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Ladurie’s Talents

G.R. Elton, 1 October 1981

The Mind and Method of the Historian 
by Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie, translated by Sian Reynolds and Ben Reynolds.
Harvester, 310 pp., £20, July 1981, 0 85527 928 1
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... This is the second collection of essays by Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie to appear in English. The first was called The Territory of the Historian and up to a point justified its title by describing a landscape of historical investigation – rural France peopled by a peasantry engaged in earning a living and undergoing birth, disease and death, the whole benignly directed by techniques of quantification ...

Viscount Lisle at Calais

G.R. Elton, 16 July 1981

The Lisle Letters 
edited by Muriel St Clare Byrne.
Chicago, 744 pp., £125, June 1981, 0 226 08801 4
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... In the reign of Henry VIII, when a man was arrested for treason (an arrest which, among the eminent, tended to be equal to a conviction, with the usual consequences), his papers were confiscated and disappeared into the royal archives in the Tower. Considering the number of people who suffered this fate, the amount of surviving material is distressingly small ...

Members’ Memorial

G.R. Elton, 20 May 1982

The History of Parliament: The Commons 1558-1603 
edited by P.W. Hasler.
HMSO, 1940 pp., £95, February 1982, 0 11 887501 9
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... Has there ever been a theme as much studied by English historians as the history of Parliament? At one time, indeed, it seemed almost to stand in for the history of the country itself: history equalled politics, and politics equalled Parliament. Stubbs structured the 14th and 15th centuries around what were, after all, intermittent and occasional meetings of this supposedly representative body; the Tudor century received blame for not having a true parliament, one worthy of the name, since the monarchs were supposedly allowed to do as they pleased with it; the origins, history and consequences of the Great Rebellion were seen to revolve around Parliament; and after 1660 everything became Parliament and parties, leading on to the zenith of their history in the 19th century ...

Christendom

Conrad Russell, 7 November 1985

F.W. Maitland 
by G.R. Elton.
Weidenfeld, 118 pp., £12.95, June 1985, 0 297 78614 8
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Renaissance Essays 
by Hugh Trevor-Roper.
Secker, 312 pp., £15, July 1985, 0 436 42511 4
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History, Society and the Churches: Essays in Honour of Owen Chadwick 
edited by Derek Beales and Geoffrey Best.
Cambridge, 335 pp., £30, May 1985, 0 521 25486 8
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... This could be called a review of the three Regiuses. G.R. Elton is at present Regius Professor at Cambridge. Owen Chadwick, to whom tribute is paid in a festschrift, is his predecessor in the same chair, while Lord Dacre of Glanton, more commonly known as Professor Trevor-Roper, is the recently retired Regius Professor at Oxford ...

Floreat Eltona

David Starkey, 19 January 1984

Tudor Rule and Revolution: Essays for G.R. Elton from his American Friends 
edited by DeLloyd Guth and John McKenna.
Cambridge, 418 pp., £27.50, February 1983, 0 521 24841 8
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Essays on Tudor and Stuart Politics and Government. Vol III: Papers and Reviews 1973-1981 
by G.R. Elton.
Cambridge, 512 pp., £27.50, March 1983, 0 521 24893 0
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Which road to the past? Two Views of History 
by Robert William Fogel and G.R. Elton.
Yale, 136 pp., £9.95, September 1983, 0 300 03011 8
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... 1983 was Professor Elton’s ‘grand climacteric’. For though the crucial age in astrology is 63 and he is only 61, there can be no doubt when a few short months saw the publication of a ‘birthday book’ by his American friends, his appointment to the Regius Chair of History at Cambridge, the appearance of the third volume of his own collected essays, and a short book in which Elton and Robert Fogel, doyen of American quantitative historians, debate ‘which road to the past?’ In these circumstances to go beyond a mere review to ask ‘whither Elton’ is a duty – and for some reviewers a pleasure ...

Elton at seventy

Patrick Collinson, 11 June 1992

Return to Essentials: Some Reflections on the Present State of Historical Study 
by G.R. Elton.
Cambridge, 128 pp., £16.95, October 1991, 0 521 41098 3
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... Sir Geoffrey Elton’s latest reflections on the state and status of his subject illustrate the Coleridgean maxim that a man is more likely to be right in what he affirms than in what he denies. Arising from lectures delivered, one imagines, off the cuff to an audience at the University of Michigan, they consist for the most part of soundings-off against a rogues’ gallery of ideological and academical types and tendencies which he believes constitute a threat to the proper study and use of the past ...

