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War without an Enemy

Blair Worden, 21 January 1982

The Outbreak of the English Civil War 
by Anthony Fletcher.
Arnold, 446 pp., £24, October 1981, 0 7131 6320 8
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The Royalist War Effort 
by Ronald Hutton.
Longman, £12, October 1981, 0 582 50301 9
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... scholars to the period. If the English Civil War is important, it is because it is interesting. Anthony Fletcher begins with the meeting of the Long Parliament in November 1640 and ends with the outbreak of war in the summer of 1642. It is the events of those two years that the grand hypotheses of the past half-century have been largely designed to ...


Conrad Russell, 4 October 1984

The Experience of Defeat: Milton and Some Contemporaries 
by Christopher Hill.
Faber, 342 pp., £12.50, July 1984, 0 571 13237 5
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... was obsolete, or even wrong. It was this shared attachment to ideas no longer workable to which Anthony Fletcher was referring when he spoke of the ‘intellectual poverty’ of the period before 1640. The debates of the Long Parliament before the war, and even the first twelve months of the Thomason Tracts, show very little sign of the intoxicating ...

What news?

Patrick Collinson: The Pilgrimage of Grace, 1 November 2001

The Pilgrimage of Grace and the Politics of the 1530s 
by R.W. Hoyle.
Oxford, 487 pp., £30, May 2001, 9780198208747
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... menacing of a succession of ‘Tudor Rebellions’, to quote the title of a seasoned classic by Anthony Fletcher (1968), recently revised by Diarmaid MacCulloch and reissued (1997). But in the perception of the actors this was not rebellion at all, and when they found themselves described as rebels in intercepted government bulletins, their fury almost ...

Out of the East

Blair Worden, 11 October 1990

The King’s Cardinal: The Rise and Fall of Thomas Wolsey 
by Peter Gwyn.
Barrie and Jenkins, 666 pp., £20, May 1990, 0 7126 2190 3
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Oliver Cromwell and the English Revolution 
by John Morrill.
Longman, 300 pp., £17.95, May 1990, 0 582 06064 8
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The Writings of William Walwyn 
edited by Jack McMichael and Barbara Taft.
Georgia, 584 pp., $45, July 1989, 0 8203 1017 4
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... never had command of an army in battle during the first civil war. In later essays Derek Hirst and Anthony Fletcher, examining the failure of Cromwell’s hopes for godly reformation during the Protectorate, observe the gap between the vigorous language that expressed his aspirations and the frailty of the institutional machinery upon which he relied to ...

Conrad Russell’s Civil War

Blair Worden, 29 August 1991

The Causes of the English Civil War 
by Conrad Russell.
Oxford, 236 pp., £35, November 1990, 0 19 822142 8
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The Fall of the British Monarchies 1637-1642 
by Conrad Russell.
Oxford, 580 pp., £40, April 1991, 9780198227540
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... found it hard to persuade the country to mobilise for war. Yet, as the studies of Derek Hirst and Anthony Fletcher and others have demonstrated, it is artificial to divorce opinion in Parliament from opinion at large. Russell’s inability to recreate the public mood of the pre-war years narrows the scope, and so impairs the plausibility, of his ...


Conrad Russell, 5 September 1985

The Restoration: A Political and Religious History of England and Wales 1658-1667 
by Ronald Hutton.
Oxford, 379 pp., £17.50, June 1985, 0 19 822698 5
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... found that ‘there existed no picture of central politics to be treated in this manner.’ Like Anthony Fletcher, writing on The Outbreak of the English Civil War, he has been forced to tell the story ab initio. In the process, he has highlighted, even more than workers on the period before the Civil War have done, the fact that the great Victorian ...

Rescuing the bishops

Blair Worden, 21 April 1983

The Religion of Protestants: The Church in English Society 1559-1625 
by Patrick Collinson.
Oxford, 297 pp., £17.50, January 1983, 0 19 822685 3
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Reactions to the English Civil War 1642-1649 
by John Morrill.
Macmillan, 257 pp., £14, November 1982, 0 333 27565 9
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The World of the Muggletonians 
by Christopher Hill, Barry Reay and William Lamont.
Temple Smith, 195 pp., £12.50, February 1983, 0 85117 226 1
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The Life of John Milton 
by A.N. Wilson.
Oxford, 278 pp., £9.95, January 1983, 0 19 211776 9
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Complete Prose Works of John Milton. Vol. 8: 1666-1682 
edited by Maurice Kelley.
Yale, 625 pp., £55, January 1983, 0 300 02561 0
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The Poet’s Time: Politics and Religion in the Works of Andrew Marvell 
by Warren Chernaik.
Cambridge, 249 pp., £19.50, February 1983, 9780521247733
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... have long insisted on the regional variations in the patterns of the conflict, but by the time Anthony Fletcher has guided us round the counties of England, and Roger Howell round the towns, we must wonder whether any generalisations about local allegiances can ever be made again. Donald Pennington describes the burdens and the dislocation brought by ...

