G. J. Bryant, The Emergence of British Power in India, 1600–1784: a Grand Strategic Interpretation (Woodbridge: Boydell Press, 2013). ISBN 978-1-84383-854-8
Barry Doyle’s new study addresses a subject area that has lately attracted much interest from social, political and medical historians. The reasons why Britain’s inter-war health services have become such a hot topic are not hard to discern.
Elizabeth I (1533–1603) has been the subject of many fictional representations, some as early as the 1680s, speculating about her private life. Theatre plays, novels and later also films explored the allegations made against her during her life-time, such as suggestions that the Queen was infertile, that she was malformed, or in fact, a man or a hermaphrodite (p. 355).
In one of Disraeli’s novels, we are told to ‘read no history, nothing but biography, for that is life without theory’. It is a maxim that political historians, in particular, have taken enthusiastically to heart, though they may find the current generation a less attractive prospect. Of our current party leaders, few have led especially captivating lives.
Martin Hewitt’s study is a meticulously researched account of the mid-Victorian phase of the campaigns against press taxes.
John Edwards’s new biography of Cardinal Reginald Pole, part of Ashgate’s Archbishops of Canterbury Series, is a magnificent example of first-rate historical scholarship. Reginald Pole is no easy subject.
W. B. Yeats’s famous poem, ‘Easter 1916’, is an ambivalent celebration of the new pantheon of heroes created when, through the means of a failed nationalist rebellion in Dublin, ‘a terrible beauty is born’.
It has become a commonplace to assert that biographies are unfashionable these days. I’m not sure that’s entirely true, even for English history (female subjects certainly buck the trend), but there is no doubt that they are still the staple of Scottish history, particularly when it comes to the middle ages.
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).
As Anna Bayman notes in her excellent new monograph, ‘[a] book about Thomas Dekker could [...] be a book about almost anything’ (p. 3). Tackling this prolific and somewhat elusive writer brings with it a host of difficulties. Dekker’s writings are generically and formally diverse, embedded within the political and moral concerns of early modern London.