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Intellectual Liberation

Blair Worden, 21 January 1988

Catholics, Anglicans and Puritans 
by Hugh Trevor-Roper.
Secker, 317 pp., £17.50, November 1987, 0 436 42512 2
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Archbishop William Laud 
by Charles Carlton.
Routledge, 272 pp., £25, December 1987, 0 7102 0463 9
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Clarendon and his Friends 
by Richard Ollard.
Hamish Hamilton, 367 pp., £15, September 1987, 0 241 12380 1
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by Nicholas Tyacke.
Oxford, 305 pp., £30, February 1987, 0 19 822939 9
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Criticism and Compliment: The Politics of Literature in the England of Charles I 
by Kevin Sharpe.
Cambridge, 309 pp., £27.50, December 1987, 0 521 34239 2
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... Among Hugh Trevor-Roper’s historical interests it is the Early Modern period, from the late Renaissance to the Baroque, that has claimed his most distinctive literary form, the long essay. He is our finest practitioner of the genre since Macaulay – who wrote when the economics of publishing were friendlier to it ...

Blaming teachers

Jane Miller, 17 August 1989

... be inclined to connect the two parts of his sentence in a relation of cause to effect. Professor Hugh Trevor-Roper offers himself as a flying doctor battling single-handed with what I think is called a pandemic. Having assured himself of the truth of a colleague’s diagnosis at Oxford of ‘creeping, or galloping illiteracy among university ...

Godly Mafia

Blair Worden: Aristocrats v. the King, 24 May 2007

The Noble Revolt: The Overthrow of Charles I 
by John Adamson.
Weidenfeld, 742 pp., £25, March 2007, 978 0 297 84262 0
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... Fifty years, almost to the month, before the publication of John Adamson’s book, Hugh Trevor-Roper stated his intention to write what he knew would be ‘a very long book’, the most ambitious of his career, on the Puritan revolution of 17th-century England. The project went through many mutations over the next four years, but by 1961 it was virtually complete ...

Past v. Present

Phil Withington: Blair Worden’s Civil War, 10 May 2012

God’s Instruments: Political Conduct in the England of Oliver Cromwell 
by Blair Worden.
Oxford, 421 pp., £35, March 2012, 978 0 19 957049 2
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... R.H. Tawney and Christopher Hill on the political left, Lawrence Stone in the Whig centre, and Hugh Trevor-Roper on the right. They were comfortable corroborating their own political predilection with sophisticated historical exposition and, it seems, happy for their opponents to do the same. All agreed on the significance of the events they were ...

Spies and Secret Agents

Ken Follett, 19 June 1980

by Anthony Summers.
Gollancz, 639 pp., £9.95, May 1980, 0 575 02846 7
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The Man Who Kept the Secrets 
by Thomas Powers.
Weidenfeld, 393 pp., £10, April 1980, 0 297 77738 6
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... the President – but don’t tell me the CIA did it.’ Roughly this attitude is expressed by Hugh Trevor-Roper, in an endorsement of Conspiracy, when he speaks of ‘uncontrolled US intelligence agents’. But are any of them controlled? I approached The Man Who Kept the Secrets with eagerness after an American friend who writes rather thoughtful ...

Sabre-Toothed Teacher

Colin Kidd: Cowling, 31 March 2011

The Philosophy, Politics and Religion of British Democracy: Maurice Cowling and Conservatism 
edited by Robert Crowcroft, S.J.D. Green and Richard Whiting.
I.B. Tauris, 327 pp., £54.50, August 2010, 978 1 84511 976 8
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... free market. Indeed, his legion of enemies ranged all the way across the political spectrum. When Hugh Trevor-Roper – raised to the peerage as Lord Dacre on Thatcher’s recommendation – became master of Peterhouse in 1980, he was dismayed to find that what he had imagined to be a congenially conservative environment provided instead an ecological ...

Red Spain

Hugh Thomas, 9 April 1992

The Spanish Civil War: Revolution and Counter-Revolution 
by Burnett Bolloten.
Harvester, 1074 pp., £50, April 1991, 0 7450 0763 5
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... English edition, also entitled The Grand Camouflage, appeared in 1968, with an introduction by Hugh Trevor-Roper. A third, called The Spanish Revolution, appeared in 1978-79 in English, Spanish and French. Finally, a newly revised text appeared. This work, over twice as long as the original text, was published by Alianza in Madrid in 1989. The book ...

Sad Century

David Parrott: The 17th-Century Crisis, 5 March 2015

Global Crisis: War, Climate Change and Catastrophe in the 17th Century 
by Geoffrey Parker.
Yale, 871 pp., £16.99, August 2014, 978 0 300 20863 4
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... rebellion and revolt to the economic and political constraints imposed by feudal elites. In 1959 Hugh Trevor-Roper replaced Hobsbawm’s economic crisis with a political/fiscal one, a struggle between the centralising efforts of princely courts and government, on the one hand, and provincial and local powers on the other. In 1965 Hobsbawm and ...

Liking it and living it

Hugh Tulloch, 14 September 1989

by Linda Colley.
Weidenfeld, 132 pp., £14.95, May 1989, 0 297 79587 2
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by Nicholas Phillipson.
Weidenfeld, 162 pp., £14.95, May 1989, 0 297 79592 9
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... claim that his Origins of the Second World War was essentially Namierite is surely disingenuous: Hugh Trevor-Roper suggests, on the contrary, that Namier would have been appalled had he lived to read that book. Taylor’s attempt to drain the narrative of its moral content, to depict Hitler as a traditional statesman in international affairs pursuing ...

Rolodex Man

Mark Kishlansky, 31 October 1996

Liberty against the Law: Some 17th-Century Controversies 
by Christopher Hill.
Allen Lane, 354 pp., £25, April 1996, 0 7139 9119 4
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The Rise and Fall of Revolutionary England: An Essay on the Fabrication of 17th-Century History 
by Alastair MacLaclan.
Macmillan, 431 pp., £13.99, April 1996, 0 333 62009 7
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... and false dichotomies, and 25 books give a lot of hostages to fortune. Thirty years ago Hugh Trevor-Roper exposed his methods of argumentation and documentation, complaining that his ‘scholarship is transformed into advocacy’ and that he approached his evidence with his ‘conclusions already determined’. Twenty years ago Hill’s ...

How are you finding it here?

Patrick Sims-Williams: Celts, 28 October 1999

The Atlantic Celts: Ancient People or Modern Invention? 
by Simon James.
British Museum, 160 pp., £6.99, March 1999, 0 7141 2165 7
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... from the centre. In the latter case, the revenge of the centre is sweet: send in the debunkers; Hugh Trevor-Roper, who has a selective nose for fakes, got the kilt job in The Invention of Tradition (1983). He made much of the difference between the authentic ‘plaid’, starting from the shoulders, and the modern ‘kilt’, starting from the ...

Highway to Modernity

Colin Kidd: The British Enlightenment, 8 March 2001

Enlightenment: Britain and the Creation of the Modern World 
by Roy Porter.
Allen Lane, 728 pp., £25, October 2000, 0 7139 9152 6
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... Enlightenment’, a Trojan horse concept smuggled into the historical canon by Hugh Trevor-Roper. Yet, in spite of its metropolitan connections and aspirations, which so irritate modern nationalists and complicate the very notion of a Scottish Enlightenment, the 18th-century Scots intelligentsia – unlike the English – did unite ...

Departure and Arrival Times

Sheldon Rothblatt, 18 August 1983

The History Men: The Historical Profession in England since the Renaissance 
by John Kenyon.
Weidenfeld, 322 pp., £16.50, March 1983, 0 297 78081 6
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... blend with those of the past. The result is piquant. It is odd to think of Geoffrey Elton, Hugh Trevor-Roper and Lewis Namier as one thinks of Edward Freeman, Samuel Gardner and Edward Gibbon, humanised and distanced at the same time. Vanity and virtue, foolishness and brilliance rub shoulders. One imagines one has heard it all before, but the ...
... for a Chair at Oxford in favour of a nonentity who has never written anything, not even academic. Hugh Trevor-Roper was passed over too, so I am in good company; and he was passed over for the same reason – he writes for the New Statesman. You say that serious papers will want me less. But no serious paper wants me at all as a political writer. I ...

Was He One of Them?

J.G.A. Pocock, 23 February 1995

Edward Gibbon: The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Vols I-VI 
edited by David Womersley.
Allen Lane, 1114 pp., £75, November 1994, 0 7139 9124 0
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... the footnotes added to Gibbon’s by Oliphant Smeaton in 1910 illuminated by an Introduction by Hugh Trevor-Roper (it would be hard to say what musical analogy Collingwood might have found for that).* All these editions have presented Gibbon as part of the heritage of English letters, his unbelief and irony modulated into an urbanity acceptable to ...

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