Mary Wellesley

Henry the Myth

Agincourt

By

Oxford University Press 272pp £18.99 order from our bookshop

The Battle of Agincourt has given its name to a ship, a racehorse, a locomotive and several towns in pioneer societies. Today, when you stick two fingers up at someone, it’s supposedly a cultural relic of Agincourt. Yet as a generator of myths, the battle more often than not appears to be sticking two fingers up at historical accuracy. Agincourt was the first military engagement of an unprovoked attack on France by Henry V, who thought the country ‘rightfully’ his and who saw a foreign war as one way to unify support for him at home. The son of a usurper, his kingship was in need of legitimacy. Even as he set off, some of his barons were

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • From the Archive: Martyn Bedford on Ian McEwan's 'Atonement' ,
    • In 'Silenced Voices' reports the ongoing story of the human rights lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh, who has been… ,
    • The mystery of Jack the Ripper's identity has long been agonised over. But what do we know about his victims?… ,
    • A piece of Literary Review history from way back in 1983: John Haffenden talks to the great Iris Murdoch. ,
    • Britain’s only travelling lit fest, the Garden Museum Literary Festival is heading to Houghton Hall, Norfolk, for a… ,
    • 'The 19th-century German sage is not my idea of a pleasant travel companion' goes hiking with Friedr… ,
    • If you want ideas about what to read next, sign up to our free email newsletter, and get book reviews, archive mate… ,