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Howell A. Lloyd, Jean Bodin, ‘This Pre-Eminent Man of France’: An Intellectual Biography (Oxford University Press, 2017)

Howell A. Lloyd, Jean Bodin, ‘This Pre-Eminent Man of France’: An Intellectual Biography (Oxford University Press, 2017). ISBN 9780198800149, 328 pp., £75.00.

Reviewed by Robert F. W. Smith

[1] Hitherto, Jean Bodin was one amongst many of the most significant figures of the Northern Renaissance who lacked a detailed, full-length biographical study in the English language. For that reason alone, any biography of this kind, aiming at a comprehensive description and analysis of Bodin’s life and work, was destined to become the standard work on him for many years to come. It is fortunate that Howell Lloyd’s careful and methodical study is the one which has appeared to supply the vacancy. It does so admirably.

[2] The book is described as an ‘intellectual biography’, and it is certainly that. Inevitably, given the sparse documentation of Bodin’s life, there is little material about his private life or personality, except insofar as these emerge from consideration of his writings and the progress of his career. There is only as much detail about the intellectual context and reception of his work as is strictly necessary. This makes his importance in the grand scheme of things rather hard to gauge from this volume alone. Professor Lloyd recently edited a collection of essays on these topics, The Reception of Bodin (2013), and the biographical study would undoubtedly benefit from being read alongside that work.

[3] The erudition and labour necessary merely to synthesise the existing scholarship on Bodin should not be underestimated, for although this is the first modern English biography, obviously a great many scholars with a diverse range of specialisms have published books and essays about him (many of them in French). Lloyd is not afraid to correct these scholars where necessary, for example when arguing that Bodin’s supposed Hebraism was partly another aspect of his Hellenistic and Neoplatonic interests, particularly insofar as Philo Judaeus is concerned, which is a substantial adjustment to the view of P. L. Rose, one of the most significant writers on Bodin, who saw him as a Judaizer.

[4] Best known to posterity as a jurist and theoretician of politics, in this study Bodin emerges as almost the archetype of a Renaissance man. He believed his own time to be the most brilliant and commendable era of world history thus far, due to its intellectual accomplishments and wide-ranging commerce. He had the omnivorous interests and intellectual optimism characteristic of the type, as shown by his attempts to discover the secret destinies of republics by means of occult mathematics and a kind of geographical determinism. He did not, however, go as far as some (e.g. Ficino, whom he called “the most sagacious of the Academics”), in that he did not admit any distinction between ‘white magic’ and the diabolical arts, regarding all magic as impious.

[5] By the standards of the time, Bodin seems to have been a consistent advocate of, if not exactly toleration, then of moderation in religious policy. A former Carmelite, he was widely regarded by orthodox Catholics as a heretic; his most successful works, the République and the Démonomanie, were placed on the Index Librorum Prohibitorum – the latter for its over-reliance on Jewish sources. He was in the service of the Duke of Anjou, who forged an alliance with Dutch rebels against Philip II of Spain. Like any respectable thinker, he maintained that it was intolerable to have multiple religions competing in one polity, or indeed to change the religion of the state, once established; but in his writings he counselled princes to prefer non-violent methods of enforcing conformity, and, at the Estates-General of Blois, as deputy for Vermandois, he played a key role in persuading the Third Estate to adjust a resolution in favour of restoring Roman Catholicism throughout France to say that it should be done “without war”.

[6] Although his confessional moderation contrasts favourably with some leading scholars of the time, such as Joseph Scaliger, Bodin’s toleration did not extend to witchcraft. Instead, in the Démonomanie he threw his intellectual weight behind the witch-panic sweeping Europe, recommending severe and prejudicial treatment of suspects, including harsher forms of torture, such as were practised in Turkey. He apparently regarded the increasing prevalence of witches, sorcerers, werewolves and other diabolists as an unparalleled danger to the community, justifying extreme responses above and beyond the level of ordinary crime. His gleeful sadism and willing credulity make for an interesting contrast not only with sceptical contemporaries such as Montaigne, but with other erudite believers in witchery such as Martin Delrio, who, as Jan Machielsen described in his recent biography, at least insisted that normal legal procedures should be followed.

[7] Commendably, Lloyd has no interest in boosting Bodin’s reputation, or in exaggerating his subject’s importance. His preference is always for the judicious and balanced conclusion. For example: Bodin’s reputation as a classical scholar was impugned by the vituperative Scaliger, who claimed he had stolen emendations wholesale from Adrianus Turnebus for his edition of Oppian’s Cynegetica. Lloyd rightly points out that, if Bodin indeed ‘borrowed’ in this way, “he was in excellent company” (p. 27) – but goes on to convincingly defend Bodin from the charge. Later, however, where the major works are concerned, the man Lloyd describes is one of “disingenuous” methods (p. 183), whose citations and use of sources could be dubious, even mendacious. This was not uncommon amongst scholars at all levels during this hyper-partisan period of national and religious politics, as several recent works on the Republic of Letters have shown.

[8] As for the view that Bodin’s scholarly programme influenced the debates at the Estates-General in which he participated, as some French historians have held, Lloyd shows that “the grounds are scant for supposing the République to have set an agenda for the deputies at Blois” in 1576, the year that work appeared (p. 162). The overall picture of Bodin at this, the apparent height of his career, is of “not so much a moulder as a mirror of contemporary opinion” (p. 169). This conclusion, reached with little fanfare, may prove to be the book’s most important finding. Not only is it an antidote to the ever-present temptation to put the great personalities of this glittering era of scholarship on pedestals, it represents a very different perspective on Renaissance intellectual culture from the long-standing individualistic tradition of Renaissance historiography, which has tended to revolve around a few men whose brilliance and productivity made them celebrated. One of the effects of this book will surely be to dispel the glamorous aura that clings around Bodin’s famous name. As Anthony Grafton did for Scaliger, Professor Lloyd has helped to demystify the enigmatic Bodin and place his work in its proper perspective. In sum, this book – along with Lloyd’s wider programme of research projects on Bodin – makes important contributions to scholarship, and should be gratefully received.

University of Southampton, UK, August 2018

Ian Birch, To follow the lambe wheresoever he goeth: The ecclesial polity of the English Calvinistic Baptists, 1640-1660 (Pickwick Publications, 2017); Rachel Adcock,Baptist women’s writings in revolutionary culture, 1640-1680 (Ashgate, 2015)

Ian Birch, To follow the lambe wheresoever he goeth: The ecclesial polity of the English Calvinistic Baptists, 1640-1660 (Eugene, OR: Pickwick Publications, 2017), ISBN 9781498209014, xxii+228 pp., £18.50.

Rachel Adcock, Baptist women’s writings in revolutionary culture, 1640-1680 (Farnham: Ashgate, 2015), ISBN 9781472457066, xv+218 pp., £70.00.

Reviewed by Crawford Gribben

[1] The radical religious movements of the mid-seventeenth century British and Irish civil wars have long attracted attention, initially from within the religious communities that include these movements within their spiritual ancestry, and increasingly from theologians, historians and literary scholars whose approaches to these movements have proposed a new agenda for the study of the distinctive religious cultures of the later and Northern Renaissance. Two recent monographs illustrate the kinds of work that this field is attracting, and the ways in which the approaches adopted in this work are becoming sensitive to new research questions and the intellectual possibilities they suggest.

[2] Based upon his St Andrews PhD, Ian Birch’s account of the ecclesial polity of English Calvinistic Baptists in the revolutionary decades of the mid-seventeenth century offers a detailed reading of church books from the 1650 and a patient reconstruction of the ecclesiastical mechanisms they contain. Birch’s book focuses on the period before that examined in James Renihan’s study, Edification and beauty: The practical ecclesiology of the English Particular Baptists, 1675-1705 (2008), and so considers the decades in which the new religious movement was settling upon its distinctive practice of baptism and working out what might be the implications of that practice for other areas of church life and for the construction of community identity. Birch’s work develops a logical and coherent description of the emergence of the Particular Baptist community, the ecclesiology it nurtured, its aspiration for and practice of church discipline, its theology of ministry, and its habit of establishing ecclesiastical associations, by which individual congregations bonded in voluntary networks through which to pursue closer unity of faith and practice and a more thorough reformation of the church. Birch’s approach is to offer a theologically informed historical reconstruction of early Baptist practice, and some of the questions he raises reflect his role as principal of the Scottish Baptist College: the reasons for Birch’s emphasis on the Christological structures of early Baptist faith and practice won’t be self-evident to readers who will nevertheless benefit a great deal from the insights that he offers into the cultures in which the new movement emerged and the kinds of challenges that were presented to those who sought to define and then enforce its orthodoxy (while theologically attuned readers will realise that his use of “Christology” is idiosyncratic, as Birch explains in p. 65 n 3). One of Birch’s key arguments is that the faith and practice of the Particular Baptist movement varied by region. Recognising the centrality of the London churches, he notes variety in theology in the west country and in habits of dress and political engagement in Ireland. This variety sustained the movement’s proclivity for communal introspection, the very high expectations for godly behaviour that were monitored among members of Particular Baptist churches but that nevertheless could not prevent examples of moral attrition that ranged from absence from worship to such prohibited activities as fellowship with Quakers, drunkenness, homosexuality and attempted suicide. But with all this variation, Birch observes, the Particular Baptist churches negated the ministry of women, which was “not regarded in priestly terms, and their role in the congregation was limited to assisting deacons. From a modern perspective this policy appears inconsistent at best, a capricious outworking of the doctrine of the universal priesthood” (p. 143).

