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The main aim of this book is to answer the following question: how does one account for the speed with which the Arab empire was built? The period covered extends from the rise of Islam down to the middle of the eighth century.
For all historians of this last, most violent, century some concern with matters of war and peace has been unavoidable.
As this book begins (p. 1), the author marvels how the art of the Wycliffite Bible, one of the most popular books in late medieval England, has not been studied systematically. The answer lies in the historiography of the Wycliffite Bible. Kennedy suggests that the ‘Shadow of the Reformation’ has created a binary view of Wycliffite Bibles, linking them to heresy and illegality.
In 1966 the historical profession was deprived of a talented and original practitioner, when Dr Walter Love was killed in a traffic accident. Utah-born Love was drawn towards Irish history following his postgraduate research into Edmund Burke, and ultimately his interest centred on how the events of 1641 had become engrained into collective memory in Ireland.
Reviewing this book is a challenge. The ‘handbook’ genre falls somewhere between that of an encyclopedia and that of the textbook but without the overall coverage, both of topics and details, of the former nor the communications-driven ‘narrative arc’ of the latter.
The study of religious minorities and their experience of persecution is sadly topical.
If Jeanne d’Arc had stuck to embroidery under her mother’s petticoats, then Charles VII would have been overthrown and the war would have ended. The Plantagenets would have reigned over England and France, which would have formed one territory, as it did in prehistoric times before the Channel existed, populated by one race.(1)
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.
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.
The writings of John Wyclif (c.1330–84) do not make for easy reading.