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Unmatched Antiquary

Blair Worden, 21 February 1980

Sir Robert Cotton 1586-1631: History and Politics in Early Modern England 
by Kevin Sharpe.
Oxford, 293 pp., £12.50, November 1980, 9780198218777
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... social change, became to monarchs and parliaments alike the arbiter of controversy: Cotton, as Mr Sharpe shows, became to monarchs and parliaments alike the arbiter of controversial historical evidence. A distinguished 18th-century antiquary recalled without exaggeration that Cotton had been ‘consulted as an oracle by the privy councillors and greatest men ...

Draining the Whig bathwater

Conrad Russell, 10 June 1993

The Personal Rule of Charles I 
by Kevin Sharpe.
Yale, 983 pp., £40, November 1992, 0 300 05688 5
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... also in that it contains a prodigious amount of work. All the familiar sources are here, but Dr Sharpe also draws on many manuscript collections which are less familiar because they are newly available or in remote places. He gives us many valuable ‘unconsidered trifles’. I will not soon forget the man protesting against militia rates who believed ...

Paraphernalia

Diarmaid MacCulloch: Tudor Spin, 19 November 2009

Selling the Tudor Monarchy: Authority and Image in 16th-Century England 
by Kevin Sharpe.
Yale, 588 pp., £30, April 2009, 978 0 300 14098 9
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... and Malcolm Underwood in The King’s Mother (1992), might usefully have played a greater part in Kevin Sharpe’s admittedly already massive study of Tudor spin-doctoring. Sharpe’s subject is the considerable range of devices which the Tudor family employed as a distraction from their unconvincing genealogy: public ...

Tribute to Trevor-Roper

A.J.P. Taylor, 5 November 1981

History and Imagination: Essays in honour of H.R. Trevor-Roper 
edited by Hugh Lloyd-Jones, Valerie Pearl and Blair Worden.
Duckworth, 386 pp., £25, October 1981, 9780715615706
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... history – a fascinating piece by Valerie Pearl on ‘Social Policy in Early Modern London’. Kevin Sharpe on Archbishop Laud and the University of Oxford is much in Trevor-Roper’s spirit. I greatly enjoyed David S. Katz on the problem, much debated in 17th century England, of what language Adam spoke. After some false starts with Egyptian and ...

Pens and Heads

Blair Worden: Printing and reading, 24 August 2000

The Nature of the Book: Print and Knowledge in the Making 
by Adrian Johns.
Chicago, 707 pp., £14.50, May 2000, 0 226 40122 7
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Reading Revolutions: The Politics of Reading in Early Modern England 
by Kevin Sharpe.
Yale, 358 pp., £25, April 2000, 0 300 08152 9
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... particular attention as guides to, or even determinants of, the period’s intellectual systems. Kevin Sharpe’s book centres on ‘the richest archival source for the study of reading in early modern England’: the voluminous notes which a country gentleman, Sir William Drake, from Amersham in Buckinghamshire, took on his reading before and during ...

Intellectual Liberation

Blair Worden, 21 January 1988

Catholics, Anglicans and Puritans 
by Hugh Trevor-Roper.
Secker, 317 pp., £17.50, November 1987, 0 436 42512 2
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Archbishop William Laud 
by Charles Carlton.
Routledge, 272 pp., £25, December 1987, 0 7102 0463 9
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Clarendon and his Friends 
by Richard Ollard.
Hamish Hamilton, 367 pp., £15, September 1987, 0 241 12380 1
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Anti-Calvinists 
by Nicholas Tyacke.
Oxford, 305 pp., £30, February 1987, 0 19 822939 9
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Criticism and Compliment: The Politics of Literature in the England of Charles I 
by Kevin Sharpe.
Cambridge, 309 pp., £27.50, December 1987, 0 521 34239 2
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... evoked by the most luminous and the most penetrative intelligence at work on the British past. Kevin Sharpe’s Criticism and Compliment is dedicated to Trevor-Roper, but departs significantly from his view of royal policy in the 1630s, in which Sharpe finds no evidence of aggressive or absolutist intentions. An ...

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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... of ‘revisionism’. The revisionist historians of the Stuart period, led by Conrad Russell with Kevin Sharpe in support, have sought to persuade us that, contrary to what most English historians have led us to believe, the first two Stuart kings were on the whole a good thing, the Parliamentarians a bad thing. Perhaps even more important than ...

You are a milksop

Ferdinand Mount, 7 May 2020

Providence Lost: The Rise and Fall of Cromwell’s Protectorate 
by Paul Lay.
Head of Zeus, 352 pp., £30, January, 978 1 78185 256 9
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... four hundred years ahead of time.In​ his gorgeously contrarian The Personal Rule of Charles I, Kevin Sharpe argued that, royalist bias notwithstanding, Clarendon had a point when he claimed of the 1630s that ‘the like peace and universal tranquillity for ten years was never enjoyed by any nation.’ Young men preferred to spend their time in the ...

Maurice Thomson’s War

Perry Anderson, 4 November 1993

Merchants and Revolution: Commercial Change, Political Conflict and London’s Overseas Traders 1550-1653 
by Robert Brenner.
Cambridge, 734 pp., £40, March 1993, 0 521 37319 0
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TheNature of the English Revolution 
by John Morrill.
Longman, 466 pp., £32, June 1993, 0 582 08941 7
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... whose work has set the agenda for debate on the English Revolution since the Seventies. Kevin Sharpe’s Personal Rule of Charles I, Conrad Russell’s Fall of the British Monarchies and John Morrill’s Nature of the English Revolution all represent distinct standpoints, but certain common features continue to stand out. Rejecting both ...

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