[3] This view, widely held among historians of the Baptist denomination, is challenged in Rachel Adcock’s study of Baptist women’s writings in revolutionary culture. Weighted in the same period, while also considering post-Restoration contexts, Adcock’s account documents the quite extraordinary range of opportunities that were presented to women in new religious movements like that of the Particular Baptists. Building on the work of a generation of feminist readings of the mid-seventeenth century crisis, Adcock describes how Baptist women integrated with revolutionary culture, as that culture developed, evolved and coped with the failure of the revolution. Adcock’s book illustrates the situations of women within revolutionary culture, the representations of religiously radical women in cheap print, how women participated vocally in Particular Baptist congregations, and how they contributed to and responded to the prophetic narratives of the Fifth Monarchists. This is a long and detailed work, an important and sophisticated intervention in the literary study of the English revolution that qualifies assumptions about women and about Baptists and that will certainly suggest a new research agenda in this field. Adcock’s book begins by noting how regularly the antagonists of the Particular Baptists dismissed the movement as promoting the irregular participation of women. Her account notes instances in which women used print to construct a narrative of conversion, to debate doctrine, to defend themselves against church leaders, and to prophesy. Like Birch, Adcock notes regional variety within the Particular Baptist movement, and suggests, for example, that the large number of women members of the church in Bristol could be explained by their being the wives or widows of sailors. Adcock describes processes by which women participated in the founding of Particular Baptist churches, and their frustrations at being shut out of leadership positions as these congregations formalised their structures, as well as these church’s permission for women to become members without their husbands following suit, and the difficulties faced by church leaders in promoting traditional models of family structure as a consequence of that move. Not for nothing does Adcock conclude that Particular Baptist congregations could be both “constraining and liberating” for women. Adcock notes in passing the circulation of Milton’s work among Baptists, observing that only a very small number of women followed his suggestion that the godly could divorce their spiritually incompatible spouses (p. 5; though this phenomenon is also observed by Birch, p. 189, n. 158). More frequently, Particular Baptist women were given roles as deaconesses, or in an order of widows that was developed from readings of the New Testament epistles, and those who turned to prophecy sometimes found an audience, and even patronage, outside the movement with which they were identified. Adcock’s reading of work by Anna Trapnel and other Particular Baptist authors renders their publications more complex than we might have recognised. Adcock’s work is ambitious and enterprising, a sophisticated contribution to a growing and increasingly complex field.

[4] These publications illustrate in different ways the growing quality of writing across disciplines on the subject of the mid-century crisis and its religious implications. Birch’s theological perspective identifies telling tensions and missed opportunities in early Baptist ecclesial writings, and Adcock’s concern to discover the situation of women within these communities will provide a foundation for future work in the rhetorical and discursive fields that make distinctive the Northern Renaissance.

Queen’s University Belfast, March 2018

Jessica Winston, Lawyers at play: Literature, Law, and Politics at the Early Modern Inns of Court, 1558–1581 (Oxford University Press, 2016)

Jessica Winston, Lawyers at play: Literature, Law, and Politics at the Early Modern Inns of Court, 1558–1581 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016). ISBN 9780198769422, 286 pp., £ 60.00.

Reviewed by Emily Buffey

[1] Lawyers at Play: Literature, Law, and Politics at the Early Modern Inns of Court, 1558–1581 brings together over a decade’s worth of articles, book chapters and new research in illustrating both how and why the Inns of Court grew into one of England’s most vibrant and major literary communities during the middle part of the sixteenth century. Described in a later era as the ‘Seminaries and Nurseries wherein the Gentrie of the Kingdome… are bredd and trained upp’ (see Prest, 1972: 4), the Inns of Court have attracted considerable attention in recent years for their contribution to present-day understanding of the history and development of English politics and the law. But it is in no small part due to Jessica Winston’s continuing work in this field that scholarship is now able to more fully appreciate the Inns of Court’s uniqueness of style, attitudes and beliefs, and the vital roles they played in the development of English literary and political culture under Elizabeth I.

[2] The book’s argument is steered by two underlying questions: why the Inns of Court? And why the 1560s? Part I of Lawyers at Play seeks to answer those questions by considering the Inns’ ‘geography, their communal life, and their members’ sense of a corporate identity [which] allowed the literary-cum-political and -legal engagements of members… to develop with special force at particular times’ (p. 19). Winston first looks to the Habermassian model of the public sphere, identifying the Inns of Court as a ‘semiautonomous political space’; its members ‘a class by themselves’ (p. 48) and with each individual Inn possessing a ‘topography and temperature of [its] own’ (p. 42), which Winston refers to throughout as its habitus. Though the young men who entered the Inns are sometimes believed to have been a ‘relatively homogeneous’ (p. 34) (i.e. ‘nonaristocratic, university-educated, Protestant’) group (p. 7), Winston stresses that there were clear differences in their upbringing, class, politics and religion, not to mention the internal tensions and rivalries that existed between the Inns themselves. While comparatively few trainees were ever called to the bar, inns-of-court men all followed a ‘recognizably humanist programme’ of education (p. 54) as part of their wider training. In addition to mock-trials and mootings, these men also continued the pedagogical exercises first practiced at grammar school as a form of ‘extracurricular activity’, which allowed them to ‘escape from the rigours of legal study’ through ‘a kind of play fostered by the setting and institutional culture as well as the numerous inexorable intellectual forces that produced the Renaissance’ (p. 3). Such activities allowed them to also cultivate what Winston identifies as a ‘literature of magistracy’ that functioned both in line with, and in opposition to, the dominant values of the government and the court. Inns-of-court writers thus played with a range of forms and genres, from lyric poetry to de casibus tragedy, which helped to promote further their literary, discursive and institutional identities and demonstrated their suitability for a range of political, administrative and legal roles.

[3] Part II (‘The Translation of Learning’) is concerned primarily with lyric poetry and translation, with texts ranging from the answer-poetry of Barnabe Googe and George Turberville, to the translation of classical and Continental historical and philosophical treatises by some rather less-known and less-studied individuals, including John Dolman, translator of the Tusculan Disputations (1561), and Godfred Gilby (fl. 1561), translator of Cicero’s Ad Quintum. By looking closely at a range of translation exercises practiced within the legal setting of the Inns of Court, these chapters also point to other kinds of ‘transformation’ enabled by literary exercise and exchange, whether personal, social, or professional in kind. Part III (‘Literary-Political Precedents’) is concerned more directly with the relationships between literature, politics and the law. Taking the sixteenth-century Mirror for Magistrates (spanning 1559-1610) as its focus, Winston addresses the collaborative nature of literary composition and the role of the Inns in giving expression to what the Mirror could merely imagine: ‘a real space where men could pursue literary and intellectual activities that they were ideal office holders’ in government and in court (p. 148). Running parallel to the Mirror’s publication, Senecan drama also achieved an almost unparalleled degree of popularity during this time, as testified by much of Winston’s earlier work, with an array of translations, adaptations and collaborations emerging from the Inns of Court and its wider surrounds. Although these works seem intended to offer immediate counsel to those in power, Winston here views them as part of a much broader trend: ‘the domestication of tragedy as a genre for cultivating political consciousness’ (p. 170). The texts that finally shaped this consciousness are discussed in Section IV: ‘To fashion an Institution’, which focuses on the Inns of Court dramas of the middle part of the century; namely, Gorboduc (1561), Jocasta and Gismond of Salerne (both 1566) Here, Winston shows how the plays encouraged inns-of-court men to participate in major political debates, particularly around marriage and succession, but that the Inns’ increasing notoriety for voicing partisan views necessitated the eventual ‘withdrawal from sustained political engagement’ (p.211) for fear of censure.

[4] Though the focus of Winston’s book is limited, temporally, to the earliest identifiable period of ‘inns-of-court writing’, her work will prove a useful, indeed necessary, foundation for studying subsequent communities of authors. By voicing a high number of non-canonical writers, Lawyers at Play also makes steps to redefine former assumptions of canonicity and aesthetic value, with the added potential of shedding important new light on some of the period’s better-known playwrights and poets. As Winston notes in the early stages of her book,

every major writer of the decade was either a member of the Inns or connected to them through literary, social, or familial ties… Even [Arthur] Golding had relatives at the Inns, and this social and literary network extends to Isabella Whitney, who as a woman was necessarily excluded from the Inns. Her Sweet Nosegay (1573) adapts the Flowers of Philosophy (1572) of Hugh Plat, a member of Lincoln’s Inn, and her ‘Will’ to London bequeaths copies of her work to inns men, leaving them a “store of books […] at each bookbinder’s stall”. (p. 7).

