’ iconography and legends can inform us about women’s positions, their dynastic policies and family ties.

Cathleen: I certainly agree with you on that; numismatics is a bit underrated in Royal Studies, although coins and seals are such interesting and widespread sources of representation.

Finally as a last question: is there anything you like to add for authors dealing with copyeditors?

Jitske: Of course I hope authors keep sending us their material. But please check the stylesheet, which you can find online, as thoroughly as possible in order to avoid unnecessary inconsistencies. It’s also a good idea to read through some older reviews and articles to see what the RSJ style looks like.

Cathleen: Thank you so much for doing this interview!

Royal Studies Journal – Part III

A new issue of the Royal Studies Journal is out!

Read about Odet de Foix in an article by Philippa Woodcock, and about biblical analogies of Elizabeth I after her death in an Article by Aidan Norrie.

Also, if you are still looking for something to read for long winter nights, or to put under the christmas tree, check out the book reviews.

Let us know what you think about this new issue! If you have an article for the Royal Studies Journal, see our submit-page. Know a Royal Studies book you would like to review? See here for further information on getting your review into the Journal. And finally, you can also nominate the best new book in the field as well as best new work by an early career scholar.

Interview with Dr. Sara Wolfson

Niki: Hi Sara! Thanks so much for doing this interview. To begin with, how did you get interested in your specialization? Is this something that struck your interest at a young age?

Sara: During my undergraduate studies, I was always interested in gender history, but my primary interest was the court of Charles I, particularly the politics of the 1630s. When I was researching my undergraduate dissertation on the king’s personal rule in Durham, I was surprised at how little Caroline court women appeared in the general histories of the period. This was something that I hoped to address at postgraduate level.

Niki: Is there something particularly interesting about Queen Henrietta Maria and her court that led your research to be focused on that particular time in British history?

Sara: I found S.R. Gardiner’s assertion that Henrietta Maria was a ‘gay butterfly’ at odds with work that I was reading during my doctorate by Caroline Hibbard, Malcolm Smuts, Erica Veevers, and Karen Britland, which showed that the queen was a woman of political, cultural, and religious acumen. I was particularly interested in the practicalities of a mixed marriage in seventeenth century England. For instance, how Henrietta Maria’s Catholicism shaped the ceremonial culture of the Caroline court, but also helped to further the exchange of confessional ideas by the 1630s. Of course, it goes without saying that Charles I’s reign is a period of intense historical interest with his early wars with Spain and France; the king’s personal rule; his relations with parliament; the civil wars; and the aftermath of his execution. I wanted to understand how early modern women at the apex of society negotiated the position of themselves and their families during this time, above all during the post-1642 period.

Niki: If you can, how would you best describe Queen Henrietta Maria’s character?

Sara: Steadfast, loyal and vivacious.

Niki: Do you think aristocratic women and their role in politics has been largely ignored by historians?

Sara: Since Barbara J. Harris and Sharon Kettering emphasised the ways in which women could engage informally in politics through patronage networks and personal relationships, the political activities of elite women have been addressed by a number of historians and literary scholars. The recent edited collection by Nadine Akkerman and Birgit Houben, where I published a chapter on Henrietta Maria’s Bedchamber, made a point of looking at ladies-in-waiting, rather than queens, queens consort and royal mistresses. It was encouraging to be asked to be a part of that collection.

Niki: How did you get CCCU interested in awarding prizes for RSN? and how does the nomination process work to be eligible for the prize?

Sara: Canterbury Christ Church University has a number of historians and literary scholars interested in royal studies, such as Prof. Louise Wilkinson, Prof. Jackie Eales, Dr Astrid Stilma, and Dr Leonie Hicks. The opportunity to collaborate with other institutions to further our research culture is part of our research objectives and sponsoring the Royal Studies Journal seemed like the perfect opportunity. The prize will be awarded on an annual basis to the best postgraduate article published by the Royal Studies Journal.

Niki: Lastly, what are you working on now? We look forward to reading your work.

Sara: I am currently reworking my PhD for publication with Manchester University Press. I’m also working on transnational relations between the Dutch Republic and the Stuart crown in 1641-3. I’m publishing an article on Henrietta Maria at the court of Frederick Henry in a Special Issue for Women’s History Review, which will be forthcoming next year.