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In spite of the time period implied in her subtitle, Ann Thomson’s book covers debates about the materiality of the soul from 1650 to the early 19th century. She deals with a vast range of thinkers – primarily in England and France, but also in the Netherlands.
The subject of Glenn Burgess’ new book is an exciting one, and its author is well qualified to tackle it. Political thought is a lively and flourishing field within history, and Glenn Burgess has done much to promote it.
The first principle of understanding history, I was taught, is to sympathize with the historical actors, to immerse oneself in their context and perspective.(1) Otherwise, history becomes a fabricated reconstruction – more about the writer's ideology than the events of the past.
This work of literary criticism is inevitably aimed more at people working in French departments than at social or intellectual historians. Despite the interdisciplinary potential of the subject-matter, there is little here of direct interest to the latter, hence this review is addressed primarily to the former.
Laudian and Royalist Polemic in Seventeenth-Century England: the Career and Writings of Peter Heylyn / Anthony Milton
This is an excellent book which does everything it proclaims and more. Anthony Milton is to be congratulated for his hard work, brilliant synthesis, and excellent and accessible presentation. This book is not a biography of Peter Heylyn, but we obviously learn a lot about the man as well as the writer. Nor is it an arid history of ideas divorced from context.
Katharine Hodgkin's Madness in Seventeenth-Century Autobiography is a welcome, thought-provoking contribution to our understanding of the cultural history of madness.
'Gold tried in the Fire'.
It is a truth universally acknowledged and documented many years ago by David Cressy, that women in early modern England had far lower rates of literacy than men.
This is a comparatively short monograph on a very large subject, but it is a book of prime importance: a brilliant and incisive study of one of the most celebrated, indeed infamous, political philosophers of the Spanish Golden Age.
A new book by Greg Walker, Professor of Early Modern Literature and Culture at the University of Leicester, is a major event.