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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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... Two very different books by two professors at English universities. That written by Professor Ashton is a bad book of a kind that is all too common, that by Professor Scarisbrick is good, perhaps very good, but of a kind that is now all too rare, in that it was written for the simple, old fashioned reason that its author was passionately interested in imparting his views ...
9 April 1992
Shakespeare and the Goddess of Complete Being 
by Ted Hughes.
Faber, 517 pp., £18.99, March 1992, 0 571 16604 0
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... present-day historians detail. Even so, what is remarkable about Hughes is that he lets his imagination rip along the interface of two opposed ideas about the Reformation. The first idea, as J.J.Scarisbrick expresses it in his biography of Henry VIII, is that during Henry’s reign ‘a people accomplished what was, by any standards, a radical breach with its past and a remarkable act of national ...

La Bolaing

Patrick Collinson: Anne Boleyn

18 November 2004
The Life and Death of Anne Boleyn 
by Eric Ives.
Blackwell, 458 pp., £25, July 2004, 0 631 23479 9
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... he applied to the pope for a dispensation to enable him to marry again, they were not. Henry had found that he could not live without Anne, and Anne would only live with him on one condition. J.J.Scarisbrick, Henry’s biographer, puts these developments a year or two earlier, which would make Anne the scheming agent of his estrangement from his wife, not something that resulted from it. In this ...

Not Biographable

Patrick Collinson: The Faithful Thomas Cromwell

29 November 2007
Thomas Cromwell: The Rise and Fall of Henry VIII’s Most Notorious Minister 
by Robert Hutchinson.
Weidenfeld, 360 pp., £20, February 2007, 978 0 297 84642 0
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... specialist journals. There is no engagement with the cluster of ranking Henrician historians, Starkey, Guy, E.W. Ives, Diarmaid MacCulloch, Susan Brigden, nor with Henry VIII’s biographers, J.J.Scarisbrick (here renamed ‘Scarisbrook’) and Bernard. Not to put too fine a point on it, this is tabloid history. It is also the kind of biography which Elton might have written if half out of his mind ...

Through Trychay’s Eyes

Patrick Collinson: Reformation and rebellion

25 April 2002
The Voices of Morebath: Reformation and Rebellion in an English Village 
by Eamon Duffy.
Yale, 232 pp., £16.95, August 2001, 0 300 09185 0
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... have been true of any part of England in the 1530s and 1540s. Within twenty years of the appearance of The English Reformation, a tidal wave of revisionism began to engulf it. First there was J.J.Scarisbrick’s The Reformation and the English People (1984), which declared, in its opening sentence, that ‘on the whole, Englishmen and women did not want the Reformation and most of them were slow to ...

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