[5] One assessment that transpires throughout this book is that the Inns was far less a physical space than a metaphysical web of networks and arrangements. As such, the book allows readers to consider the Inns as both a real and imagined space that drew personal and professional ties across London and the wider area. Yet this approach does leave space for further consideration of the Inns’ more immediate environment and jurisdiction. Though Winston is openly more concerned for the Inns’ ‘intellectual topography’ than its spatial geography, the Inns’ proximity to the London theatres and the centre of the book trade in St Paul’s seem far more crucial than is illustrated here. Moreover, the part played by print culture in the Inns’ practices of both communal- and self-fashioning begs much closer reflection. In particular, Winston’s work does not seem to take full enough account of the roles played by patrons, printers and booksellers in promoting the Inns’ habitus, and how they too might figure in the wider literary-legal nexus. For instance, Thomas Colwell, printer of Barnabe Googe’s Eglogs, epytaphes, and Sonets (1563) as well as numerous legal plays and interludes, and Thomas Marsh, publisher of Seneca’s Ten Tragedies (1581) and a prolific purveyor of ‘mirror for princes’ literature both to and by men of the Inns of Court , are frequent features of Winston’s footnotes, though fail to reach the main page. Attention to these details might help situate the Inns of Court writers within a much larger physical, social and intellectual organism, for which their vicinity to key locations – as much as the Inns’ broader ‘intellectual topography’ – seems paramount. Winston also helpfully alludes to the part played, initially, by manuscript dissemination in the publication of Googe’s Eglogs and other works of this time to support her theories concerning transmission. Although it is true that such manuscripts are unlikely to surface, and therefore many of our deductions must remain speculative, evidence from other comparable sources might have helped shed light on the social and discursive processes by which the surviving printed works may have materialized. Although produced slightly later than the works covered by Lawyers at Play, Chetham’s Library MS A.4.15 is one of a small number of ‘Inns of Court manuscripts’, to reveal a number of connections between men admitted to the Inns between 1587 and 1593 (Swann: 2015). Perhaps the greatest limitation of the book is that it draws heavily on Winston’s previously-published research; large sections of the book seem like familiar turf for readers aware of Winston’s other work, and the sections that tread new ground (the translators Dolman and Gilby, for instance) are sadly short-lived. But this does not override what is otherwise a fascinatingly rich and lucid account of the Inns of Court, its men (and occasional women), as well as those at its centre and on its fringes, together with the skills, practices and beliefs that gave distinct shape and colour to a period that we can no longer, with any seriousness, call England’s ‘drab age’.

University of Birmingham, February 2018

 

WORKS CITED

Prest, Wilfrid R. 1972. The Inns of Court under Elizabeth I and the early Stuarts, 1590-1640 (London: Longman)

Swann, Joel. 2015. ‘Chetham’s Library MS A. 4.15: an Inns of Court Manuscript?’, Journal of the Northern Renaissance 7: 1-38

Martine van Elk, Early Modern Women’s Writing: Domesticity, Privacy, and the Public Sphere in England and the Dutch Republic (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017)

Martine van Elk, Early Modern Women’s Writing: Domesticity, Privacy, and the Public Sphere in England and the Dutch Republic (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017). ISBN 978-3-319-33221-5, 299 pp., £53.99

Reviewed by Lotte Fikkers

[1] In Early Modern Women’s Writing: Domesticity, Privacy, and the Public Sphere in England and the Dutch Republic, Martine van Elk argues that in different countries, social contexts, and political circumstances, early modern women writers were articulating broadly similar ideas. Her monograph therefore presents a comparative study of Dutch and English texts by women. The originality of this work lies in its wide scope. Not only does it have a transnational dimension with its focus on women writers from both England and the Dutch republic, Early Modern Women’s Writing also has an interdisciplinary focus in the sense that it explores a broad definition of authorship by including visual art (such as portraits and glass engravings) alongside literature from the seventeenth century.

[2] The monograph is organised into seven chapters, including introduction and afterword. The introduction aims to make the reader aware of the historicity of the public/private divide. Van Elk rightly points out that this is confusing material, as the use of the words ‘public’ and ‘private’, both from a pre-modern and modern perspective, can be obfuscating. The occasional use of the word ‘dichotomy’ in that light does not help; the rest of the book convincingly demonstrates that the public/private divide was permeable, and that early modern women writers attempted to negotiate this division of spheres and were able to straddle both domains. The second chapter analyses prescriptive literature and visual representations of women in the private domain to demonstrate that women were both hindered and enabled in their literary expression because of the changing perceptions of the household in the seventeenth century. The close-‘reading’ of various paintings and portraits in that light is illuminating. Chapters three to six form case studies: in each chapter the work of at least one woman writer from England is compared and contrasted to that of one from the Dutch Republic. As almost all of the examples used in these case studies date from the seventeenth-century, the actual chronological scope of the book is perhaps slightly more narrow than one may expect from reading the title (‘Early Modern’).

[3] A comparison between the works of women from different countries is necessary, Van Elk posits, because it can show the need to reassess the work of individuals in the light of larger, transnational tendencies. This argument is at times very persuasive. Chapter 4 (“Friends, Lovers, and Rivals”), for example, posits friendship poetry as international phenomenon, with women sharing poems with their international friends, as such crossing national boundaries. These poems, therefore, are served by a cross-cultural analysis. The chapter itself does take a more national focus, as it discusses the friendship poems shared between two sets of Dutch writers (among whom is Catharina Questiers, whose name is conspicuously absent from the chapter’s title) separately, and uses those to try and shed new light on Katherine Philips’ English friendship poetry: Katherine Philips’ royalism, Van Elk argues, “is only part of the explanation for the specific form that her idealization of the friend takes” in her friendship poems – which becomes evident when reading her work alongside that of women in countries with different political organizations (156). Chapter 6 (“Staging Female Virtue”) is perhaps most successful in showing the necessity of a transnational study, as it highlights the remarkable similarities between Elizabeth Cary’s The Tragedy of Mariam and Katharina Lescailje’s Herodes en Mariamne. The parallels between state and household drawn in both these texts, as well as the use of reformist discourse of domesticity and the household, demonstrates that the concerns and occupations of early modern women transcended national boundaries.

[4] Because of its focus on texts written by authors from both England and the Dutch republic in three different languages (Dutch, English, and Latin), Early Modern Women’s Writing may seem to hold appeal for two specific and distinct groups of scholars only: those interested in English women writers, and those studying Dutch women writers (of which there are few). However, Van Elk has done an excellent job at providing accurate and sensitive English translations of source material in Dutch and Latin, and she always supplies the original text in her endnotes for cross-referencing. Moreover, the book explicitly addresses the need for more comparative work to be done on early modern women writers, because otherwise, ‘we risk situating women’s writing too narrowly within a single context’ (259). Those scholars of gender studies and early modern women writers who share this evaluation, and those ready to let themselves be persuaded, should read Early Modern Women’s Writing. At the very least, this study brings Dutch sources under the attention of an international audience by presenting them side by side with their English ‘counterparts’. This alone is a worthy purpose, as the work of female writers from the Dutch Republic has long been neglected even by Dutch scholars. Van Elk’s considerate study rectifies this situation.

Leiden University, February 2018

Estelle Paranque, Nate Probasco, and Claire Jowitt (eds), Colonization, Piracy, and Trade in Early Modern Europe: The Roles of Powerful Women and Queens(Palgrave Macmillan, 2017).

Estelle Paranque, Nate Probasco, and Claire Jowitt (eds), Colonization, Piracy, and Trade in Early Modern Europe: The Roles of Powerful Women and Queens (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017), ISBN 978-3-319-57158-4, 255 pp. £84,99.

Reviewed by Nadia T. van Pelt

[1] Colonization, Piracy, and Trade in Early Modern Europe is a welcome new addition to the Palgrave Macmillan ‘Queenship and Power’ series. The edited collection under review adds to a quickly growing corpus of discussion foregrounding the gendered reading of early modern power play. The book seeks to address early modern women going against the grain of their times by asserting authority in situations of warfare, diplomacy and trade, but also in piracy and colonization; areas that scholarship has traditionally associated with ‘masculine’ spheres of power and influence. This edited volume offers a number of case studies exemplifying how not only queen consorts and regents across Europe, but also women from more humble backgrounds, entered these spheres and showed themselves competent rulers, diplomats, and patrons of overseas exploration.

[2] The book is divided into three sections. The first, ‘Demonstrating Power’, comprises three chapters, each concerned with the power play of illustrious queens, establishing their dominance over colonized areas. In the first case study, Jonathan Woods addresses Mary I’s and Mary of Guise’s ‘struggle to control Ireland’ (p. 7). Ireland had been conquered by Henry VIII as early as the 1530s, and his daughter Mary sought to maintain Tudor sovereignty in these parts. Woods’ study argues that Scottish migration to Ireland, and ‘the expansion of military networks from Scotland into Ireland’ prevented the English queen from uniting the people of Ireland under the English flag (p. 17). Woods shows a Mary I who ‘[w]ielded full sovereignty, as any king would have’ but was frustrated in her efforts by the ‘decentralized structures of the Gaelic world’ (p. 30). In the chapter that follows Nate Probasco studies Catherine de Medici’s politics of religion during the period of her regency in France. He observes that in order to avoid religious wars in France and to ensure the power of her family, Catherine invested significantly in relocating French Huguenots and Lutherans to Florida in North America, and Moldovia in Eastern Europe (p. 60). By doing so, Catherine showed herself a no-nonsense ruler, a powerful rival to the Habsburgs, and an ally to King Philip II of Spain (p. 58), but importantly also, a strategic colonizer who knew how to make careful use of maritime expansion. Estelle Paranque investigates the rulership of Isabel Clara Eugenia as Governor of the Spanish Netherlands between 1621-1633. Paranque notes that Isabel, who was the Infanta of Spain and wife of Albert VII, Archduke of Austria, had been the ‘co-sovereign of the Habsburg Netherlands’ whilst her husband was alive. On his death, however, she was demoted to ‘Governor’, which, despite the title’s suggestion of a less than grand administrative role, meant that she had become the ruler of the Spanish Netherlands. Paranque’s research firmly establishes Isabel as a representative of Spain and strong ‘wartime leader’ who had the status and ability to make diplomatic decisions independently from her Spanish king, and could be depended upon to further the interests of the Empire (p. 86).

