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The Vicar of Chippenham

Christopher Haigh: Religion and the life-cycle, 15 October 1998

Birth, Marriage and Death: Ritual, Religion and the Life-Cycle in Tudor and Stuart England 
by David Cressy.
Oxford, 641 pp., £25, May 1998, 0 19 820168 0
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... For most of us, rites of passage are chaotic family events, with crying babies, cranky children, bored teenagers, tipsy fathers and complaining grandmothers – an excuse for a party, a reception or a wake. For the clergy, however, ritual is a serious business. They want their ceremonies to be tidy, dignified and meaningful – no photographs in church, no confetti in the churchyard ...

Runagately Rogue

Tobias Gregory: Puritans and Others, 25 August 2011

The Plain Man’s Pathways to Heaven: Kinds of Christianity in Post-Reformation England, 1570-1640 
by Christopher Haigh.
Oxford, 284 pp., £32, September 2009, 978 0 19 921650 5
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... the reflection? In a new study of English popular religion based on ecclesiastical court records, Christopher Haigh finds that Dent’s four characters represent widely held attitudes. While Dent invented them as useful stereotypes, his book succeeded because people recognised them and the things he had them say. Court records and books like Dent’s can ...

Don’t blame him

Jenny Wormald, 4 August 1994

Elizabeth I 
by Wallance MacCaffrey.
Edward Arnold, 528 pp., £25, September 1993, 9780340561676
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... a professional historian for nearly sixty years’. This is unfair: the late Joel Hurstfield and Christopher Haigh would have cause for complaint that their books, Elizabeth I and the Unity of England (1960) and Elizabeth I (1988), are thus ignored; both give a personal portrait of Elizabeth, and in Haigh’s case a ...


John Bossy, 4 April 1996

The New Oxford History of England. Vol. II: The Later Tudors 
by Penry Williams.
Oxford, 628 pp., £25, September 1995, 0 19 822820 1
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... that they are too many. Of the 40, Catholics get ten and a bit, and Williams has followed Christopher Haigh in downsizing the Elizabethan Catholic mission into a bomb that failed to go off. This leaves an awful hole in the story: it was a real bomb, and blew up a lot of things, including the planter. I don’t think it is grinding an axe to claim ...

Through Trychay’s Eyes

Patrick Collinson: Reformation and rebellion, 25 April 2002

The Voices of Morebath: Reformation and Rebellion in an English Village 
by Eamon Duffy.
Yale, 232 pp., £16.95, August 2001, 0 300 09185 0
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... found that even in London, it was a minority sect, at least until the early years of Elizabeth. Christopher Haigh, who describes himself as an ex-Methodist Anglican agnostic, decided that this revisionist band needed a leader, and headed into battle with a stream of publications that came to full fruition in English Reformations: Religion, Politics and ...

Scarisbrick’s Bomb

Peter Gwyn, 20 December 1984

Reformation and Revolution 1558-1660 
by Robert Ashton.
Granada, 503 pp., £18, February 1984, 0 246 10666 2
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The Reformation and the English People 
by J.J. Scarisbrick.
Blackwell, 203 pp., £14.50, March 1984, 0 631 13424 7
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... he really wanted to tell us. It looks as if at one stage he may have had it in mind to engage with Christopher Hill, whose heroic efforts to persuade a sceptical English audience that during the 17th century some kind of Marxist revolution occurred in England, leading to the rise of such things as capitalism and science, will be familiar to all those with any ...

And Cabbages Too

Patrick Collinson: The Tudors, 22 March 2001

New Worlds, Lost Worlds: The Rule of the Tudors 1485-1603 
by Susan Brigden.
Allen Lane, 434 pp., £20, September 2000, 0 7139 9067 8
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... politics, others dismiss it. They are not told that two rival armies, led by A.G. Dickens and Christopher Haigh, have fought vicious Balkan wars over the events and processes we know as the English Reformation: from above or from below, early or late, success or failure? Until we reach her ‘Bibliographical Essay’, which is organised on ...

Something about Mary

Diarmaid MacCulloch: The First Queen of England, 18 October 2007

Mary Tudor: The Tragical History of the First Queen of England 
by David Loades.
National Archives, 240 pp., £19.99, September 2006, 1 903365 98 8
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... half a century ago described a Marian ‘reaction’, a posse of historians led by Eamon Duffy, Christopher Haigh, John Edwards and Loades himself have found a reformation as full of potential as anything that Protestants did, indeed the largest-scale attempt to restore Catholicism up till then in all Europe. We ought to forget Dickens’s ...