You are a milksop

Ferdinand Mount, 7 May 2020

Providence Lost: The Rise and Fall of Cromwell’s Protectorate 
by Paul Lay.
Head of Zeus, 352 pp., £30, January 2020, 978 1 78185 256 9
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... the Protectorate went on, the use of the old prayer book was quietly tolerated in some parishes. Anthony Fletcher has pointed out that John Evelyn went to Anglican services when he was in London throughout the Protectorate. But as late as Christmas Day 1657, Evelyn was receiving the Sacrament at Exeter House Chapel when soldiers burst in, broke up the ...

Doomed to Sincerity

Germaine Greer: Rochester as New Man, 16 September 1999

The Works of John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester 
edited by Harold Love.
Oxford, 712 pp., £95, April 1999, 0 19 818367 4
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... manuscript that he chose as his copy-text for ‘Lucina’s Rape’, Rochester’s adaptation of Fletcher’s Valentinian, which she has carefully corrected, restoring the sense of the original, and in which she has (in the spirit of the selection of Rochester’s works for 1691) strenuously elided the scene in which the King makes love to his catamite. The ...


Jenny Turner: ‘T2 Trainspotting’, 16 February 2017

... and flora Trump was wrecking there. I like wind power, and loved You’ve Been Trumped (2011), Anthony Baxter’s documentary about the local people who had been campaigning against the development, and who looked, at that time, like they might win. I also wanted to see what Trump actually looked like in person; he’d been popping up in my dreams from ...


James Wood: The ‘TLS’, 27 June 2002

Critical Times: The History of the ‘Times Literary Supplement’ 
by Derwent May.
HarperCollins, 606 pp., £25, November 2001, 0 00 711449 4
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... In that first year of the TLS’s existence, The Wings of the Dove was reviewed by Constance Fletcher, who wondered how James’s novel would do ‘for short railway journeys and drowsy hammocks’, and Youth (which contained Heart of Darkness), reviewed by William Beach Thomas, who had robustly little time for Conrad’s dense pessimism. Two years ...

Whatever you do, buy

Michael Dobson: Shakespeare’s First Folio, 15 November 2001

The Shakespeare First Folio: The History of the Book Vol. I: An Account of the First Folio Based on Its Sales and Prices, 1623-2000 
by Anthony James West.
Oxford, 215 pp., £70, April 2001, 0 19 818769 6
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... awkwardly assembled and unevenly printed volume has commanded which preoccupy the first volume of Anthony James West’s The Shakespeare First Folio: The History of the Book, and they provide a very remarkable instance of the interplay between literature and the market, prompting all sorts of reflections on the curious relations between cultural capital and ...

Elsinore’s Star Bullshitter

Michael Dobson, 13 September 2018

Hamlet and the Vision of Darkness 
by Rhodri Lewis.
Princeton, 365 pp., £30, November 2017, 978 0 691 16684 1
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... John Marston, Thomas Middleton (most spectacularly in The Revenger’s Tragedy, 1606) and John Fletcher. In his Jew’s Tragedy, written in the 1620s, William Heminges even includes the line ‘To be, or not to be, I, there’s the doubt.’ Perhaps he thought that as the son of one of the compilers of the 1623 Shakespeare folio, which prints a more ...


Mary Hannity: Between Britain and Jamaica, 18 March 2021

Imperial Intimacies: A Tale of Two Islands 
by Hazel V. Carby.
Verso, 416 pp., £20, September 2019, 978 1 78873 509 4
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... supported by the UK government, which feared revolt in the colonies, but the foreign secretary, Anthony Eden, repeated a long-established trope, also used by the War Office during the First World War, when he explained that the climate in Britain ‘was badly suited to negroes’, who might be better off in Italy. Attempts were made by the British ...


Alan Bennett: What I did in 2012, 3 January 2013

... on to what we then called secondary school.As it was put together, the programme tended to confirm Anthony Powell’s thesis that documentaries aren’t based on the evidence but are simply scenarios dreamed up by the director with the facts arranged accordingly.I’ve never been particularly concerned about the end of the grammar schools, seeing it as nothing ...

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