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Grisly Creed

Patrick Collinson: John Wyclif, 22 February 2007

John Wyclif: Myth and Reality 
by G.R. Evans.
Lion, 320 pp., £20, October 2005, 0 7459 5154 6
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... historian of the Middle Ages to be published in his lifetime. But it is strange that G.R. Evans, in what is blurbed as ‘the first major biography of Wyclif to be published for almost a century’ (the reference is to the two volumes published by H.B. Workman in 1926), makes no reference to it. Evans’s title ...

Laid Down by Ranke

Peter Ghosh: Defending history, 15 October 1998

In Defence of History 
by Richard J. Evans.
Granta, 320 pp., £8.99, October 1998, 1 86207 068 7
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... Richard Evans hopes that this book will take the place of E.H. Carr’s What is History? and G.R. Elton’s The Practice of History as the ‘basic introduction’ to history as taught in the universities. Evans is a self-declared ‘Rankean’ empiricist, committed to Ranke’s view that facts and documents ‘speak for themselves ...

Watering the Dust

James Wood: Saint Augustine, 30 September 1999

Saint Augustine 
by Garry Wills.
Weidenfeld, 153 pp., £12.99, August 1999, 0 297 84281 1
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... Only those who are chosen are saved. In her brilliant book Augustine on Evil (1982), G.R. Evans comments sadly: ‘Augustine’s developing conception of how God helps us to know him gradually blotted out any notion that man might contribute to his own salvation by trying hard.’ This cruel ‘double predestination’ became 17th-century ...

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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... 20th-century British Empire felt obliged to turn anthropologist and make space for large chunks of Evans-Pritchard on the Southern Sudan. This is not meant as negative criticism. If the rulers of ‘Britain’ in the 16th century had known all that Brigden knows, and shares with us, they might not have committed the atrocious acts which became literary ...

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