[3] The second section, ‘Diplomatic Strategies’ builds on the parameters set in the first section, and explores the political styles and tactics in international trade of lesser known female rulers and diplomats. Lisa Hopkins in her chapter on Caterina Cornaro, the last queen of Cyprus, explores her rivalry for the throne with her sister-in-law, Carlotta de Lusignan. Caterina, who was of Venetian origin, married James II to form an alliance between Venice and Cyprus, in which, Hopkins observes, ‘Venice definitely intended to be the senior partner’ (p. 101). When James II died, five years into his marriage, and his son following him shortly after, James’ illegitimate children as well as his sister Carlotta found themselves candidates for succession, but Venice favoured Caterina, who ended up reigning for 15 years (p. 102). Hopkins contrasts Carlotta’s pragmatic approach in which she tried to buy favour with potential allies, using Cyprus’ resources, with Caterina’s employment of iconography and symbolism as a propaganda tool (p. 112). In the chapter that follows Valentina Caldari explores the role played by María Ana, the Spanish Infanta, in her marriage negotiations with Charles, son of King James I of England. The introduction to the book promises a study of two seventeenth century European princesses, María Ana and Henrietta Maria of France in their taking matters into their own hands when it came to securing English matches (p. 8). It appears however, that unfortunately the study of Henrietta Maria has not made it into the final draft of the chapter. In her study of María Ana, however, Caldari makes explicit the implied stakes of a match between two powerful forces: religious belief, but also trade and commerce and the joint hunt for pirates (p. 130). She observes that the match, that was officially off the table in 1624, hinged on the Infanta’s power to exert influence over the English Prince in matters of business and colonization (p. 129). In her excellent chapter Junko Thérèse Takeda explores the diplomacy of Madame Petit, a courageous early-eighteenth-century French woman who acted under the title of ‘representative of the princesses of France’ in Persia (p. 142). Petit had invested in the travels of Jean-Baptiste Fabre, who was on a French mission to Persia, and followed him abroad when it turned out that he could not pay her back. When Fabre died in Yerevan, Petit showed herself an entrepreneur and autonomous diplomat in Persian-French trade relations. Takeda observes: ‘… Louis XIV’s aspirations to and claims of a centralized governance, remained un-centralized and chaotic. Slowness of communication to and from Versailles’ forced diplomats like Petit ‘to make decisions and act independently of the crown’ (p. 160). Her actions defying gender, political, social and religious conventions may have been acceptable and even laudable in Persia, but once back in France, Takeda observes, Petit was vilified, presented as a prostitute, and financially ruined (p. 157-9).

[4] Where the first two sections covered inter-European relations, the Hugenot migration to the Americas, as well Madame Petit’s diplomatic work in Persia, the third section has a strong Anglo-centric focus, and is notably interested in literary works, in which trade and colonization marked opportunities for contact with cultures outside of Europe. As expected, Queen Elizabeth I as a patron of piracy and maritime expansion plays an important role in this section. Carole Levin and Cassandra Auble present a study on the meanings of turquoise in Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, and establish the precious stone as ‘economically valuable’ and ‘exotic’ (p. 184, p. 180). They also address turquoise jewellery possessed by sixteenth-century queens, and the statements that they made by wearing these precious stones. Elizabeth I for one, Levin and Auble observe, wore turquoise as a diplomatic message suggesting ‘openness to trade and expansion of the empire’ (p. 184). Erzsébet Stróbl’s study argues that the Hungarian poet Stephen Parmenius’s Latin poem De Navigatione (1582) can be seen to have presented Queen Elizabeth I as a leading colonial power on the European political stage. The work was written three years before Walter Raleigh’s first attempt to colonize America, and presented readers with ‘a humanistic, Protestant justification about English territorial expansion’ (p. 215). Stróbl argues that the theme of English colonization is ‘filtered through the sensibilities of a Hungarian who as a foreigner reflects on his own experiences within England as well as that of his home country’ (p. 215). Finally, Claire Jowitt explores the notion of maritime expansion and its relation to English rulership by addressing the figure of the sea captain in Thomas Middleton’s The Phoenix (1603-04). Jowitt observes that the play ‘invokes Sir Walter Raleigh’, Queen Elizabeth’s famous explorer. Furthermore, the play, performed at a time in which the succession of James I meant a change from Tudor to Stuart rulership, appears to support ‘James’s outlawing of the privateer in contrast to Elizabeth’s state-funded pirates’ (p. 242). It appears that the play sought to present its view on colonial expansion and entrepreneurship so as to both respect the former queen’s policies, but also to keep in mind that the new king was the actual ruler that playmakers and their audiences needed to take heed of.

[5] The book contains an ambitious collection of scholarship. One of the risks inherent to an edited collection concerned with a topic as broad as early modern women’s involvement in international trade, piracy and colonization, is that it may be perceived as unfocused in its selection of case studies by some of its readers. The book under review however resists this pitfall by working from the premise that women actively involved in these spheres formed a small minority among early modern queens, princesses, and non-royal women of influence. This suggests that the selection of case studies, in all its variation, is much more pointed than it appears to be at first sight. This edited collection is likely to appeal to scholars of royal studies and early modern diplomacy, and students of (political) history and gender studies.

University of Leiden, November 2017

Martyn Calvin Cowan, John Owen and the civil war apocalypse: Preaching, prophecy and politics (Routledge, 2018). Ryan M. McGraw, John Owen: Trajectories in Reformed Orthodox theology (Palgrave, 2017)

Martyn C. Cowan, John Owen and the Civil War Apocalypse: Preaching, Prophecy and Politics (Routledge, 2018), ISBN 978-1-138-08776-7, xvi+220 pp., £105.

Ryan M. McGraw, John Owen: Trajectories in Reformed Orthodox theology (Palgrave, 2017), ISBN 978-3-319-60806-8, xii+232 pp., £69.99.

Reviewed by Crawford Gribben

 

[1] John Owen (1616-83) is attracting increasing attention far beyond the theological circles in which his memory was, for many years, preserved. Owen has long been recognised as having been central to the rise and fall of the English republic – preaching to MPs on the day after the execution of Charles I, accompanying Cromwell as an army chaplain in the invasions of Ireland and Scotland, overseeing educational reform as dean of Christ Church and vice-chancellor of the university of Oxford, writing the petition that persuaded Cromwell not to accept the offer of the crown, leading the army republicans in their last desperate gamble to preserve the republic, ultimately and unwittingly paving the way for the restoration of Charles II and the brutal persecution of republicans and religious dissenters that followed. Owen’s millions of words have been kept in print in reproductions of the best nineteenth-century edition, edited by William Goold in 24 closely printed volumes, and attention is increasingly being paid to the unpublished sermons notes held in Dr Williams’s Library, London, and to relevant para-texts, including the anthology of verse published in Oxford in 1654 to commemorate the end of the Dutch war, in which Owen’s opening Latin eulogy is followed by work from Christ Church students and alumni, on both sides of the civil war divide, in English, French, Old English, Welsh, Latin, Greek, and Hebrew. And, just as Owen is attracting scholarly increasing attention, so that attention is coming from a broader range of disciplinary backgrounds, and is being published by a broader range of academic publishers.

[2] The two most recent contributions to Owen studies, published by Palgrave and Routledge, reflect the increasing diversity of work within this field. Martyn Cowan’s study of John Owen and the Civil War Apocalypse (2018) must be recognised as one of the most important contributions to Owen studies, and a fine addition to the excellent Routledge series in “Religious Cultures in the Early Modern World.” Expanding upon Cowan’s Cambridge PhD thesis, this book outlines Owen’s prophetic worldview and unpicks his providential readings of contemporary history. The analysis steps up a gear from the third chapter, as the account considers how Owen suggested “providential mercies” should be “improved,” and how godly magistrates should exercise responsibility in pursuing an appropriate church settlement, under the threat of impending divine judgement. Cowan’s central thesis argues that Owen’s sermons from the 1640s and 1650s are best described as a form of prophetic preaching, frequently drawing upon eschatological passages in Scripture and arguing for the eschatological character of the age in which Owen preached. In Cowan’s account, Owen retains his millennial aspiration throughout the 1650s, and, contrary to other depictions of a tendency towards conservatism in this period, pushes for an increasingly radical political agenda. Cowan takes issue with the conclusions of some earlier work. He argues that Owen adopted millennial beliefs much earlier than some others have claimed. He denies that Owen adopts a preterist reading of certain biblical passages, which would have understood them to refer to, for example, the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70 (though this claim seems be qualified in pp. 56-57), instead arguing that Owen used these texts to shape his view of the present. And Cowan denies that Owen was ever a republican – a claim that will have far-reaching implications in our thinking about the mid-seventeenth century crisis and the individuals who acted at key moments in the development of the new republican regime. These claims challenge the conclusions of some recent work in the field, and Cowan’s careful and considered arguments will need to be taken very seriously, not least because they offer contexts for some important but undated sermons, a move that will pull into play a number of important new texts with enormous potential to reshape key moments in Owen’s life and the development of the republican government. Drawing on new contexts, Cowan argues that Owen, who “self-identifies as a prophet speaking in momentous times,” “cannot be treated as an abstract academic theologian” (p. 183).

