J.S. Morrill

J.S. Morrill is a lecturer in history at Cambridge and a fellow of Selwyn College. He is working on local government in 17th-century England.

Casual Offenders

J.S. Morrill, 7 May 1981

Alan Macfarlane likes to shock historians out of their complacency and out of a narrow preoccupation with their own period or their own mode of historical study. He is a professionally-trained historian and a professionally-trained anthropologist and his approach is truly interdisciplinary rather than multidisciplinary. He is also a polemicist of great power, as his demolition of the notion of an English peasantry in The Origins of English Individualism showed. In that work his canvas was broad, covering five centuries, and both argument and evidence were deliberately diffuse. Now, continuing his campaign against those who would see Tudor and Stuart England as a great watershed, as the time of transition from one social and economic order to another, he asks: how violent was early modern England? The question is aggressively posed and boldly answered, but the technique on this occasion is different: Macfarlane concentrates on explicating one involved case-study. Opinions are bound to vary on the appropriateness of his approach.

Maurice Thomson’s War

Perry Anderson, 4 November 1993

The English Civil War occupies a strange niche in contemporary memory. To all official appearances, no episode of the country’s modern past is so parenthetical. Leaving no reputable trace...

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Out of the East

Blair Worden, 11 October 1990

Can historical biography still be written? Joel Hurstfield, who had planned a life of Robert Cecil, the chief minister inherited by James I from Queen Elizabeth, abandoned it in the 1960s in the...

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Rescuing the bishops

Blair Worden, 21 April 1983

The publication of Patrick Collinson’s The Religion of Protestants is a stirring event in the rediscovery of Early Modern England. Unmistakably the work of a historian who has reflected on...

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Critical Bibliography

Blair Worden, 22 January 1981

This book, which seems to have been published somewhat furtively, deserves to be widely known and widely used. The second in a series of ‘Critical Bibliographies in Modern History’...

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