Reformation to Revolution: Politics and Religion in Early Modern England

Reformation to Revolution: Politics and Religion in Early Modern England

Reformation to Revolution: Politics and Religion in Early Modern England

Reformation to Revolution: Politics and Religion in Early Modern England

Synopsis

Few periods of English history have been so subject to 'revisionism' as the Tudors and Stuarts. This volume offers a full introduction to the complex historiographical debates currently raging about politics and religion in early modern England. It* draws together thirteen articles culled from familiar and also less accessible sources* embraces revisionist and counter-revisionist viewpoints* combines controversial works on both politics and religion* covers Tudor as well as early Stuart England* includes helpful glossary, explanatory headnotes and suggestions for further reading.These carefully edited and introduced essays draw on the new evidence of newsletters and ballads and ritual, as well as the more traditional sources, to offer a new and broader understanding of this transformative era of English history.

Excerpt

Rewriting history, or revisionism, has always followed closely in the tow of history writing. In their efforts to re-evaluate the past, professional as well as amateur scholars have followed many approaches, most commonly as empiricists, uncovering new information to challenge earlier accounts. Historians have also revised previous versions by adopting new perspectives, usually fortified by new research, which overturn received views.

Even though rewriting is constantly taking place, historians’ attitudes towards using new interpretations have been anything but settled. For most, the validity of revisionism lies in providing a stronger, more convincing account that better captures the objective truth of the matter. Although such historians might agree that we never finally arrive at the ‘truth’, they believe it exists and over time may be better and better approximated. At the other extreme stand scholars who believe that each generation or even each cultural group or subgroup necessarily regards the past differently, each creating for itself a more usable history. Although these latter scholars do not reject the possibility of demonstrating empirically that some contentions are better than others, they focus upon generating new views based upon different life experiences. Different truths exist for different groups. Surely such an understanding, by emphasizing subjectivity, further encourages rewriting history. Between these two groups are those historians who wish to borrow from both sides. This third group, while accepting that every congeries of individuals sees matters differently, still wishes somewhat contradictorily to fashion a broader history that incorporates both of these particular visions. Revisionists who stress

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