[3] By contrast, Owen’s status as an academic theologian is emphasised in Ryan McGraw’s latest book. McGraw has become well-known for his earlier monograph on Owen and for his articles, which repristinate the high theological flavour of some earlier work in the field. Each of the chapters in this collection has already been published, though McGraw emphasises that he has updated and revised their content. The result is a slightly eclectic volume. The first part of the book offers three chapters on Owen’s view of the Trinity, his practise of exegesis, drawn from a case study of his work on Genesis 3:15, and his reflection on whether the preaching of salvation should also include discussion of the threats of the law. The second part of the book considers Owen’s attitude to images of Christ, his presentation of the role of the Holy Spirit, an important discussion of the genre of Owen’s Θεολογουμενα παντoδαπα (1661), and, oddly, a chapter-length review of the now slightly dated Ashgate Research Companion to John Owen’s Theology (2012), which it represents as a providing “a glimpse into the current state of Owen research” (p. 5). McGraw’s introduction pulls these chapters together, arguing that the “common theme” in the volume is that “John Owen helps us better understand the development and interrelationship of theology, exegesis, and piety in Reformed orthodox theology” (p. 1). At its best, John Owen: Trajectories in Reformed Orthodox Theology does exactly what it says on the tin. McGraw subtly and effectively narratives trajectories in Owen’s thinking, and locates him within broader trajectories in early modern Reformed theology.

[4] But there are some problems with this book. McGraw reiterates his rather low view of some other work in the field: he notes the “weakness” (p. 5), “deficiencies” (p. 16), and “confusion” (p. 17) of earlier work, some of which he thinks “misses Owen’s point” (p. 143). This is a limiting strategy. The effect of this unnecessarily combative style has McGraw framing his discussion of Owen around other contributions to the field, rather than setting out his own stall upon his own terms. Additionally, it is not clear exactly how the chapters in this volume have been revised from their earlier forms. In the main text and footnotes, a number of books are described as forthcoming, despite their having been published several years ago: among the titles listed as forthcoming, Mark Jones’ book on Antinomianism appeared in 2013 (p. 193), and another title that McGraw “eagerly awaits” (p. 195) is a book that he has in fact already reviewed. This problem creeps into McGraw’s representation of his own work: another item that he describes as forthcoming (p. 64) is the article, published in 2015, that forms the basis of this volume’s first substantial chapter (p. 9). These difficulties aside, this is an important book, which gathers together some of the best of McGraw’s contributions to Owen studies. While each of these chapters is of high intellectual merit, McGraw’s discussions of the law-gospel distinction and the relationship between the role of faith and images of Christ will set new agendas in Owen research.

[5] As these monographs suggest, work on Owen is proliferating as major publishers pick up on his importance and as the disciplinary perspectives of his readers evolve. These trends are combining to produce some exciting new work on a figure central to the rise and fall of the British republic, and to the intellectual preservation of the Calvinist reformation. Cowan and McGraw have produced two fine contributions, each of which will push Owen studies in important new directions in historical theology and in the social history of ideas.

Queen’s University Belfast, October 2017

Andrew Duxfield, Christopher Marlowe and the Failure to Unify(Ashgate, 2015). Mathew R. Martin, Tragedy and Trauma in the Plays of Christopher Marlowe(Ashgate, 2015). ISBN: 9781472431561, 194 pp + vii., £60.00.

Andrew Duxfield, Christopher Marlowe and the Failure to Unify (Ashgate, 2015), ISBN: 9781472439512, vii + 164 pp., £70.00.

Mathew R. Martin, Tragedy and Trauma in the Plays of Christopher Marlowe (Ashgate, 2015), ISBN: 9781472431561, vii + 194 pp., £60.00.

Reviewed by Katherine Heavey

[1] These two books on Christopher Marlowe, both published in Ashgate’s series Studies in Performance and Early Modern Drama, and comprising case studies of the same six plays (Dido Queen of Carthage, Tamburlaine Parts 1 and 2, The Jew of Malta, Edward II, The Massacre at Paris and Doctor Faustus) are further linked by their focus on Marlowe as a playwright whose dramatic works might pose a particular set of problems for traditionally-minded readers or audiences. Duxfield points to the general absence, in Marlowe’s plays, of genuinely good characters, or clear moral messages, and moreover posits that the theme of unity, which he sees as being of central interest to Marlowe, is undermined even as it is represented: the book traces “the ways in which Marlowe’s plays negate unity”, as well as “the way in which they focus on the pursuit or illusion of unity in the process of negating it” (p. 9). Meanwhile, reading the plays psychoanalytically, as “trauma narratives” (p. 1), Martin acknowledges that in their resistance to closure or cohesiveness, works such as Tamburlaine Part 1 and The Massacre at Paris can seem almost aggressively set against conventional tragedy, or even against the conventions of drama itself. However, while they acknowledge the difficulties that Marlowe’s plays may pose, both Duxfield and Martin make a virtue of his drama’s oddities, and argue for greater subtlety in the reading of apparently off-putting elements of the plays.

[2] Arguing that Marlowe’s dramas are preoccupied with the idea of unity in two contradictory ways (his characters often strive for some form of unity, while the playwright exposes the futility of such striving) Duxfield posits that Marlowe handles his theme in this strangely bifurcated way deliberately, to expose truths about his characters, and to reflect Elizabethan England’s anxiety about its own divisions and discords. Duxfield sees Tamburlaine as determined to reduce and impose unity upon the known world through conquest, and similarly to reduce and simplify his own image. However, Tamburlaine, master of self-presentation though he may be, betrays a “reductive misconception” about the possibility of unity. This misconception “bypasses the variety and complexity inherent both in the world and in himself; it is the gap between this world view and the complexity of “reality” which guarantees his failure” (p. 47). Meanwhile, Faustus wants to quash ambiguity and achieve universal and unifying knowledge, but because of his university training, he seems conditioned to seek ambiguity almost in spite of himself, probing Mephistopheles about Hell and refusing to be satisfied with the answers he receives (p. 77). In the Jew of Malta, the audience will find only the “illusory impression of unity” (p. 89), a world where, paradoxically, Malta’s citizens “are united only by their unstinting individualism” (p. 89). In Marlowe’s Malta, the idea of religious unity itself is nothing more than an “expedient fiction” (p. 105), and Duxfield draws brief comparison with the Massacre at Paris, to argue that here again, religion might be a superficial unifier, but is really a means by which characters pursue their own selfish desires. Here, in fact, a show of religious unity becomes a kind of shorthand for savagery and rupture, as the Duke of Guise insists his Catholic forces should all dress alike as they slaughter the Protestants (p. 111).

[3] In a short Afterword, Duxfield acknowledges the certainty of uncertainty in Marlowe’s drama: “Marlowe’s play-worlds are consistently and profoundly ambiguous; we are never given the privilege of unobstructed access to a sense of right and wrong, nor are we allowed the benefit of characters that can be summarily dismissed from or embraced by our sympathy” (p. 147). As Duxfield’s title suggests, this focus on ambiguity and uncertainty means that unity of any kind in Marlowe’s plays begins to seem a futile hope, notwithstanding the determination of some of his most memorable characters (Tamburlaine, Faustus, Barabas) that it does exist, and can be turned to their own ends. For Duxfield, Marlowe’s unity is a mirage, but it is a purposefully created mirage, intended to nuance his characters, speak to his Elizabethan contemporaries, and paradoxically problematise any sense of resolution.

[4] If Duxfield address Marlowe’s plays from the perspective of a failed drive towards unity, for Martin, it is psychoanalytic theory, including the works of Freud and Lacan, which can best explicate the apparent difficulties and contradictions of his drama. He contends that Marlowe’s plays are “trauma narratives”, “narratives of physical and psychological wounding and its consequences” (p. 1), and imbued with a “trauma aesthetic” (p. 4) that differentiates them from more conventional, Aristotelian tragedies. Familiar elements of tragedy such as closure or moral lessons are most often conspicuous by their absence, and a play like Tamburlaine turns aggressively on the usual structure of tragedy, representing a “rupture in the linear history of [the genre]” (p. 58). While Duxfield reads Tamburlaine’s insistent self-fashioning as a futile drive towards unity, Martin reads his single-mindedness psychoanalytically, as a determination to see himself as ‘whole’, to externalize and so exorcise the traumatic rupture that psychoanalysis sees in the subject: “Tamburlaine attempts to elude his constitutive split by presenting himself as the Other, as a man whose being is anterior to his becoming” (p. 50). Such an effort is fated to fail, as Duxfield also argues from his different perspective. However, Tamburlaine’s failure does not lead to clear resolutions, and Martin sees moments of apparent closure (such as Tamburlaine’s marriage to Zenocrate) as undermined and “rendered impossible and unattainable by the desublimating force of the trauma” (p. 54).

