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Hilary Mantel - Bart Van Es and Helen Small in Conversation about Third-Person Narrative in the Cromwell Trilogy

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Readers of Hilary Mantel's trilogy of novels Wolf Hall, Bring Up the Bodies, and The Mirror & the Light will be familiar with the brilliantly flexible but sometimes disconcerting use of third-person narrative ('He does … He says …') to convey Thomas Cromwell's point of view. Here, Bart Van Es and Helen Small discuss, with close attention to two passages of text, what the non-standard use of this mode of narration enables the novels to do, and how it plays such a critical role in the novel's handling of competing sympathies as well as its dramatisation of power.