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That grand old patron saint of London historians, John Stow, currently seems to be inspiring a new wave of historical and literary studies.
Eamon Duffy’s The Stripping of the Altars (Yale, 1992) provided a broad, compelling account of popular religion in England before and during the Reformation, and was a book which undoubtedly changed the way we think about late medieval Catholicism and the popular experience of religious change.
In this fascinating book, Colin Clarke draws together work from a range of disciplinary traditions to produce a monograph on the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca. Known predominantly for its large indigenous population and its tourist industry, Clarke uses the concept of 'peasantries' to examine the processes that have shaped one of Mexico's economically-poorest states.
Figures in the Landscape brings together fifteen pieces of research by Margaret Spufford stretching across her distinguished career from 1962 to the present day.(1) As such, it reflects her broad range of interests, in the use of primary sources - particularly probate and taxation documents; the history of village communities; and popular consumption, literacy
Local history is beginning to emerge from the shadows in which it has lain for too long. Tainted for decades by its association with antiquarianism, its struggle for academic respectability has been a long one.
As even the most casual observer of the British historical scene must know, the 'agricultural revolution' has proved both elusive and highly contentious. French 'immobilism', on the other hand, has become something of a commonplace, although explanations for this supposed failure are less consensual. Philip Hoffman's very welcome new book has two overriding merits.