Good Style Knows No Tricks

I’ve been on a bit of a Tudors kick lately. I gobbled up Season One of The Tudors last week and moved swiftly on to Season Two. And as if that wasn’t enough, I’ve also been reading Margaret Irwin’s Young Bess — mostly because I love Irwin’s weird stories so much, I had to see what her historical fiction is like — and have to say, if you like historical fiction set in the Tudor/Elizabethan era, Irwin is the author for you.

Anyhow, reading on the bus yesterday, I came across this passage and thought: Ooooh, Margaret Irwin is speaking to all authors here, not just to the young Queen… In this scene, Elizabeth has been working with a new tutor, Roger Ascham, one of the foremost Greek scholars of the day:

“He was full of praise for Bess’s own writing, the simplicity and directness she could command when she chose, letting the style grow out of the subject. Unfortunately she was apt to forget this when anxious to write brilliantly, and would never quite believe him when he told her that good style knew no tricks.”



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