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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... tell their own story: Tudor England (S.T. Bindoff, 1950), England Under the Tudors (G.R. Elton, 1955), Tudor England again (John Guy, 1988), branding the age – see J.A. Williamson’s The Tudor Age (1953) – with the logo of the double rose of the dynasty which, conveniently, coincided with a generous 16th century of 118 years, 1485 to 1603. It is ...

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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... historians who over the last thirty years have dominated Tudor scholarship, A.G. Dickens and G.R. Elton. I remember very well my excitement on first reading in 1964, the year of its publication, Professor Dickens’s The English Reformation. His thesis was almost precisely the opposite of Scarisbrick’s. What he portrayed was a late Medieval Church ...

Skipwith and Anktill

David Wootton: Tudor Microhistory, 10 August 2000

Travesties and Transgressions in Tudor and Stuart England 
by David Cressy.
Oxford, 351 pp., £25, November 1999, 0 19 820781 6
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A House in Gross Disorder: Sex, Law, and the Second Earl of Castlehaven 
by Cynthia Herrup.
Oxford, 216 pp., £18.99, December 1999, 0 19 512518 5
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... So it was with some sense of shock that I read David Cressy’s claim that ‘the great G.R. Elton . . . pioneered the practice of microhistory’ in his Star Chamber Stories (1958). Elton may have been a great historian; he certainly dominated the study of Tudor history through the 1960s and 1970s. But it would have ...

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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... pathetic, to discover a Marxist such as Philip Corrigan belatedly finding much to approve in G.R. Elton on Thomas Cromwell, or J.H. Plumb on Walpole. Whether Elton or Plumb would be pleased about the use he makes of them is another matter: Anderson, by the way, has a highly penetrating assessment of Walpole as Thompson’s ...

‘Just get us out’

Ferdinand Mount, 21 March 2019

... acknowledged or derided as the founder of the modern centralised English state – although G.R. Elton traced that centralisation back a good deal further. It is piquant that Bluff King Hal’s name still crops up today in the shape of the ‘Henry VIII clause’, the nickname for a device which gives a minister carte blanche when introducing a new law. The ...

The Macaulay of the Welfare State

David Cannadine, 6 June 1985

The BBC: The First 50 Years 
by Asa Briggs.
Oxford, 439 pp., £17.50, May 1985, 0 19 212971 6
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The Collected Essays of Asa Briggs. Vol. I: Words, Numbers, Places, People 
Harvester, 245 pp., £30, March 1985, 0 7108 0094 0Show More
The Collected Essays of Asa Briggs. Vol. II: Images, Problems, Standpoints, Forecasts 
Harvester, 324 pp., £30, March 1985, 0 7108 0510 1Show More
The 19th Century: The Contradictions of Progress 
edited by Asa Briggs.
Thames and Hudson, 239 pp., £18, April 1985, 0 500 04013 3
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... with his immediate contemporaries, Briggs’s writing lacks the combative forcefulness of G.R. Elton, the olympian grandeur of Owen Chadwick, the stylish verve of J.H. Plumb, the cosmopolitan allusiveness of E.J. Hobsbawm, and the impassioned radicalism of Christopher Hill. Some have criticised his work for being too bland, for lacking analytical bite, for ...

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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... historians of the subject; in the Dodds’ own perception, ‘scientific history’; in G.R. Elton’s judgment, ‘beyond challenge’. But Hoyle puts his finger on the Dodds’ predicament. As liberal, Whiggish historians (which goes for Gardiner, too), they wanted to celebrate the Pilgrimage as a noble episode in the struggle between liberty and ...

Good History

Christopher Hill, 5 March 1981

After the Reformation: Essays in Honour of J.H. Hexter 
edited by Barbara Malament.
Manchester, 363 pp., £17.95, December 1980, 0 7190 0805 0
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Puritans and Adventurers 
by T.H. Breen.
Oxford, 270 pp., £10, October 1980, 0 19 502728 0
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On History 
by Fernand Braudel, translated by Sarah Matthews.
Weidenfeld, 226 pp., £10.95, January 1981, 0 297 77880 3
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Sociology and History 
by Peter Burke.
Allen and Unwin, 116 pp., £6.95, August 1980, 0 19 502728 0
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... easily applied to the wider world of rural England’ – which Underdown goes on to discuss. G.R. Elton’s piece on ‘Politics and the Pilgrimage of Grace’ is fascinating. That rebellion turns out to have been the creation of a court faction, the enemies of Thomas Cromwell trying to oust him by stirring up popular revolt against him. They ‘utilised the ...

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