It is refreshing to be told by William Hagen that 'refractoriness and insubordination proved to be Prussian virtues'.(p. 645) This statement would not be surprising about nineteenth-century Prussian working-class culture, but it is about early modern nobles and peasants.
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
On 25 July 2001 Phoolan Devi was shot dead outside her home. Best known in the west through Shekhar Kapur's 1994 film Bandit Queen, Phoolan Devi's life had been remarkable. Born of low-caste, at the age of 11 she had been exchanged in marriage for a cow. Following beatings by her much older husband, she made her way home, but was regarded as a disgrace by her family.
Historians of London face many problems, not the least of which is to find a title that adequately expresses the importance of the subject, the nature of their approach, and its distinctiveness from any preceding work. It has to be obvious without being banal, and likely to attract attention; it's also helpful if it can be shortened to something that still remains striking and sufficient.
History on this scale is a daunting task, not just for the breadth of scholarship it requires but also because it lays before the author the powerful temptations of platitude and over-generalization. Geoffrey Hosking, as he has amply shown elsewhere, is a historian who can draw a big picture without losing his curiosity, his feel for detail, or his capacity for concise but penetrating summary.
The relationship between slavery, colonialism, capital accumulation and economic development has long been an issue that has exercised political economists and economic historians, though it is perhaps fair to say that it tends to be neglected in standard university courses for undergraduates.
Two very starkly contrasting approaches to the history of the sixteenth century lie behind three of the books reviewed here: Mark Nicholls' Two Kingdoms, Glenn Richardson's Renaissance Monarchy: the Reigns of Henry VIII, Francis I and Charles V, and the Patrick Collinson-edited volume The Sixteenth Century, 1485-1603.
In a famous essay on the tenacity of the Burckhardtian conception of the Renaissance, Johan Huizinga wrote that '[A]t the sound of the word ‘Renaissance’ the dreamer of past beauty sees purple and gold.' After reading Carole Collier Frick’s engrossing, multi-layered book, Huizinga’s romantic dreamers will have to become far more nuanced in their visual imaginings of the past.
This collection of essays arises out of the 2001 Neale lecture at University College, London by Joanna Innes and the colloquium that followed it. Although the Neale lecture is in British history, this book is very much a work of parliamentary history, catholic enough to extend its deliberations to considerati
Historians of early modern marriage have made much use of court records in uncovering the matrimonial difficulties of our ancestors.