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In the Know

Simon Schaffer

10 November 1994
Science and the Secrets of Nature: Books of Secrets in Medieval and Early Modern Culture 
by William Eamon.
Princeton, 490 pp., £38.50, July 1994, 0 691 03402 8
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The Business of Alchemy: Science and Culture in the Holy Roman Empire 
by Pamela Smith.
Princeton, 308 pp., £30, July 1994, 0 691 05691 9
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... the nose remained firmly in place, the Spaniard ‘healthy and free, and all Naples marvelled at it’, as well they might. Such stories might seem far away from modern science, but according to WilliamEamon they hold vital clues to the course and meaning of the Scientific Revolution. The quick-witted medical improviser was Leonardo Fioravanti, an eminent ‘professor of secrets’, one of a number ...

All Curls and Pearls

Lorraine Daston: Why are we so curious?

23 June 2005
The Uses of Curiosity in Early Modern France and Germany 
by Neil Kenny.
Oxford, 484 pp., £68, July 2004, 0 19 927136 4
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... the decibel level of their complaints suggests that by the late 17th century they were on the defensive. Historians, most notably Hans Blumenberg, Carlo Ginzburg, Jean Céard, Krzysztof Pomian and WilliamEamon, have noted the remarkable rise of curiosity and its transvaluation from vice to virtue. They have argued, with varying emphases, that this episode is key to understanding the modernisation of ...

The Crowe is White

Hilary Mantel: Bloody Mary

24 September 2009
Fires of Faith: Catholic England under Mary Tudor 
by Eamon​ Duffy.
Yale, 249 pp., £19.99, June 2009, 978 0 300 15216 6
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... In the reign of Edward VI, an Exeter clergyman named William Herne, an enthusiast for the gospel, told one of the city’s aldermen that he would rather be torn apart by wild horses than ever again say the Catholic Mass. In December 1553, Queen Mary newly ...
27 May 1993
The Stripping of the Altars: Traditional Religion in England, c.1400-c.1580 
by Eamon​ Duffy.
Yale, 704 pp., £29.95, November 1992, 0 300 05342 8
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... threatened the end of mediation, propitiation and spiritual solace: the loss of community between the dead and the living. It is this lost physical and mental world, as well as this desolation, which Eamon Duffy discovers and, wishing it had been otherwise, movingly describes. In the first part of the book, Duffy wants to show the vitality and appeal of late medieval Catholicism; and to prove that it ...
23 February 1995
William​ Tyndale: A Biography 
by David Daniell.
Yale, 429 pp., £19.95, September 1994, 0 300 06132 3
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The Renaissance Bible: Scholarship, Sacrifice and Subjectivity 
by Debora Kuller Shuger.
California, 297 pp., £32, December 1994, 0 520 08480 2
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... There must be an ecumenical spirit at work at Yale University Press for, having just given us Eamon Duffy’s masterly and devoted evocation of English Christianity before the Reformation, The Stripping of the Altars, they have now made things even with David Daniell’s William Tyndale. Tyndale ...

Hew their bones in sunder

Eamon​ Duffy: Lancelot Andrewes

3 August 2006
Lancelot Andrewes: Selected Sermons and Lectures 
edited by Peter McCullough.
Oxford, 491 pp., £90, November 2005, 0 19 818774 2
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... in literature, royalist in politics and Anglo-Catholic in religion’. For Eliot, as for many Anglo-Catholics, Andrewes was an iconic ancestor figure. Along with Richard Hooker, George Herbert and William Laud, this ‘right reverend Father in God’ seemed to embody Catholic continuity and spiritual moderation. The English Church, these men believed, had maintained amid all the upheavals of the ...

In Good Estate

Eamon​ Duffy

2 January 1997
Westminster Abbey and the Plantagenets: Kingship and the Representation of Power 1200-1400 
by Paul Binski.
Yale, 241 pp., £45, May 1995, 0 300 05980 9
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... piously unconsummated marriage, combined to establish his sanctity. His grave in the Abbey became a focus of pilgrimage. Anglo-Saxons venerated their last Saxon king, while the successors of William the Conqueror saw in the promotion of Edward’s cult within the coronation church a valuable mark of Norman legitimacy. On the Bayeux Tapestry the funeral procession of the holy king from the palace ...

Swag

Terry Eagleton

6 January 1994
Safe in the Kitchen 
by Aisling Foster.
Hamish Hamilton, 347 pp., £14.99, November 1993, 0 241 13426 9
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... accomplished first novel must also reckon the political cost. Rita Fitzgerald, scion of a Castle Catholic Dublin family in the years of the Irish war of independence, marries Frank O’Fiaich, Eamon de Valera’s right-hand man, and becomes embroiled in a plot to finance the Irish revolution with the Romanov crown jewels. (Like many a fabular event in Irish history, this one is conceivably true ...

