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Farewell to the Log Cabin

Colin Kidd: America’s Royalist Revolution, 18 December 2014

The Royalist Revolution 
by Eric Nelson.
Harvard, 390 pp., £22.95, October 2014, 978 0 674 73534 7
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... group of historians, including Caroline Robbins, Bernard Bailyn, Gordon Wood and J.G.A. Pocock, offered a compelling account of the reasons British Americans broke with monarchy and then embarked on such a distinctive constitutional experiment, hedged with an idiosyncratic Bill of Rights. For example, the curiously tangled syntax of the Second ...

Where are we now?

LRB Contributors: Responses to the Referendum, 14 July 2016

... Philippe Marlière, James Meek, Pankaj Mishra, Jan-Werner Müller, Susan Pedersen, J.G.A. Pocock, Nick Richardson, Nicholas Spice, Wolfgang Streeck, Daniel TrillingDavid RuncimanSo who​ is to blame? Please don’t say the voters: 17,410,742 is an awful lot of people to be wrong on a question of this magnitude. They are not simply suckers and/or ...

Birth of a Náison

John Kerrigan, 5 June 1997

The Political World of Thomas Wentworth, Earl of Strafford, 1621-41 
edited by J.F. Merritt.
Cambridge, 293 pp., £35, March 1996, 0 521 56041 1
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The British Problem, c. 1534-1707: State Formation in the Atlantic Archipelago 
edited by Brendan Bradshaw and John Morrill.
Macmillan, 334 pp., £13.50, June 1996, 0 333 59246 8
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The Stuart Court and Europe: Essays in Politics and Political Culture 
edited by Malcolm Smuts.
Cambridge, 289 pp., £35, September 1996, 9780521554398
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Mere Irish and Fíor-Ghael: Studies in the Idea of Irish Nationality, its Development and Literary Expression Prior to the 19th Century 
by Joep Leerssen.
Cork, 454 pp., £17.95, November 1996, 1 85918 112 0
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... and too provocatively called ‘British history’ was generated by political circumstance. J.G.A. Pocock established its parameters in 1973, in a paper read in New Zealand just after the UK had turned its back on the Commonwealth in order to join the EEC. With a chapter in the history of Empire ending, it seemed right to investigate how a dynamic state-system ...
On Historians 
by J.H. Hexter.
Collins, 310 pp., £6.95, September 1979, 0 00 216623 2
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... Hill. The other heroes of Hexter’s book, Carl Becker, Wallace Ferguson, Hiram Hayden and J.G.A. Pocock, were, I have to admit, infinitely less familiar to me. Thus it is thanks to Hexter that I have learnt that, around 1930, Becker was a relativist, just as Raymond Aron was to become one on our side of the Atlantic a few years later. In the aftermath of the ...

Coy Mistress Uncovered

David Norbrook, 19 May 1988

Dragons Teeth: Literature in the English Revolution 
by Michael Wilding.
Oxford, 288 pp., £25, September 1987, 0 19 812881 9
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Apocalyptic Marvell: The Second Coming in 17th-Century Poetry 
by Margarita Stocker.
Harvester, 381 pp., £32.50, February 1986, 0 7108 0934 4
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The Politics of Mirth: Jonson, Herrick, Milton, Marvell, and the Defence of Old Holiday Pastimes 
by Leah Marcus.
Chicago, 319 pp., £23.25, March 1987, 0 226 50451 4
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Milton: A Study in Ideology and Form 
by Christopher Kendrick.
Methuen, 240 pp., £25, June 1986, 0 416 01251 5
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... that ‘bourgeois humanist’ politics is simply a disguise for laissez-faire capitalism, J.G.A. Pocock and other historians have been pointing to abundant evidence that the ethos of commercial consumption and the ethos of politically activist republican virtue have been in long-standing contention with each other over the centuries. In English cultural ...

