Thursday, August 16, 2012

Of the Making of Books about the English Reformation

There seems to be no end: here is another new title about the English Reformation in the 16th century, by Derek Wilson: The English Reformation: Religion, Politics and Fear: How England was Transformed by the Tudors, from Running Press. It's part of their BHO series--A "Brief History Of". It's 288 pages and seems to have a different view of the Reformation:

Religion, politics and fear: how England was transformed by the Tudors. The English Reformation was a unique turning point in English history. Derek Wilson retells the story of how the Tudor monarchs transformed English religion and why it still matters today. Recent scholarly research has undermined the traditional view of the Reformation as an event that occurred solely amongst the elite. Wilson now shows that, although the transformation was political and had a huge impact on English identity, on England's relationships with its European neighbours and on the foundations of its empire, it was essentially a revolution from the ground up. By 1600, in just eighty years, England had become a radically different nation in which family, work and politics, as well as religion, were dramatically altered.

Looks like Wilson is going back to A.G. Dickens and G.R. Elton's views. I'll be on the look-out for reviews of this BHO. In the meantime, here is a BE (brief essay) on the state of the history of the history of the English Reformation or English Reformations, by Peter Marshall, author of Religious Identities in Henry VIII's England, Reformation England 1480-1642, Beliefs and the Dead in Reformation England, and The Reformation: A Very Short Introduction (only 168 pages!).

It's interesting to note that Peter Milward, SJ (the historian who has written a couple of the better books on Shakespeare and Catholicism) had a book published with the same illustration on the cover: The English Reformation: From Tragic Reality to Dramatic Representation which was published by Family Publications, based near Oxford, which sadly went out of business a couple of years ago.

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