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Five Feet Tall in His Socks

Patrick Collinson: Farewell to the Muggletonians, 5 June 2008

Last Witnesses: The Muggletonian History, 1652-1979 
by William Lamont.
Ashgate, 267 pp., £55, August 2006, 0 7546 5532 6
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... It is said that when representatives of the Society of Friends came to Buckingham Palace in 1945 to present a loyal address at the end of World War Two, the king asked who these people were. ‘Some call them Quakers, Your Majesty.’ ‘Oh,’ the king said. ‘I didn’t know that there were any of them left.’ According to the protocols of sociologists of religion, the Quakers are a sect, rather than a denomination, and perhaps after three centuries there shouldn’t have been any left ...

A Very Active Captain

Patrick Collinson: Henricentrism, 22 June 2006

The King’s Reformation: Henry VIII and the Remaking of the English Church 
by G.W. Bernard.
Yale, 736 pp., £29.95, November 2005, 0 300 10908 3
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Writing under Tyranny: English Literature and the Henrician Reformation 
by Greg Walker.
Oxford, 556 pp., £65, October 2005, 0 19 928333 8
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... Henry VIII is the most immediately recognisable of all English monarchs, present company excepted. He has been declared a national icon, and we are told that he vies with Adolf Hitler for the exclusive attention of any secondary school pupil unwise enough to pursue the study of history beyond the age of 14. On my way to lecture on him in Cambridge once, I left my bike for repair at Ben Hayward’s cycle shop, happening to mention that Henry was on the menu that morning ...

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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... After the elimination of Beria from the Great Soviet Encyclopedia it was necessary to insert a section devoted to the Bering Straits. In the dozen or so years since the death of Geoffrey Elton, the Tudor statesman Thomas Cromwell, Henry VIII’s prime minister and plenipotentiary, has been similarly airbrushed out of history. Elton, as anyone who did the Tudors for A Levels or read history at Cambridge between 1950 and 1980 knows, made Cromwell the centrepiece of his account of English constitutional history ...

Saints on Sundays, Devils All the Week After

Patrick Collinson: London Burnings, 19 September 2002

The Antichrist’s Lewd Hat: Protestants, Papists and Players in Post-Reformation England 
by Peter Lake and Michael Questier.
Yale, 731 pp., £30, February 2002, 0 300 08884 1
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... What was it that Samuel Johnson said about Laurence Sterne’s unusual novel? ‘Nothing odd will do long. Tristram Shandy did not last.’ I wonder whether the Doctor would have said the same had he lived long enough to reach the end of The Antichrist’s Lewd Hat, whose odd title is only explained on page 584, when we come across a quote from The Alchemist ...

The Cow Bells of Kitale

Patrick Collinson: The Selwyn Affair, 5 June 2003

... In a court in western Kenya, on 13 July 1934, Major Geoffrey Selwyn and his wife, Helen, were jointly charged with the murder of a ‘native’. Geoffrey Selwyn, my father-in-law, died before the trial began. Proceedings continued in his absence, and my children’s grandmother was found guilty of manslaughter and sent to prison. The trial attracted much attention at the time, and when Helen Selwyn was sentenced it made the front page of some British newspapers ...

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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... shoulders. There are virtues in the anti-Laudian interpretation, too, for a historian like Patrick Collinson, who approaches the 1630s not backward from the Civil War but forward from the Elizabethan and Jacobean period. Collinson observes the success of pre-Laudian Puritanism in working within the Church, sees ...

Protestant Country

George Bernard, 14 June 1990

Humanism, Reform and the Reformation: The Career of Bishop John Fisher 
edited by Brendan Bradshaw and Eamon Duffy.
Cambridge, 260 pp., £27.50, January 1989, 0 521 34034 9
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The Blind Devotion of the People: Popular Religion and the English Reformation 
by Robert Whiting.
Cambridge, 302 pp., £30, July 1989, 0 521 35606 7
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The Reformation of Cathedrals: Cathedrals in English Society, 1485-1603 
by Stanford Lehmberg.
Princeton, 319 pp., £37.30, March 1989, 0 691 05539 4
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Bonfires and Bells: National Memory and the Protestant Calendar in Elizabethan and Stuart England 
by David Cressy.
Weidenfeld, 271 pp., £25, October 1989, 0 297 79343 8
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The Birthpangs of Protestant England: Religious and Cultural Change in the 16th and 17th Centuries 
by Patrick Collinson.
Macmillan, 188 pp., £29.50, February 1989, 0 333 43971 6
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Life’s Preservative against Self-Killing 
by John Sym, edited by Michael MacDonald.
Routledge, 342 pp., £29.95, February 1989, 0 415 00639 2
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Perfection Proclaimed: Language and Literature in English Radical Religion 1640-1660 
by Nigel Smith.
Oxford, 396 pp., £40, February 1989, 0 19 812879 7
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... into anthropological jargon, and the broader significance of bonfires and bells remains imprecise. Patrick Collinson is also concerned with the impact of Protestantism. Not long ago, the dominant view was that in the later 16th century England became a Protestant country, but in recent years this has been vigorously challenged. ...

