A Man for All Seasons

A Man for All Seasons: A play (1960), later a film (1967), by Robert Bolt (1924-95) about the Tudor statesmen Sir Thomas More and his opposition to Henry VIII’s divorce from Catherine of Aragon. The title was derived by Bolt from a description of More by his contemporary Robert Whittington (c. 1480 – c. 1530), who wrote:

 ‘More is a man of angel’s wit and singular learning; I know not his fellow. For where is the man of that gentleness, lowliness and affability? And as time requireth, a man of marvelous mirth and pastimes; and sometimes of as sad a gravity: as how say: a man for all seasons.’

Vulgaria (1521)

 Whittington in turn borrowed the tag from Erasmus, a friend of More’s, who had described More in his preface to In Praise of Folly (1509) with the words omnium horarum hominem (‘a man for all hours’).”

Excerpted from: Crofton, Ian, ed. Brewer’s Curious Titles. London: Cassell, 2002.

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