‘This book presents an itinerary of English Catholicism in the early modern period’ (p. 3) claims the editor in the opening sentence of this volume, which originates in a symposium convened by Lowell Gallagher at UCLA in 2007, since when the field has flourished.
Post-reformation English Catholicism continues to be a flourishing and popular field of enquiry. In recent years this upsurge of interest has been paralleled by an increasing body of work on early modern ‘superstition’ and popular religion.
The three editors are all senior lecturers at the University of Birmingham in the department of English Literature and the volume is the result of a one day colloquium that was held at Stratford by the department in June 2010 under the auspices of the Centre for Reformation and Early Modern Studies at Birmingham. The intention of the interdisciplinary day was to study the cultural significance
Whilst first and foremost a literary scholar who focuses on the work of John Milton (1608–74), David Loewenstein has, in recent years, done much to undertake and encourage interdisciplinary research into the religio-political culture of early modern England.
Have pity upon poor Andrew Melville. Once he was a towering figure in Presbyterian Scotland, John Knox’s successor as a leader of men, chastiser of proud monarchy and preacher of the truth. A student at St Andrews at the time of the Scottish Reformation, Melville spent a decade studying and teaching in France and Geneva.
These are exciting times in which to be a scholar of the dynamics of religious reformation in mid-17th century England (and in the wider British Isles).
Jan Machielsen’s book is ostensibly the first modern biography of the Jesuit scholar Martin Delrio (1551–1608), a man best known today as the author of the treatise on witchcraft Disquisitiones magicae (‘Investigations into magic’). However, to call this important book a biography does it an injustice, since it is so much more than this.
This is a deeply flawed book, although it is not completely without merit. Mayer, who died (in January 2014) as this book went to press, may have been an accomplished scholar of ecclesiastical history (1), but was a relative novice in Galilean scholarship.
We are now a generation into an ‘Atlantic turn’ in writing early American history. Jordan Landes and Abram C. Van Engen make welcome, but different, contributions through their arguments about emotions in Puritan New England and networking by London Quakers.
Thomas Ahnert’s The Moral Culture of the Scottish Enlightenment is an unusual work. Little more than an extended essay, its brevity and lucidity belie the complexity and force of its central thesis. Whilst there is no doubt that the book represents an important historiographical intervention, it is rather harder to explain why or where it does so.