Saints on Sundays, Devils All the Week After

Patrick Collinson: London Burnings, 19 September 2002

The Antichrist’s Lewd Hat: Protestants, Papists and Players in Post-Reformation England 
by Peter Lake and Michael Questier.
Yale, 731 pp., £30, February 2002, 0 300 08884 1
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... and imperfect, mission impossible. This version of the Reformation (associated especially with Christopher Haigh) rests on an unrealistically exalted notion of what constituted Protestantism: that it was equivalent to what Lake calls ‘perfect Protestantism’, or Puritanism. Lake, who is alternately laudatory and critical in his handling of ...

A Very Active Captain

Patrick Collinson: Henricentrism, 22 June 2006

The King’s Reformation: Henry VIII and the Remaking of the English Church 
by G.W. Bernard.
Yale, 736 pp., £29.95, November 2005, 0 300 10908 3
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Writing under Tyranny: English Literature and the Henrician Reformation 
by Greg Walker.
Oxford, 556 pp., £65, October 2005, 0 19 928333 8
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... The subject is that more limited thing, the Henrician Reformation, which some historians, notably Christopher Haigh, make a matter of politics not religion and detach from the Reformation. Bernard, without any prolegomena, or rather only 124 words, plunges straight into 72 pages on the ‘King’s Great Matter’, the divorce. The implication is ...


David Norbrook, 18 July 1985

Political Shakespeare: New Essays in Cultural Materialism 
edited by Jonathan Dollimore and Alan Sinfield.
Manchester, 244 pp., £19.50, April 1985, 0 7190 1752 1
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Alternative Shakespeares 
edited by John Drakakis.
Methuen, 252 pp., £10.50, July 1985, 0 416 36850 6
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Shakespeare and Others 
by S. Schoenbaum.
Scolar, 285 pp., £25, May 1985, 0 85967 691 9
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Illustrations of the English Stage 1580-1642 
by R.A. Foakes.
Scolar, 180 pp., £35, February 1985, 0 85967 684 6
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Shakespeare: The ‘Lost Years’ 
by E.A.J. Honigmann.
Manchester, 172 pp., £17.50, April 1985, 0 7190 1743 2
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... may be dubious, it cannot be denied that it yields some interesting insights. Terence Hawkes, Christopher Norris and Jacqueline Rose show how the attempts of some influential Shakespeare critics to reduce the plays to coherent unified structures break down as the gaps and contradictions of the texts are carried over by an uncanny transfer to their own ...

A Cousin of Colonel Heneage

Robert Crawford: Was Eliot a Swell?, 18 April 2019

The Letters of T.S. Eliot, Volume VIII: 1936-38 
edited by Valerie Eliot and John Haffenden.
Faber, 1100 pp., £50, January 2019, 978 0 571 31638 0
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... these prodigious gatherings, the poetry looks svelte. Yet the 2015 Faber edition of the Poems by Christopher Ricks and Jim McCue itself runs to nearly two thousand densely annotated pages. This, too, is a breathtaking achievement. Very few people will read through all these thousands of pages, and their publication risks making Eliot seem more daunting than ...

Feast of St Thomas

Frank Kermode, 29 September 1988

Eliot’s New Life 
by Lyndall Gordon.
Oxford, 356 pp., £15, September 1988, 0 19 811727 2
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The Letters of T.S. Eliot 
edited by Valerie Eliot.
Faber, 618 pp., £25, September 1988, 0 571 13621 4
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The Poetics of Impersonality 
by Maud Ellmann.
Harvester, 207 pp., £32.50, January 1988, 0 7108 0463 6
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T.S. Eliot and the Philosophy of Criticism 
by Richard Shusterman.
Duckworth, 236 pp., £19.95, February 1988, 0 7156 2187 4
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‘The Men of 1914’: T.S. Eliot and Early Modernism 
by Erik Svarny.
Open University, 268 pp., £30, September 1988, 0 335 09019 2
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Eliot, Joyce and Company 
by Stanley Sultan.
Oxford, 326 pp., £25, March 1988, 0 19 504880 6
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The Savage and the City in the Work of T.S. Eliot 
by Robert Crawford.
Oxford, 251 pp., £25, December 1987, 9780198128694
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T.S. Eliot: The Poems 
by Martin Scofield.
Cambridge, 264 pp., £25, March 1988, 0 521 30147 5
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... and resourceful, Gordon has interviewed many witnesses, and had the cooperation of Maurice Haigh-Wood, Vivien’s brother; she draws on Vivien’s diaries in the Bodleian, the copyright of which, as we learn from the Letters, belongs to Eliot’s widow. And, familiar with virtually all the archives, she has read a great many of the letters. Her ...


Alan Bennett: What I did in 1996, 2 January 1997

... 3 July. Silly programme on Timewatch last night attempting to rehabilitate Haig. (‘Acid-bath Haigh?’ ‘No. Blood-bath Haig.’) It was just historians playing see-saw with no new evidence forthcoming and no examination of the sources, his diaries, for instance, treated as trustworthy when it’s pretty certain Haig rewrote them to fit in with his ...

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