[5] In Tamburlaine 2, Martin argues that Oedipal solutions to trauma are exposed as insufficient. The Turks may be committed to “maintaining the power of Oedipal fathers and supporting the reproduction of Oedipal civilization” (p. 66), but the apparently neat closure of the Turkish/Christian truce is undermined almost immediately by Christian betrayal. Tamburlaine, meanwhile, “rejects civilization’s Oedipal logic” (p. 66). As he did in Part 1, he continues to deny the possibility of any traumatic wound to himself. When he is injured, it is through self-imposed violence, cutting his arm to underline his dominance over his sons: as in Part 1, when Tamburlaine turned his violence on others, the externalizing of the wound denies the possibility of the internal wound of castration. Duxfield suggests that here, “[i]n the very act of demonstrating his invincibility he simultaneously reveals his vulnerability” (p. 63), whereas Martin sees Tamburlaine as retaining power in this moment, in which he “self-reflexively asserts his identity as the uncastrated Father” (p. 74). However, Tamburlaine’s insistence on dominance and the refusal of trauma damages the very fabric of the tragic genre, and Martin concludes “Because of his refusal to accept castration, even in death, Tamburlaine is an anti-tragic figure”, one whose obstinacy “shatters the tragic mirror into shards” (p. 83).

[6] Like Tamburlaine, Barabas resists the state’s attempts to impose order, its “Oedipalizing codes” (p. 93) and his rejection of the threat of castration manifests itself as violence towards others, the Jew of Malta’s repeated and repetitive savagery representing its protagonist’s determination to be “the castrating agent not the castrated victim” (p. 97). Like Duxfield, Martin sees the Jew of Malta as a play that draws in the audience, evoking troubling and contradictory reactions to Marlowe’s antagonist and his crimes. In the Massacre at Paris, too, the audience finds itself in an uncomfortable position in relation to the extremes of the staged violence, and Marlowe does not make things easy for his audiences, whether Elizabethan or modern. Martin shows that for Elizabethans watching the play only a few years after the St Bartholomew’s Day Massacre, Marlowe “provides no consoling, suturing narrative” (p. 141), and his Protestants are not even allowed to successfully complete their prayers before being murdered (a detail Duxfield also highlights, reading it as the Guise’s attempt “to establish a reductive univocality that will ensure political supremacy” (p. 112) ). Moreover, as Martin notes, an English audience would here witness the brutal massacre of Protestants, before being reminded, via Henri’s references to Elizabeth, of the continuing diplomatic relations between Elizabethan England and Catholic Europe even after the massacre. As such, the play “presses the audience to recognize its ambivalent relation to and even complicity in the historical trauma it dramatizes” (p. 143). Meanwhile, the modern spectator might be frustrated by the apparently haphazard organisation of the drama. However, Martin argues that the play’s oddities (such as the way in which the second half has little or nothing to say about the massacre) are imbued with meaning. Via the play’s silence, the massacre “[f]unctions…as a traumatic black hole in the symbolic order, as the Lacanian real whose gravitational pull bends the characters’ discourse into circles of oblique attraction that leave the massacre unspoken while registering its dark density.”(p. 135) If Tamburlaine fractures an audience’s sense of “tragic frames”, of what tragedy should be, in the Massacre “tragic frames are silently not chosen or, to put it more strongly, actively forgotten in order to privilege an incoherence that refuses to bring trauma into narrative order” (p. 132).This is a play that, Martin argues, works especially well when analysed in the light of trauma theory: such a theoretical framework declines to “privilege the conventionally valorized aesthetic qualities of wholeness and sense over brokenness, silence, and nonsense” (p. 126), and via this open-mindedness, trauma theory finds a new significance in a play that critics are often quick to dismiss.

[7] In the final chapter, on Faustus, Martin explains he has elected to discuss the B-text for similar reasons: in its rejection of what Kuriyama terms “aesthetic integrity”, he contends that this version of Faustus lends itself most readily to a trauma-based reading, with the play handled last in recognition of Martin’s belief that it is Marlowe’s “most powerful trauma narrative” (p. 145). Like Aeneas in Dido Queen of Carthage (discussed in Chapter 1), Martin argues that Faustus is confronted with the call of the Other, here the Protestant God. Like Tamburlaine and Barabas, he is fixated on external wounding as a way to deflect the possibility of the internal wound, and Martin intriguingly demonstrates this by showing how, while Mephistopheles sees Hell as an internal and individually created idea, towards the play’s conclusion Faustus insists on externalising it and characterising it as a space of physical violence, terrifying but also comfortingly tangible and explicable (p. 153). However, there are no easy answers here, and as Martin points out, in making his contract Faustus merely “creates the fantasy of an evil agency operating consequentially in a strictly delimited spatio-temporal field in response to the demands of an other with whom one can negotiate” (p. 153).

[8] Whether they are striving for unity or trying to displace or deny trauma, for Marlowe’s characters things are never as easy as they hope, and as both books demonstrate, via the doomed efforts of his characters to achieve unity, or outrun trauma, Marlowe also raises uncomfortable questions for his audiences. These two books make complex arguments about Marlowe’s dramas, presenting them as works that resist easy answers, and reject simplification, closure or moral lessons. Whether taken as narratives of failure or of trauma, these dramas might make for uncomfortable viewing, but Duxfield and Martin show that they are all the more rewarding and interesting for their difficulties.

Glasgow University, September 2017

The Palgrave Handbook of Early Modern Literature and Science, ed. Howard Marchitello and Evelyn Tribble (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017)

The Palgrave Handbook of Early Modern Literature and Science, ed. Howard Marchitello and Evelyn Tribble (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017), ISBN, 978-1-137-46778-2, XLVI + 544 pp., € 213.99

Review by Katherine Walker

[1] An ambitious and timely resource, The Palgrave Handbook of Early Modern Literature and Science is a wide-ranging, multivalent collection covering the intersections of literature and science. Although most essays in the collection focus on English authors—Shakespeare, Donne, and Cavendish, for example—the authors draw from a broad swath of continental sources to capture the intra- and intertextual networks of knowledge production. Together these scholars remind us of the entangled relationship of literature to science in this pre-disciplinary period; practitioners and texts alike crossed modern disciplinary boundaries. In the process, as essay authors demonstrate, the stage becomes a “cognitive laboratory” (Jean E. Feerick 438), the languages of poesy move hearers in physical and philosophical ways (Jenny C. Mann 233), or the troubled confluence of curiosity and the occult meet in seventeenth century natural philosophy (Barbara M. Benedict). Indeed, although scholars will find the individual essays relevant to studies on, for instance, Galileo or Milton, the most valuable contribution of the collection is its larger performance of raising questions about the richly varied movements among literature, science, and science as literature.

[2] Editors Howard Marchitello and Evelyn Tribble devote a significant portion of the introduction to Galileo’s relationship to poetic discourse, particularly his writing “as method” (Intro. xxx). In beginning with one of the recognizable figureheads of the Scientific Revolution, Marchitello and Tribble uncover Galileo’s complex adoption of literary techne and past traditions in his writings. They thus foreground science and literature’s imbrication.

[3] Several essays discuss early modern authors’ rhetorical strategies in grappling with natural philosophical concepts. Liza Blake focuses on the notion of “grounds” in Cavendish’s philosophical and literary works, while Wendy Beth Hyman turns to metaphor “as a forensic device which yielded understandings of the natural world” (27). Similarly, Kristen Poole’s contribution offers a compelling reading of how allegory shapes Bacon’s understanding of methods for reading the natural world. Elizabeth Spiller and James J. Bono separately consider the process of reading, on the one hand Milton’s understanding of reading and matter as a transformative process. Bono, Spiller discusses, analyzes Boyle’s under-recognized notion of Scriptural methods for reading the Book of Nature. Crystal Hall analogously focuses on readerly processes, offering a detailed study of the books interlocutors read and cite in Galileo’s Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems and Discourses and Mathematical Demonstrations Concerning Two New Sciences.

[4] A significant strength of the collection is its engagement with a variety of primary sources. Mary Floyd-Wilson takes up plague pamphlets in the period to offer a new reading of Romeo and Juliet, arguing that “plague habits of thought” (402) inform the play’s concern with contagion, vitality, and death. Michelle DiMeo’s essay situates Boyle’s recipe collections in a larger discourse surrounding the production and dissemination of receipt books in the period. Focusing on a different genre with female contributors, Jacqueline D. Wernimont discusses the popular Ladies’ Diary of the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, focusing on French contexts to read the almanac and considering the women readers who submitted mathematical and literary puzzles for each edition. Reading deeply across medical tracts, Kaara L. Peterson shows how Shakespeare adopts the bed-trick, placing it firmly within “the received early modern medical beliefs about virgins’ bodies that authorize it” (380). Like Peterson, Steven Mentz captures the ways in which positioning a text in alternative discourses and practices yields new insights, in this case with a focus on the experiences of sailors in their encounters with hurricanes across the Atlantic.

