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Every mode of writing history has its attendant dangers. The problem with so much conventional political and religious history is that it is an attempt to explain what actually happened. This seems sensible enough, of course, but it inevitably privileges the ways in which the successful historical actors valued their actions, as well as almost inevitably concentrating on an elite.
The commemorations for the 100th anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising in the Republic of Ireland have thrown the issue of nationalism and independence into sharp relief once again.
In Mediatrix Julie Crawford seeks to expand our understanding of women’s contributions to early modern literary and political culture. Crawford seeks to look beyond the concept of the woman writer to instead focus on the ‘startling range of women’s literary practices’ and the ‘collaborative nature of literary production’ in pre-modern England (p. 3, p. 4).
Having illuminated the production of polemical print to great effect in his first monograph, Politicians and Pamphleteers, Dr Peacey addresses its appropriation in his second, Print and Public Politics in the English Revolution.
Out of what materials was ‘Oliver Cromwell’ shaped? (1) To what extent was he self-consciously shaping and reshaping himself? Did he record those self-constructing manoeuvres with some insight and effect? Certainly his spiritual odyssey is documented although not as thoroughly as we would wish.
For those historians who have studied the English Reformation or the writing of polemics, histories and plays in the 16th century the name John Bale (1495–1563) appears high on the list of English scholars supporting a reformist agenda. Bale popularised the genre of martyrology for an English audience, later taken to its logical conclusion in John Foxe’s Book of Martyrs.
The scholarship on the intellectual, religious and political history of early modern England presents a large use of terms such as ‘orthodox’, ‘deist’, ‘atheist’, ‘radical’, and their respective ‘isms’.
Perhaps because it was concerned with maintaining obedience and the status quo rather than provoking violent eruptions of religious fervour, Socianism has remained a relatively unstudied aspect of the pantheon of heterodox religious beliefs during the English Revolution.
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.
This book addresses a number of live issues in early modern historiography: the ‘New British History’, emphasising those nations and regions beyond the English heartlands; post-Eltonian revisionism, which questions the thesis of a centralising revolution in Tudor government; and the new cultural history, which uses a wide range of cultural artefacts – ‘texts’ – to explore polit