The English Parish Church through the Centuries is an interesting example of how digital media can be used to improve and enhance our understanding of the past.
This is a book which could very easily slip under the radar of most historians. Even had they noticed the title, and had their curiosity piqued by the sub-title, after checking the academic discipline of the author (Julian Rivers is Professor of Jurisprudence at Bristol University) many might well have decided that this book was probably of no professional interest to them.
The challenge in writing a comparative review of Kate Lowe’s fine study of early modern Italian convents Nuns’ Chronicles and Convent Culture with Sarah Dunant’s gripping novel Sacred Hearts is to find ways of making sense of the experience of reading both beyond stating the obvious.
This collection of essays, first presented at the Harlaxton Symposium in 2009, brings together a range of researchers interested in the intellectual and cultural history of Europe, under two equally broad and controversial themes. Frances Andrews's introduction goes some way to binding the ideas together.
When Pero Tafur visited Bruges in 1438 he had a keen eye for the material wealth of the town and the splendor in which its citizens seemed to indulge. In his famous travel diary he noted that ‘without doubt, the goddess of luxury has great power here, but it is not a place for poor men, who would be badly received here.
In his early 20th-century anti-clerical novel La Catedral, Vicente Blasco Ibáñez follows his protagonist into Toledo Cathedral’s Mozarabic Chapel for the daily celebration of what Richard Ford, in the 19th century, called ‘this peculiar ritual’: ‘As Gabriel listened to the monotonous singing of the Mozarabic priests he remembered the quarrels during the time of Alfonso VI between the
For many, the Cistercian order remains the medieval monastic success story par excellence. With this new history of the White Monks and Nuns, two of the UK’s leading monastic scholars present an engaging and authoritative history of the Cistercian order from its origins to the end of the Middle Ages.
Religious solitaries were a feature of the English spiritual landscape ‘from the dawn of Christianity in England until the sixteenth century’ but, since Rotha Clay (who wrote those words) attempted her overarching survey almost a century ago, coverage of their history has been decidedly patchy.(1) It is less so now, thanks to Tom Licence’s important new book.
One of the greatest challenges facing the historian is the problem of hindsight: we cannot un-know what happened next, but must nevertheless try to avoid seeing the past through a distorted lens. Hindsight does, however, have its advantages, and one of them is that it focuses attention on areas of the past which might otherwise be relatively neglected.
This impressive collection has its origins in 2007 when the editors organized a conference on the regular canons in the British Isles, to shine a light on current research on this form of regular life. Scholarship on the regular canons has been rather overshadowed by that on the Benedictines and Cistercians, but this multidisciplinary publication does much to redress the balance.