The point of it all
- The Duel in European History: Honour and the Reign of Aristocracy by V.G. Kiernan
Oxford, 360 pp, £25.00, March 1988, ISBN 0 19 822566 0
- History, Classes and Nation-States: Selected Writings of Victor Kiernan edited by Harvey Kaye
Blackwell, 284 pp, £27.50, June 1988, ISBN 0 7456 0424 2
In 1759 the future Viscount Townshend challenged the Earl of Leicester to a duel. But Leicester refused to fight. He was, he claimed, too old and too ill; he could not hit a barn door with a pistol, and had not handled a sword for twenty years. What does this incident tell us about patrician values? And who was more conscious of his rank: the brash challenger or the man confident enough to ignore him?
The full text of this book review is only available to subscribers of the London Review of Books.