Only Sleeping

Anne Barton: Variations on Elizabeth I, 10 July 2003

England’s Elizabeth: An Afterlife in Fame and Fantasy 
by Michael Dobson and Nicola J. Watson.
Oxford, 348 pp., £19.99, November 2002, 0 19 818377 1
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... beginning with John Foxe and William Camden in her own time, and extending across the centuries to Patrick Collinson and David Starkey in our own, have examined Elizabeth’s reign from a variety of angles, analysing its various subtle strategies and compromises, attempting to evaluate what it achieved. Dobson and Watson, by contrast, are concerned less ...

Application for Funding

John Bossy, 23 April 1992

Francis Bacon, the State, and the Reform of Natural Philosophy 
by Julian Martin.
Cambridge, 236 pp., £35, December 1991, 0 521 38249 1
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... in the Church. So far as I can see, this is what historians like Christopher Hill and Patrick Collinson feel he ought to have said, rather than what he actually did say: indeed, like Hooker, he expressly exonerated the Puritans from preaching voluntaryism. And even if he had said it, Martin’s conclusion would still be unjustified: ‘Bacon ...

Rescuing the bishops

Blair Worden, 21 April 1983

The Religion of Protestants: The Church in English Society 1559-1625 
by Patrick Collinson.
Oxford, 297 pp., £17.50, January 1983, 0 19 822685 3
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Reactions to the English Civil War 1642-1649 
by John Morrill.
Macmillan, 257 pp., £14, November 1982, 0 333 27565 9
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The World of the Muggletonians 
by Christopher Hill, Barry Reay and William Lamont.
Temple Smith, 195 pp., £12.50, February 1983, 0 85117 226 1
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The Life of John Milton 
by A.N. Wilson.
Oxford, 278 pp., £9.95, January 1983, 0 19 211776 9
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Complete Prose Works of John Milton. Vol. 8: 1666-1682 
edited by Maurice Kelley.
Yale, 625 pp., £55, January 1983, 0 300 02561 0
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The Poet’s Time: Politics and Religion in the Works of Andrew Marvell 
by Warren Chernaik.
Cambridge, 249 pp., £19.50, February 1983, 9780521247733
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... The publication of Patrick Collinson’s The Religion of Protestants is a stirring event in the rediscovery of Early Modern England. Unmistakably the work of a historian who has reflected on his subject for the better part of a working lifetime, the book consists of six wide-ranging essays which were originally delivered as the Ford Lectures when Professor Collinson visited Oxford in 1979, and which have now been revised, expanded and tightened – although the speculative tone of the lecture-hall has been appropriately retained ...

Exact Walking

Christopher Hill, 19 June 1980

Calvin and English Calvinism to 1649 
by R.T. Kendall.
Oxford, 252 pp., £12.50, February 1980, 0 19 826716 9
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... predestinarians’ and ‘credal predestinarians’) are those whom we used to call Calvinists. Patrick Collinson in his admirable Archbishop Grindal† recently reminded us that Beza was ‘a Calvinist in a sense that Calvin himself never was’. We still usefully employ the word ‘Marxist’, even though Marx himself denied being one. But the ...

Short Cuts

Tom Crewe: Chicanery and Fantasy, 6 June 2019

... from the US and twice from Canada.) He continued to get married. He constructed what the historian Patrick Collinson admired as a ‘magnificent library’ out of books he hadn’t paid for. He regularly plagiarised. He wrote a bad book (one academic disbelieved the rumour that it had been written by Peters’s fourth wife because ‘it would, I think, be ...

Past v. Present

Phil Withington: Blair Worden’s Civil War, 10 May 2012

God’s Instruments: Political Conduct in the England of Oliver Cromwell 
by Blair Worden.
Oxford, 421 pp., £35, March 2012, 978 0 19 957049 2
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... that by the 1990s a number of historians (myself included) had embraced an oxymoron coined by Patrick Collinson to describe the England which witnessed the revolution: a ‘monarchical republic’. While the English were most certainly monarchical subjects, in terms of their political liberties, roles and expectations, they also perceived themselves ...

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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... but also with a sense that these alien terms were threatening the Gaelic which embedded them. Patrick Collinson has complained (LRB, 3 April) about ‘the lack of relations’ between historians and literary critics working on Elizabethan England. Just as Early Modern historians of the ‘British and Irish problem’ need to think more intently about ...

Calvinisms

Blair Worden, 23 January 1986

International Calvinism 1541-1715 
edited by Menna Prestwich.
Oxford, 403 pp., £35, October 1985, 0 19 821933 4
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Wallington’s World: A Puritan Artisan in 17th-Century London 
by Paul Seaver.
Methuen, 258 pp., £28, September 1985, 0 416 40530 4
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... for it. Alastair Duke on the Netherlands, Henry Cohn on Germany, Robert Evans on Eastern Europe, Patrick Collinson on England are all as alive to the limits as to the extent of Calvin’s influence on churches which drew eclectically from a range of Protestant and Humanist thought both native and foreign, and which were more likely to think of ...

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