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The second half of the eighteenth century saw a revolution in the character of the English criminal trial. What we observe, Allyson May informs us, is 'the transformation of the criminal trial from a private altercation between victim and accused into a contest between paid advocates' (p. 1).
The Winchester pipe rolls are among the very greatest monuments to medieval English administration and record-keeping.
The recent publication of two volumes of the Cambridge History of the Book in Britain, covering the period from 1400 to 1695 in just over 1600 pages, indicates something of the way in which the study of the book, or of books, has been transformed in the past few years.(1) The subject has moved from its traditional areas of investigation, the history of
Interest in Jack the Ripper continues to be insatiable. New books, articles and webpages on the subject appear almost weekly - a Google search on 'Jack the Ripper' yields nearly 197,000 online references with varying degrees of accuracy and seriousness, the front-runner being www.casebook.org.
This publication in a convenient and user-friendly format of fifteen essays written by Professor Guy over the past quarter century is to be welcomed.
In 1960 I published an article on the leather industry using the probate inventories of 55 leather workers. I am reminded of this piece of almost forgotten biography by a contributor to this volume. I remember only two things about the article.
Crime and the law, particularly during the period of the Hanoverian Bloody Code, has been a popular area of research for a quarter of a century. The publications that emerged from Edward Thompson and the young scholars who gathered round him at Warwick in the late 1960s and early 1970s were the inspiration for much of the recent work.