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Resurrecting the Tudors

John Pemble: James Anthony Froude, 23 May 2013

James Anthony Froude: An Intellectual Biography of a Victorian Prophet 
by Ciaran Brady.
Oxford, 500 pp., £45, May 2013, 978 0 19 966803 8
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... History of England is now a sunken battleship, with nothing visible save a few extracts, edited by Eamon Duffy and published as The Reign of Mary Tudor. The Life of Carlyle briefly re-emerged, abridged, in 1979, but then sank again. Given that we now can’t get enough of the Tudors whom Froude resurrected, and that critics as varied as Elton, Conyers ...

Our Supersubstantial Bread

Frank Kermode: God’s Plot, 25 March 2010

A History of Christianity: The First 3000 Years 
by Diarmaid MacCulloch.
Allen Lane, 1161 pp., £35, September 2009, 978 0 7139 9869 6
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... Eamon Duffy, whose opinion of this book will not be lightly disputed, remarks on its jacket that ‘everyone who reads it will learn things they didn’t know.’ Most lay reviewers will think this an understatement; yet the scope of the project, its distance from anything that might be described as parochial, may persuade them that the records of Christianity, preserved and interpreted for the most part by assiduous priests and scholars, deserve a few moments of their attention ...

Man Is Wolf to Man

Malcolm Gaskill: C.J. Sansom, 23 January 2020

by C.J. Sansom.
Pan Macmillan, 866 pp., £8.99, September 2019, 978 1 4472 8451 2
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... offers judgments modestly yet confidently in his afterwords. He believes the Cambridge historian Eamon Duffy over-romanticises monastic houses in his Stripping of the Altars (1992), favouring the more critical view of another Cambridge professor (and Benedictine monk), David Knowles, put forward in Religious Orders in England (1948). When Dissolution ...

When Ireland Became Divided

Garret FitzGerald: The Free State’s Fight for Recognition, 21 January 1999

Documents on Irish Foreign Policy. Vol. I: 1919-22 
edited by Ronan Fanning.
Royal Irish Academy and Department of Foreign Affairs, 548 pp., £30, October 1998, 1 874045 63 1
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... by the non-violent Nationalist Arthur Griffith but from 1917 led by the senior survivor of 1916, Eamon de Valera – this new radical movement won 73 of the 105 Irish seats at Westminster in the December 1918 General Election. Assembling in Dublin on 19 January 1919, those elected members not in prison or ‘on the run’ met as Dáil Éireann – the ...


Conor Gearty: On Michael Collins, 28 November 1996

... as a political force. One of their teachers was the daughter of the legendary Charles Gavan Duffy, who led a noble but futile revolution against the British at the height of the Famine in 1848. A few years after the Kiernan girls left his school, Pearse was executed by the British for leading another rebellion. The Kiernan sisters took a bit of the ...

The First Consort

Thomas Penn: Philip of Spain, 5 April 2012

Philip of Spain, King of England: The Forgotten Sovereign 
by Harry Kelsey.
I.B. Tauris, 230 pp., £18.99, November 2011, 978 1 84885 716 2
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... a couple of lines to Philip’s role in the persecutions, although other recent studies, notably Eamon Duffy’s Fires of Faith (2009) and Edwards’s biography of Mary, have revealed it to be substantial, if not central. Kelsey remarks that the method of execution – burning at the stake – was ‘typically English’, an odd thing to say given that ...

Saint Shakespeare

Barbara Everett, 19 August 2010

... was not strong in uniformity. Major historical studies of the Reformation period, like Eamon Duffy’s The Stripping of the Altars and Diarmaid MacCulloch’s Reformation: Europe’s House Divided 1490-1700, may be written from different ideological positions, yet will imply a similar historical picture. The world they describe is one of ...

Moral Lepers

John Banville: Easter 1916, 16 July 2015

Vivid Faces: The Revolutionary Generation in Ireland, 1890-1923 
by R.F. Foster.
Allen Lane, 433 pp., £10.99, May 2015, 978 0 241 95424 9
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... in the ensuing months.Indeed, it remained of immense importance through the ensuing decades. Eamon de Valera, one of the few 1916 leaders to survive the Rising – his American citizenship saved him from the firing squad – recognised the importance of the Church’s influence, especially among working-class mothers, and used it with cunning and ...

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