The period of medieval intellectual history covered by this book, primarily the 12th and 13th centuries, is one that has received considerable attention for well over a century. The main question, then, is what does Ian Wei bring to this subject that has not been done before, or how has he reshaped it? The answer is he has done much in both respects.
This important work provides the first informed, well-researched and highly nuanced account of the fortunes of ‘occult’ thought and practice in England from the middle decades of the 17th century to its demise at the end of the 18th century.
It is a rare thing for a reviewer to read a book which on its own terms, in its content and argument, leaves nothing open to serious criticism. Professor Diarmaid Ferriter’s Ambiguous Republic: Ireland in the 1970s is one such book.
The study of religious minorities and their experience of persecution is sadly topical.
Donald Hankey was – and has remained – one of the most enigmatic personalities to feature in the narrative of the Great War.
‘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
Contemporary interest in the period of the Crusades has intensified in the last decade or so, partly because of the inflammatory invocations of holy war and jihad made immediately after the traumatic events of 9/11.
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.