Rolling Back the Reformation

Eamon​ Duffy: Bloody Mary’s Church

7 February 2008
... shouts at one from the sources, was the concerted campaign of preaching which the regime mounted to refute Protestant error. In London, star preachers like John Feckenham, Richard Smith, Henry Cole, William Peryn, Thomas Watson and William Chedsey defended Catholic doctrine from many pulpits, but the focus of this campaign was London’s major preaching venue, Paul’s Cross. As Pole told Bartolome ...

How did we decide what Christ looked like?

Frank Kermode: How Jesus Got His Face

27 April 2000
The Image of Christ 
edited by Gabriele Finaldi.
National Gallery, 224 pp., £14.95, February 2000, 1 85709 292 9
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... wall paintings from the catacombs along with much later paintings, not only Zurburán but Holman Hunt. Roman coins are placed in the same tradition, the same gallery, as Philip Webb’s beautiful William Morris-inspired Cross of 1897. Other sections on ‘The Dual Nature’ and ‘The True Likeness’ offer similar comparisons between works far apart in time. Yet one cannot help seeing the show ...

And Cabbages Too

Patrick Collinson: The Tudors

22 March 2001
New Worlds, Lost Worlds: The Rule of the Tudors 1485-1603 
by Susan Brigden.
Allen Lane, 434 pp., £20, September 2000, 0 7139 9067 8
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... was not the same thing, or place, in all those centuries, and for much of the time there was no such historical entity: only a name and a geographical notion. Towards the end of the 16th century, William Camden published his Britannia, the intention of which was to inform learned Continental readers that the modern English nation state, which was increasingly dominant in the British Isles, was the ...

Something about Mary

Diarmaid MacCulloch: The First Queen of England

18 October 2007
Mary Tudor: The Tragical History of the First Queen of England 
by David Loades.
National Archives, 240 pp., £19.99, September 2006, 1 903365 98 8
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... wanted to emphasise that they had their own special access to Mary’s inner circle. But even if this is right, it cannot disguise real problems in Mary’s government. Bishop Stephen Gardiner and William Lord Paget hated each other, all the more because Paget had been Gardiner’s favourite student at Cambridge, and then for years on end during Henry’s reign Gardiner had not noticed that Paget had ...

Man Is Wolf to Man

Malcolm Gaskill: C.J. Sansom

13 January 2020
Tombland 
by C.J. Sansom.
Pan Macmillan, 866 pp., £8.99, September 2019, 978 1 4472 8451 2
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... his marital designs on the 15-year-old Lady Elizabeth, the future (Protestant) queen. She is disliked by the Lord Protector, who favours her elder half-sister, Lady Mary, the future (Catholic) queen. William Cecil, a rising royal secretary, is protective towards Elizabeth, mindful of the role history may have in store for her. Shardlake is retained as one of her lawyers. Now 47, he is lonely, world-weary ...

Things Keep Happening

Geoffrey Hawthorn: Histories of Histories

20 November 2008
A History of Histories: Epics, Chronicles, Romances and Inquiries from Herodotus and Thucydides to the 20th Century 
by John Burrow.
Allen Lane, 553 pp., £25, December 2007, 978 0 7139 9337 0
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What Was History? The Art of History in Early Modern Europe 
by Anthony Grafton.
Cambridge, 319 pp., £13.99, March 2007, 978 0 521 69714 9
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The Theft of History 
by Jack Goody.
Cambridge, 342 pp., £14.99, January 2007, 978 0 521 69105 5
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Thucydides and the Philosophical Origins of History 
by Darien Shanske.
Cambridge, 268 pp., £54, January 2007, 978 0 521 86411 4
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... about Clarendon’s insistence on the ‘wilfulness of particular men’ in his History of the Rebellion and Civil Wars in England in the 1640s; the more general ‘philosophic’ histories of Hume, William Robertson and Gibbon, each wary of ‘enthusiasm’ and ‘superstition’; Macaulay on the ‘glorious revolution’ in Britain in 1688; and, in vastly different idioms, Carlyle, Michelet and Taine ...

Saint Shakespeare

Barbara Everett

19 August 2010
... in 1559, the Act of Uniformity was passed (though only barely, by three votes). The previous half-century was not strong in uniformity. Major historical studies of the Reformation period, like Eamon Duffy’s The Stripping of the Altars and Diarmaid MacCulloch’s Reformation: Europe’s House Divided 1490-1700, may be written from different ideological positions, yet will imply a similar ...

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