Vanishings

Peter Swaab, 20 April 1989

The Unremarkable Wordsworth 
by Geoffrey Hartman.
Methuen, 249 pp., £8.95, September 1987, 0 416 05142 1
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Wordsworth’s Historical Imagination: The Poetry of Displacement 
by David Simpson.
Methuen, 239 pp., £25, June 1987, 0 416 03872 7
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Romanticism in National Context 
edited by Roy Porter and Mikulas Teich.
Cambridge, 353 pp., £30, June 1988, 0 521 32605 2
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Romantic Affinities: Portraits from an Age 1780-1830 
by Rupert Christiansen.
Bodley Head, 262 pp., £16, January 1988, 0 370 31117 5
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... republican tradition of political thought, which has been traced in the important work of J.G.A. Pocock. Simpson’s emphasis throughout is on ‘a whole litany of retractions’ which accompany Wordsworth’s allegiance to agrarian idealism. These retractions, to Simpson, embody a recognition of existing social and political complexities, and add to the ...

The Way Forward

Ian Gilmour, 25 October 1990

The Economic Limits to Modern Politics 
edited by John Dunn.
Polity, 274 pp., £35, July 1990, 0 7456 0827 2
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... politics.’ The need for low wages was considered to be common sense, not ideology. J.G.A. Pocock, on ground which he has made very much his own, shows that ‘the political limits to pre-modern economics’ lay in the basic assumption that the citizen was also a warrior. In practice, of course, he was not. In England even the aristocracy, the ...

Enlightenment’s Errand Boy

David A. Bell: The Philosophes and the Republic of Letters, 22 May 2003

Calvet’s Web: Enlightenment and the Republic of Letters in 18th-Century France 
by L.W.B. Brockliss.
Oxford, 471 pp., £55, July 2002, 9780199247486
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The Great Nation: France from Louis XV to Napoleon 
by Colin Jones.
Allen Lane, 651 pp., £25, August 2002, 0 7139 9039 2
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... and chronological boundaries. Others, more daringly, have denied its essential unity. J.G.A. Pocock, in his ongoing study of the intellectual worlds of Edward Gibbon, insists on the existence of multiple Enlightenments, some of them remarkably conservative, religious and devoted to erudition. The most radical critics of all have gone far in the other ...

Clashes and Collaborations

Linda Colley, 18 July 1996

Empire: The British Imperial Experience, from 1765 to the Present 
by Denis Judd.
HarperCollins, 517 pp., £25, March 1996, 9780002552370
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Cambridge Illustrated History of the British Empire 
edited by P.J. Marshall.
Cambridge, 400 pp., £24.95, March 1996, 0 521 43211 1
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Lords of All the World: Ideologies of Empire in Spain, Britain and France, c.1500-c.1800 
by Anthony Pagden.
Yale, 244 pp., £19.95, August 1995, 0 300 06415 2
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... the ideas behind empire. As scholars such as David Armitage, Peter Miller, Anthony Pagden, J.G.A. Pocock and Richard Tuck have reminded us repeatedly in recent years, the absence of mind which was sometimes in the past attributed to imperialism was, rather, a characteristic of some of its historians. Pagden reinforces this message in Lords of All the World, a ...

Royal Panic Attack

Colin Kidd: James VI and I, 16 June 2011

King James VI and I and His English Parliaments 
by Conrad Russell, edited by Richard Cust and Andrew Thrush.
Oxford, 195 pp., £55, February 2011, 978 0 19 820506 7
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... 1640’. In recent decades the ‘new British history’ – first summoned into being by J.G.A. Pocock – has transformed our understanding of the English past. You can’t understand England without appreciating how the interactions of the four nations influenced the course of its history. Historians have sometimes paid less attention to the invidious ...

Spinoza got it

Margaret Jacob: Radical Enlightenment, 8 November 2012

A Revolution of the Mind: Radical Enlightenment and the Intellectual Origins of Modern Democracy 
by Jonathan Israel.
Princeton, 276 pp., £13.95, September 2011, 978 0 691 15260 8
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... Everyone agreed there had been a Scottish Enlightenment, but sceptical historians, such as J.G.A. Pocock, asked if there had ever been an English one. People still write about the Enlightenment as experienced in a single country but they are now once again aware that ideas know only linguistic barriers. This is a lesson that Israel has learned. The second ...

