Friday, July 13, 2012

Almost Done with More

Reading has been painful these last few months.

After finishing Tyndale's biography, I decided I should see the other side.  Teems recommended the biography of Thomas More by Ackroyd - which happened to be in my local library.

These two books have been like night and day.

Some of the differences must be attributed to the talents of the biographers, but some is certainly due to the subjects.

The English language has been shaped by the Bible.  And the English Bible was heavily influenced by one man - William Tyndale.

To read Tyndale's writing is to hear the Bible.  Some of it is due to him having steeped himself in Biblical themes and principles - but some of it is common authorship.

Teems did an excellent job of letting Tyndale speak for himself (from his own writing).  The old English was almost always cleaned up for easy reading.

Ackroyd seems to do the opposite.  There is much analysis and consideration, with only snippets of original material - always in the old English.  This breaks up the flow, and makes it hard to extract the person behind the writing.

But More was a lawyer, very much in the modern sense.

His job was to represent his client's interests, and to submerge his own opinions and positions.

So, for More, there is always the audience in mind.  What to reveal, what to hide, what to spin.  How best to influence, how it will reflect and interact in the big picture.

It is that big picture which I will need to develop more.

No comments: