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Turncoats and Opportunists

Alexandra Walsham: Francis Walsingham, 5 July 2012

The Queen’s Agent: Francis Walsingham at the Court of Elizabeth I 
by John Cooper.
Faber, 400 pp., £9.99, July 2012, 978 0 571 21827 1
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... on the co-operation of her councillors and citizens echoes the influential thesis of the late Patrick Collinson. Walsingham’s status as a critical part of the ‘Heath Robinson machine’ of Tudor government – attested by the politician and historian Sir Robert Naunton, who described him as the ‘engine’ of the state – is well ...

On a par with Nixon

Stephen Alford: Bad Queen Bess?, 17 November 2016

Bad Queen Bess? Libels, Secret Histories, and the Politics of Publicity in the Reign of Queen Elizabeth I 
by Peter Lake.
Oxford, 497 pp., £35, January 2016, 978 0 19 875399 5
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Elizabeth: The Forgotten Years 
by John Guy.
Viking, 494 pp., £25, May 2016, 978 0 670 92225 3
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... Elizabethans internalised and used to make sense of their world. Here the scholarship of Patrick Collinson, to which Lake’s Bad Queen Bess? is a critical response, was transformative, showing nothing less than a politics of emergency, with privy council and parliaments pressing to execute Mary Queen of Scots and mobilise loyal Protestant ...


Keith Thomas: Working Methods, 10 June 2010

... us how they set about their task. In his splendid recent autobiography, History of a History Man, Patrick Collinson reveals that when as a young man he was asked by the medievalist Geoffrey Barraclough at a job interview what his research method was, all he could say was that he tried to look at everything which was remotely relevant to his subject: ‘I ...

Why did we not know?

Ian Jack: Who is hoarding the land?, 23 May 2019

The New Enclosure: The Appropriation of Public Land in Neoliberal Britain 
by Brett Christophers.
Verso, 394 pp., £20, November 2018, 978 1 78663 158 9
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... what had helped the British economy grow ‘so wondrously’, the Guardian’s finance reporter Patrick Collinson wrote ‘The answer [is] the rise of the landlord class … in modern Britain, it seems, putting up the rent is somehow regarded as economic growth … Germany makes millions of cars, Japan still makes consumer electronics. Britain produces ...

Our Island Story

Stefan Collini: The New DNB, 20 January 2005

The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography 
edited by H.C.G. Matthew and Brian Harrison.
Oxford, sixty volumes, £7,500, September 2004, 9780198614111
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... on (though there may continue to be minor alarums, such as the recent spat over the entry for Patrick O’Brian). Nonetheless, a not dissimilar kind of sleep-disturbing responsibility fell on its editor, and the project was fortunate to find the ideal man for the job in the Oxford historian Colin Matthew, who had demonstrated his capacity for the task in ...

At the House of Mr Frog

Malcolm Gaskill: Puritanism, 18 March 2021

The Puritans: A Transatlantic History 
by David D. Hall.
Princeton, 517 pp., £20, May 2021, 978 0 691 20337 9
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The Journey to the Mayflower: God’s Outlaws and the Invention of Freedom 
by Stephen Tomkins.
Hodder, 372 pp., £12.99, February 2021, 978 1 4736 4911 8
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... Anabaptists, who were also puritans, found the entire ritual of baptism obnoxious. The historian Patrick Collinson’s definition of puritans as ‘the hotter sort of Protestants’ was deliberately vague: they are too diverse to be easily grouped together. Eventually the Anabaptists split, into Mennonites, Hutterites and Amish.The heat was generated by ...

Want-of-Tin and Want-of-Energy

Dinah Birch: The lives of the Rossettis, 20 May 2004

The Correspondence of Dante Gabriel Rossetti: The Formative Years 1835-62: Charlotte Street to Cheyne Walk. Volume One 
edited by William Fredeman.
Brewer, 464 pp., £95, July 2002, 9780859915281
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The Correspondence of Dante Gabriel Rossetti: The Formative Years 1835-62: Charlotte Street to Cheyne Walk. Volume Two 
edited by William Fredeman.
Brewer, 640 pp., £95, July 2002, 0 85991 637 5
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William and Lucy: The Other Rossettis 
by Angela Thirlwell.
Yale, 376 pp., £25, October 2003, 0 300 10200 3
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... a post which brought more prestige than income. Like Tennyson’s despondent father, or the fiery Patrick Brontë, Gabriele Rossetti was a displaced figure. His thwarted ambitions shadowed and deepened the lives of his children. All four took it for granted that they would not be ordinary. It was the children’s responsibility to justify their father’s ...

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