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Democratic Sublime

Derek Hirst: Writing the English republic, 19 August 1999

Writing the English Republic: Poetry, Rhetoric and Politics 1627-60 
by David Norbrook.
Cambridge, 509 pp., £40, January 1999, 0 521 63275 7
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... The appearance of this book on 30 January, the 350th anniversary of the cold morning when the axe fell on Charles Stuart’s neck, was no mere romantic gesture. Rather, it declared David Norbrook’s belief that to vindicate the cultural vitality and integrity of English republicanism at its moment of flowering – a moment of high energy not only in politics but also in political thought, journalism and in literature, too – is to make a contribution to present politics as well as present understanding ...

In a narrow pass

Derek Hirst, 19 November 1992

A Spark in the Ashes: The Pamphlets of John Warr 
edited by Stephen Sedley and Lawrence Kaplan.
Verso, 116 pp., £9.95, October 1992, 0 86091 599 9
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... Stephen Sedley and Lawrence Kaplan seek to map a new course for the post-socialist Left, and to turn attention away from that beguiling but now exploded theme, egalitarianism. The long fixation with egalitarianism has, they complain, allowed the Right today to ‘appropriate the word liberty and equate it with the acquisition of power’; and the phenomenon of Thatcherism would certainly bear them out ...

Items on a New Agenda

Conrad Russell, 23 October 1986

Humanism in the Age of Henry VIII 
by Maria Dowling.
Croom Helm, 283 pp., £25, February 1986, 0 7099 0864 4
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Henry, Prince of Wales and England’s Lost Renaissance 
by Roy Strong.
Thames and Hudson, 264 pp., £12.95, May 1986, 0 500 01375 6
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Authority and Conflict: England 1603-1658 
by Derek Hirst.
Arnold, 390 pp., £27.50, March 1986, 0 7131 6155 8
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Rebellion or Revolution? England 1640-1660 
by G.E. Aylmer.
Oxford, 274 pp., £12.50, February 1986, 0 19 219179 9
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Politics and Ideology in England 1603-1640 
by J.P. Sommerville.
Longman, 254 pp., £6.95, April 1986, 9780582494329
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... around him is a question to which the answer is not obvious, but one well worth further thought. Derek Hirst is facing a tougher task than any of the other authors in this sample. He is writing the latest volume in Edward Arnold’s ‘New History of England’, and is faced with the alarming task of imposing balance and order on a field like Matthew ...

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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... John Pym, 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 ...

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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... prominence. He 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 ...

Thatcher’s Artists

Peter Wollen, 30 October 1997

Sensation: Young British Artists from the Saatchi Collection 
by Norman Rosenthal.
Thames and Hudson, 222 pp., £29.95, September 1997, 0 500 23752 2
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... of artists, who first came to public notice in 1988 with the Freeze show organised by Damien Hirst, were the beneficiaries of the hard work of the St Ives Group, the Independent Group, the Royal College Pop artists and so on, all of whom had successively edged British art into a position where it could at last compete in the world of international ...

English Marxists in dispute

Roy Porter, 17 July 1980

Arguments within English Marxism 
by Perry Anderson.
New Left Books, 218 pp., £3.95, May 1980, 0 86091 727 4
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Capitalism, State Formation and Marxist Theory 
edited by Philip Corrigan.
Quartet, 232 pp., £4.95, May 1980, 0 7043 2241 2
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Writing by Candlelight 
by E.P. Thompson.
Merlin, 286 pp., £2.70, May 1980, 0 85036 257 1
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... history. In France, Louis Althusser and his disciples, and in England followers such as Paul Q. Hirst and Barry Hindess, have argued that the business of Marxist intellectuals is to construct not history but theory (e.g. a rationally water tight account of the transition from feudalism to capitalism, not one purportedly told from the ‘facts’ and ...

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