[5] Early modern authors borrowed freely from other natural philosophical discoveries. Ofer Gal provides a new reading of imagination in the period, an analysis in conversation with other essays in the collection focusing on how the early moderns understood the new science. Frédérique Aït-Touati, in the penultimate essay in the collection, turns to the related concept of invention in Bacon and Cavendish’s works. Mary Thomas Crane’s contribution situates Donne’s engagement with new natural philosophical insights in “the welter of new ideas and new anxieties about the configuration of the universe” (95) that extended beyond Galileo to Spenser, Gabriel Harvey, and vernacular scientific print authors such as Robert Recorde. Claire Preston also studies Donne but as an influence on Boyle’s recovery narrative in Occasional Reflections. In another essay that explores literary and linguistic relationships, Angus Fletcher considers Bacon’s solution to the entangled problem of religion as a divisive barrier to scientific utopia and argues that Bacon’s solution lies in his unique perspective on literature.

[6] Finally, several essays in the collection turn to understudied mechanical and natural philosophical practices, suggesting persuasively that our scholarly attention on the big precursors to modern scientific method—astronomy, physics, and chemistry, for example—occludes the early modern period’s equally invested understanding of other disciplines. Philip Schwyzer reads Thomas Browne’s Hydriotaphia alongside contemporary archaeological sciences and Louise Noble uncovers the wide-ranging early modern debate on hydraulic engineering through an examination of diverse authors and genres. Shankar Raman details Milton’s investment in changing conceptions of time and motion alongside Leibniz’s similar preoccupation, while Ian Lawson looks at another disciplinary and textual relationship: Cavendish’s trenchant reading and critique of Hooke. Peter Dear rounds out the collection with a brief consideration of the type of work we do as interdisciplinary scholars. As Dear points out, many essays in the collection not only engage in this interdisciplinary work, but also bring their close reading and archival methods to bear on surprising figures such as Boyle.

[7] The Palgrave Handbook of Early Modern Literature and Science should be on the bookshelf of any scholar interested in the shared histories of literature and science. But what is most significant about the collection is not simply the arguments offered about authors and texts, but rather the performance of the collection itself: it is a significant step forward in our interdisciplinary critical inquiries. Viewing literature and science as “two mutually sustaining and mutually informing systems for the production of knowledge” (Introduction xxiv), this collection equips us with the methodological tools for advancing the study of both systems in a range of historical eras.

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, August 2017

Raphaële Garrod, Cosmographical Novelties in French Renaissance Prose (1550-1630). Dialectic and Discovery (Brepols, 2016)

Raphaële Garrod, Cosmographical Novelties in French Renaissance Prose (1550-1630). Dialectic and Discovery (Brepols, 2016), ISBN: 978-2-503-55045-9, X+389 pp., € 100,00.

Reviewed by Dario Tessicini

[1] This book makes an important contribution to the study of the reception of the scientific novelties of the early dIS-9782503550459-1modern era. While these have been often considered under the overarching narratives of the Scientific Revolution, the initial assumption of this work is that the ‘novelties’ became so once they were granted ‘discursive existence’. In the author’s words, ‘the early moderns invented cosmographical novelties in arguments which make up the very fabric not only of the specialist discourses of natural philosophy and cosmography written in Latin, but also of a variety of Renaissance vernacular genres’ (4). The concept of ‘invention’ is key to the aims of the book, as it is closely linked to the titular ‘Dialectic’, the classical and scholastic discipline that provided the discursive tools for the production of arguments in debate. The first chapter of the book is dedicated to the history of dialectic and of its early modern panorama (‘Dialectic and Natural Philosophy’). This is quite a lengthy section that includes both the classics (Aristotle, Cicero and Boethius) and the moderns (Agricola, Melanchthon, Ramus, Eustachius a Sancto Paulo), and that, given the nature of the study, serves the purpose of introducing the reader to one of the two main areas of enquiry of the book, that is, the art of dialectical invention. The loci, or ‘topics’, that are at its core are also the subject of the five appendices (321-363). These provide helpful tables and remarks about their definition and use by the authors considered in the book. A corresponding introduction on cosmology and cosmography, but shorter and with no appendices to match, is provided within the Introduction (16-30).

[2] At the hearth of the volume is the exam of five early modern French texts that engage with cosmographical and cosmological novelties. This sample covers the crucial period that goes from the early 1570s to the 1630s (despite the chronological indication in the title, the earliest French work under consideration is dated 1575). This period coincides with the appearance of the first ‘celestial novelties’, namely, the new star visible from November 1572 and observed by Tycho Brahe and many others. This was followed by the great comet of 1577, by the new star of 1604 and, finally, by Galileo’s telescopic discoveries from the 1610s. These observations sparked a wide debate on key issues of celestial physics and, once the debate merged with the question of the planetary order, led to the demise of the Aristotelian cosmology. The texts examined in this book deal with a topical range of textual typologies and cultural positions. They comprise a Protestant encyclopaedia, a Jesuit textbook (respectively, Pierre de La Primaudaye’s Troisième tome de l’Académie Françoise and Étienne Binet’s Essay de merveilles de nature et de plus nobles artifices), and an adaptation in French of Sebastian Münster’s Cosmographia universalis by Françoise Belleforest (La Cosmographie universelle, first printed in 1575). The remaining two texts were the work of thinkers and novatores Michel de Montaigne and René Descartes. They are represented by the sceptical manifesto, the ‘Apologie de Raimond Sebond’ (Essais, II, 12), and by Le monde, ou Traité de la lumière, the treatise that set forth Descartes’ mechanistic cosmology.

[3] The main body of the book (chapters 2-6) comprises of two parts, covering the cosmological (chs. 2 and 3) and the cosmographical novelties (chs. 4-6), respectively. First, the ‘epistemological disturbance’ of the early modern cosmological novelties is observed while emerging from the works of La Primaudaye and Binet, Montaigne and Descartes. The author presents a detailed and nuanced examination of how different loci (e. g., arguments ‘from similars’, ‘from definition’, ‘from authority’) become a necessary toolkit (i.e., both as ‘hermeneutical devices’ and ‘matrices of rhetorical invention’) for the assimilation of the novelties in the natural-theological works by Primaudaye and Binet, and in the natural philosophies of Montaigne and Descartes. Yet, aside from reproducing the traditional early modern dichotomy between scholastic orthodoxy and philosophical innovation, the exam of these four texts reveals different fault lines. The critical and sceptical stances by Binet and Montaigne are in fact confronted with La Primaudaye and Descartes’ favourable responses to the novelties’ disruptive force. The second chapter of this part, on Montaigne and Descartes, contains some striking illustrations of the productivity of the loci when applied to the integration of cosmological novelties in the natural-philosophical discourse. Scholars of early modern cosmology will certainly be interested to read how Montaigne’s sceptical position can be seen vis-à-vis his ambivalent critique of the loci ‘from similars’ in the context of discussions on the relation between God and the universe and on the concept of universal laws of nature (173-176). The second part of the book is dedicated to Belleforest’s Cosmographie. Rather than being merely a translation of Sebastian Münster’s famous Cosmographia, first published in 1550, this work adapts the content of the original to new intellectual and contextual needs, most prominently, by adding a 230-pages description of France. Garrod’s analysis takes a comparative stance, tracking the use of different loci (‘from authority’, ‘from notation’ in particular) by Münster and Belleforest, and signalling the epistemological shifts that characterize the evolution of cosmography and geography in the early modern era.  Ultimately, this is a book that opens up interesting perspectives on the early modern ‘rhetorical turn’, namely on the interplay between observational discoveries and dialectical invention, and on the latter’s role in attributing meaning to the former. It is a complex and well-argued effort that will be of interest to readers of intellectual history and history of science alike.

Durham University, February 2017

Adrian Green, Building for England: John Cosin’s Architecture in Renaissance Durham and Cambridge (Pontifical Institute of Medieval Studies, 2016)

Adrian Green, Building for England: John Cosin’s Architecture in Renaissance Durham and Cambridge (Pontifical Institute of Medieval Studies, 2016). ISBN 978-0-88844-863-7.  xvii + 151 pp. £45.

Reviewed by Graham ParryAdrianGreenBuildingforEngland

[1] In recent years John Cosin’s career as one of the leaders of the High Church movement in Stuart England has begun to attract the attention it deserves. His innovations in the conduct of services and in the furnishing of churches in the diocese of Durham during the 1620s and 1630s proved rancorously controversial but established his reputation as a bold churchman determined to reject the austere Calvinism of the reformed Elizabethan Church, both in its visual aspect and in its harsh predestinarian theology. He espoused the liberal doctrines of Arminianism, that were gaining many followers in England in the 1620s. These gave prominence to the role of free will in the search for salvation, and argued that Christ had died to redeem all men, not just the elect, as Calvin believed. Salvation could be attained by works as well as by faith, and by reverent worship. To some critics, Arminian beliefs seemed like a turning back towards Catholicism. In 1627, Cosin’s Collection of Private Devotions aroused a storm of protest because it appeared to be trying to reintroduce the canonical hours of prayer associated with Catholicism. He was at the centre of the movement to establish Laudian modes of worship in Cambridge in the 1630s, when he was Master of Peterhouse. After 1660, when he became Bishop of Durham, Cosin became an important figure in the re-establishment of the Church of England, helping to ensure that it developed along lines that had been laid down in Laudian times. He also undertook ambitious building schemes in and around Durham that would restore the authority and prestige of the Church in its northern stronghold.