The Great Scots Education Hoax

Rosalind Mitchison, 18 October 1984

The Companion to Gaelic Scotland 
edited by Derick Thomson.
Blackwell, 363 pp., £25, December 1983, 0 631 12502 7
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Experience and Enlightenment: Socialisation for Cultural Changes in 18th-Century Scotland 
by Charles Camic.
Edinburgh, 301 pp., £20, January 1984, 0 85224 483 5
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Knee Deep in Claret: A Celebration of Wine and Scotland 
by Billy Kay and Cailean Maclean.
Mainstream, 232 pp., £9.95, November 1983, 0 906391 45 8
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Education and Opportunity in Victorian Scotland: Schools and Universities 
by R.D. Anderson.
Oxford, 384 pp., £25, July 1983, 0 19 822696 9
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Scotland: The Real Divide 
edited by Gordon Brown and Robin Cook.
Mainstream, 251 pp., £9.95, November 1983, 0 906391 18 0
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Wealth and Virtue: The Shaping of Political Economy in the Scottish Enlightenment 
edited by Istvan Hont and Michael Ignatieff.
Cambridge, 371 pp., £35, November 1983, 0 521 23397 6
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... narrow dogmas of 19th-century economics. Many articles here point out the puzzle, but, as J.G.A. Pocock states, solving it will mean rewriting a long stretch of complicated intellectual history. There is a lot of good stuff in this volume. It opens with the two editors on ‘Needs and Justice in the Wealth of Nations’; one part of this essay traces ...

Despairing Radicals

Blair Worden, 25 June 1992

Sir Philip Sidney: Courtier Poet 
by Katherine Duncan-Jones.
Hamish Hamilton, 350 pp., £20, September 1991, 0 241 12650 9
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Algernon Sidney and the Restoration Crisis 
by Jonathan Scott.
Cambridge, 406 pp., £40, October 1991, 0 521 35291 6
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Algernon Sidney and the Republican Heritage 
by Alan Craig Houston.
Princeton, 335 pp., £22.50, November 1991, 0 691 07860 2
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Milton’s ‘History of Britain’: Republican Historiography in the English Revolution 
by Nicholas von Maltzahn.
Oxford, 244 pp., £32.50, November 1991, 0 19 812897 5
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... the assumptions, which have found their most celebrated expression in the writings of J.G.A. Pocock, that ‘the defining characteristic of republicanism is a Classical theory of virtue, and that the republican language of virtue is distinct from and in tension with the liberal logic of rights and interests.’ Modern writers have adopted Isaiah ...

Literature and the Left

Marilyn Butler, 18 August 1983

English Literature in History: 1730-80: An Equal, Wide Survey 
edited by Raymond Williams, by John Barrell.
Hutchinson, 228 pp., £13.50, March 1983, 0 09 149820 1
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English Literature in History: 1350-1400: Medieval Readers and Writers 
edited by Raymond Williams, by Janet Coleman.
Hutchinson, 337 pp., £12, July 1981, 0 09 144100 5
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English Literature in History: 1780-1830: Pastoral and Politics 
edited by Raymond Williams, by Roger Sales.
Hutchinson, 247 pp., £13.50, March 1983, 0 09 149830 9
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The Cambridge Guide to English Literature 
by Michael Stapleton.
Cambridge/Newnes Books, 992 pp., £15, April 1983, 9780521256476
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... poetry to the ideology of the 18th-century ‘Country party’, as the historian of ideas J.G.A. Pocock has expounded this in The Machiavellian Moment (1975) and subsequent articles. The ‘Country party’ impulse will be to idealise the country gentleman, as the upholder of disinterested virtue, untouched by the corruptions of court and city. In its ...

Public Works

David Norbrook, 5 June 1986

The Faber Book of Political Verse 
edited by Tom Paulin.
Faber, 481 pp., £17.50, May 1986, 0 571 13947 7
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... but a dislike of the actual court that lent a republican tinge to their rhetoric. And as J.G.A. Pocock and others have shown, a celebration of austere republican virtue against the corrupting effects of commerce motivated one strand of republican thought down to Jefferson and beyond. It took T.S. Eliot to remind the forgetful English of the full benefits of ...

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