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Puritan Neuroses

Blair Worden, 19 April 1984

The Puritan Gentry: The Great Puritan Families of Early Stuart England 
by J.T. Cliffe.
Routledge, 313 pp., £18.95, March 1984, 0 7102 0007 2
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The Puritan Moment: The Coming of Revolution in an English County 
by William Hunt.
Harvard, 365 pp., £30.60, April 1983, 0 674 73903 5
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Godly People: Essays on English Protestantism and Puritanism 
by Patrick Collinson.
Hambledon, 604 pp., £24, July 1982, 9780907628156
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Laud’s Laboratory: The Diocese of Bath and Wells in the Early 17th Century 
by Margaret Steig.
Associated University Presses, 416 pp., £30, September 1983, 0 8387 5019 2
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The Puritan Conversion Narrative: The Beginnings of American Expression 
by Patricia Caldwell.
Cambridge, 210 pp., £17.50, December 1983, 0 521 25460 4
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Protestant Reformers in Elizabethan Oxford 
by C.M. Dent.
Oxford, 262 pp., £17.50, June 1983, 0 19 826723 1
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... platitude, a keenly felt idea from a dutiful one. That literary approach is fruitfully adopted in Patricia Caldwell’s exquisitely written book The Puritan Conversion Narrative. The ‘conversion narrative’ was the statement of spiritual experience required of candidates for membership of Puritan churches, mainly in New England but sometimes in ...

New Women

Patricia Beer, 17 July 1980

The Odd Women 
by George Gissing.
Virago, 336 pp., £2.50, May 1980, 0 86068 140 8
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The Beth Book 
by Sarah Grand.
Virago, 527 pp., £3.50, January 1980, 0 86068 088 6
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... conviction and limited imagination, who depicts in this book a heroine, Elizabeth Maclure, née Caldwell, of whom the same might be said. It is indeed an autobiographical novel. Grand makes no attempt to hide the partisanship she feels for her own image of herself, and this blatancy is bound to alienate the sympathy of many readers, particularly when it ...

Malfunctioning Sex Robot

Patricia Lockwood: Updike Redux, 10 October 2019

Novels, 1959-65: ‘The Poorhouse Fair’; ‘Rabbit, Run’; ‘The Centaur’; ‘Of the Farm’ 
by John Updike.
Library of America, 850 pp., £36, November 2018, 978 1 59853 581 5
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... the gracious centaur Chiron and the gloomy, hilarious, hypochondriacal high-school teacher George Caldwell, half-myth and half-man like any father. His son, Peter, aged 15, is both convinced of Caldwell’s immortality and fears his death. Because Peter wishes to be an artist, and is experiencing the same awakening Updike ...

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