With over seven hundred volumes published, the Variorum Collected Studies Series has branched out considerably from its origins in late antique and medieval history. Recent forays into imperial history, for example, have generated collections of articles by some of the biggest names in the field.
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).
In the bicentenary year of Trafalgar it is appropriate to remember that the history of Britain, its current situation and future prospects reflect an overwhelming geographical fact. Britain is a collection of islands at once alongside, but not attached to the European Continent.
The narrow streets of ancient Naples are like the bottoms of chasms that meet at right angles.
Robert Hooke (1635–1703) is a pivotal figure in the intellectual life of seventeenth-century Europe. In the study to hand, Michael Cooper intends to ‘rectify some of the neglect and misunderstandings about Hooke by examining his work in London as City Surveyor after the Great Fire and relating this to his work in science’ (p. 2).
It is given to few to be accorded ‘classic’ status in their own lifetime, but Marc Ferro has qualified twice over – not only for the work under discussion here, but also for his account of The Great War, 1914–1918 (1973).
This book charts the ‘experimental’ peace between Britain and France in 1801–1803, often regarded as little more than an interlude in the twenty-year struggle between the two.
Barbara Ramusack bases her study of indirect rule under British imperialism mainly on research, including her own, which has been done since the 1960s. As she reiterates throughout the book, the topic of the ‘Native States’ is not one which has attracted widespread scholarly attention.
Margot Finn’s book The Character of Credit: Personal Debt in English Culture, 1740–1914 is the first volume in a new series published by Cambridge University Press (Cambridge Social and Cultural Histories) which seeks to draw social and cultural history more closely together.
Now is an appropriate time to consider the role of the British Navy and its cultural significance. 2005 marks the bicentenary of the Battle of Trafalgar, the apogee of British naval glory. Trafalgar is a story of national tragedy as well as triumph, of course, as Britain’s stunning victory over the French came at a huge cost, namely the loss of Admiral Horatio Nelson.