THE last full-length life of Sir Thomas Wyatt was by G. F. Nott in his monumental edition of the poems. Since then there have been brief lives by Sir Edmund Chambers, Dr E. M. W. Tillyard, Sir Stanley Wyatt and others; but there has been no new edition of the letters, although Nott's text of these was unfortunately less accurate than that of the poems and although several new letters have come to light.
The discovery of some hitherto unknown poems by Wyatt, some of which have biographical importance, and recent books by Sergio Baldi, H. A. Mason, Ethel Seaton and Otto Hietsch, make a new assessment of Wyatt as a poet desirable; the finding and republication of his translation from Plutarch ( 1931) and, it is hoped, the present text of his letters make it possible to consider him as a fine writer of prose; and his diplomatic correspondence has considerable historical interest.
I have received generous help from numerous colleagues and friends, among whom must be mentioned Dr J. C. Ghosh, Dr G. K. Hunter, Mrs Inga-Stina Ewbank, Dr Dorothea Oschinsky, Mr H. B. Hall, Professor D. B. Quinn, Professor R. G. Austin, Dr R. G. Faithfull, Mr J. H. Lyons, Mr R. Southall, Mr R. T. Davies, Professor Christopher Brooke and Mr H. A. Mason. I am especially grateful to Dr A. R. Myers for his criticisms of the first draft of the book, to Sir Stanley Wyatt for patiently answering my questions, and to Professor Ruth Hughey, to whom my indebtedness extends over fifteen years and whose discovery of the Arundel Manuscript places all future editors in her debt. Mr Kenneth Povey, the former University Librarian, Mr A. N. Ricketts and Mr D. F. Cook have been consistently efficient and helpful.
I am indebted to the Trustees of the British Museum and to the Keeper of Public Records for permission to print letters by Wyatt