[2] Adrian Green, who is based at Durham University, now offers this analysis and assessment of Cosin’s building activities in order to explain what motivated them and what religious and political messages they could convey. His book gives by far the fullest account of a complicated history, which enables us to appreciate the integrity of his intentions across five decades during which he sought to advance and justify the authority of the Church in English life. The aesthetic aspect of his work is not neglected in this account, for Green explores at length the implications of the styles that Cosin employed in his architecture and woodwork. The combination of unorthodox neo-classicism with a quirky form of gothic always makes a distinctive impression on those who visit his buildings.

[3] Cosin never wrote about the purposes that his architectural schemes served or offered any reflections on his achievements, but Green is certain that the assertion of authority is the key to understanding Cosin’s schemes, in all the stages of his career. He built and restored and furnished to affirm the controlling power of the episcopal Church of England in unstable times, and after 1660, with his work at Durham and Bishop Auckland, to affirm his own power in his unique role as Prince Bishop. Given that he had been raised in the mainstream of the High Church movement, first by the patronage of John Overall, Bishop of Lichfield, and then by Richard Neile of Durham, he had come to share the view that the Church needed to fortify itself against the destabilising effects of Puritan dissent, with its ambition to introduce Presbyterian forms of government. Cosin had experienced the full force of Puritan vitriol after his first innovations at Durham in the early 1620s, when he had helped to introduce new ceremonies at the altar and install a towering font cover. He was abused and denounced in sermons and in print by the Puritan Peter Smart and persecuted by law suits that went on for years. The Church needed to bear itself with confidence against those who rejected its doctrine and discipline. It needed to assert its belief in the principles of hierarchical government and well-regulated worship. Rule by bishops and worship by the Book of Common Prayer were central to those principles. There was a growing conviction amongst churchmen that the Lord should be worshipped in the beauty of holiness (Psalm 96), befitting His majesty. Cosin held to this conviction throughout his life. Order, discipline, ceremony, conformity were necessary to the stability of society and to the peace of the Church. ‘Untune those strings, and hark what discord follows’, as Shakespeare wrote in Troilus and Cressida (Cosin owned a First Folio), and the chaos and destruction of the civil wars showed what happened when the authority of Church and Crown was overthrown.

[4] When he became rector of Brancepeth, a rich living near Durham, in 1626, he set about restoring and refurnishing the church in an exemplary way. He added a clerestory to give more light, and filled the interior with an astonishing display of carved and crocketed woodwork. The rows of dignified pews with their florid bench-ends were overseen by a tall commanding pulpit surmounted by a fantastical crested tester. The style is a unique combination of gothic, Jacobean and Netherlandish elements, a mixture that would become the distinguishing mark of Cosin’s involvement in the refurnishing of churches in the Durham diocese. The woodwork is always of dark, almost black, oak. In this elevated, imposing frame Cosin would appear more as priest than as minister. In the nave the congregation was separated into groupings of men and women divided by the central aisle, and arranged ‘according to their several Degrees and Qualities’, with the gentry to the front and the servants to the rear. A richly decorated openwork screen divided the nave from the chancel, again in dark oak, with slender canopies in spiky gothic over its three sections, canopies reminiscent of those on the Neville screen in Durham cathedral. Cosin wanted to bring back chancel screens, which had often been pulled down in Reformation times, to mark the division of the nave from the more sacred space of the chancel, which contained the holiest place of all, the altar. To enhance the holiness of the chancel, its ceiling was gilded and painted with stars and furnished with angels holding scrolls of praise. The east window was glazed with a painted crucifix. Another notable feature of the church was the font with a towering gothic spire some twelve feet high. This canopy was to honour the site of baptism, the first of the two sacraments of the Church of England (the other being the eucharist). The font was set by the entrance door, for spiritually it marked the admission of the individual soul into the community of the Church. The whole interior was a carefully planned progression up to the holy exaltation of the sacrifice at the altar. Alas, Cosin’s spectacular scheme was entirely destroyed by a disastrous fire in 1998.

[5] Here was a model church for the sacrament-centred mode of worship that was favoured by the Laudian movement. With its plate on display, and candles, hangings and embroidery, it must have looked a scene of beauty, dignity and mystery. It was expressive of reverence and order. And it needed a priest rather than a minister to set in motion and control the ceremonies of Anglican worship that the innovatory Laudian movement wished to disseminate. Variants on the Brancepeth model can be found in a dozen nearby churches where John Cosin exerted influence.

[6] When Cosin went to Cambridge as Master of Peterhouse in 1635, he found several new opportunities to enhance the setting of worship. The college chapel had been built by his predecessor Matthew Wren, the leading Cambridge Laudian, but it fell to Cosin to decorate the chapel. This he did with his well-practised skills, though the woodwork here is more restrained than the examples in County Durham. Painted glass filled the windows, with a powerful, lowering scene of the Crucifixion above the altar. Gilded sunbursts exploded in the compartments of the roof. Cosin increased the provision of music for the chapel, gathering in new work from composers who were responding to the needs of the more elaborate services favoured by the Laudians. When he became Vice-Chancellor in 1638, he commissioned ‘a beautiful and lofty screen with a canopy and spire-work’ for the University Church, similar it would seem to the one at Brancepeth. This screen was an early casualty of the iconoclasts’ attack on Cambridge churches and chapels in 1643. Cosin also began to venture into secular projects, by getting involved in a scheme to build a university library and senate house next to King’s College, a scheme that was frustrated by the outbreak of war.

[7] The war destroyed the world in which Cosin and the High Church party flourished, and eventually brought down the Church of England. He was expelled from his office, and years of impoverished exile in France followed. He acted as chaplain to the exiled English community in Paris, with the modest compensation of a cramped apartment in the recently-built Louvre. A reversal of fortune, the Restoration, brought him back to England and saw him promoted to the see of Durham. Once again he had authority and wealth, and so set about renovating his cathedral after the ravages of war and Scottish prisoners, and improving the two seats of his power: the Castle and his episcopal palace at Bishop Auckland. The Church must entrench itself more firmly after the experience of the civil war, as the material setting for the expression of the Anglican faith, and as an instrument of social harmony and order. The massive quantities of dark woodwork that now flank the choir and high altar at Durham, the stalls and screens, mostly date from the 1660s, as does the monumental font canopy at the west end. There was once an ‘effusively carved’ choir screen and organ case, but they were moved to the Castle in the 1840s. The restored bishop’s throne radiates the aura of ‘episcopacy by divine right’. Cosin took care that the body of St Cuthbert, that had survived the Reformation, was preserved – for reverence now, not for worship – and that Bede’s tomb was also honoured. The presence of these figures emphasised Durham’s link with the earliest phase of the English Church in the north. Anglican divines liked to profess the ancient origins of their Church in the time of primitive Christianity as much as they liked to demonstrate its continuing strength in the present.

[8] Adrian Green’s chapters on Cosin’s work at Durham and Bishop Auckland are most illuminating, for they show how he created a centre of episcopal authority at the former and a private memorial at Auckland Palace. He remodelled the interior of Durham Castle as a civilized fortress worthy of a prince bishop. In addition to a new suite of rooms, he installed the great black staircase which is an architectural event in itself. As Green remarks, it is designed to dramatise the movement of well-dressed people from level to level. Around Palace Green, the square between the cathedral and the Castle, he erected administrative buildings, an almshouse, and most notably, an admirable library. Cosin was a bibliophile, who had built up collections at Durham, Cambridge and Paris. The new library at Durham was intended as a resource for scholarly clergy and gentry (possibly modelled on the Bibliothèque Mazarin at Paris, Green suggests). It was ‘a beacon of learning in the North’, ‘created to provide the governing class . . . with the necessary resources for a learned elite to exercise authority and understand their role in the world beneath God’. Cosin took great care to stock it well and furnish it handsomely, and it has remained a major intellectual resource, now appropriately integrated into the University.

[9] In his reconstruction of Auckland Palace, the bishop’s residence a few miles from Durham, Cosin renovated the fortified area as his domestic quarters and as a place for hospitality. Almost as an act of personal gratification, he decided to create a new chapel out of the ruins of the medieval banqueting hall. He retained the tall, elegant arcades of c.1200 as his nave, added a high clerestory for extra light and to enhance the building’s profile, then filled the interior with his characteristic woodwork. On this occasion, the last of his ambitious projects, the woodwork is more open and airy than usual, especially that of the grand screen that divides the ante-chapel from the body of the chapel. The brightly painted roof commands attention, for in the compartments are carved Cosin’s coat of arms (a diamond fret) alternating with a bishop’s mitre. These powerful emblems declare undeniably that this is John Cosin’s chapel, and it is also his mausoleum, for he chose to be buried in front of the altar under an inscribed marble ledger stone.

[10] Cosin was sometimes accused of over-building, and there is some truth in this, though posterity has many reasons to be grateful for his zeal. Green argues quite persuasively, however, that his activities should be seen as local contributions to a national endeavour to strengthen the authority of the Church at a time when confident new leaders were emerging. These men were offering a new liberal theology, dignified, formal modes of worship in settings of some splendour, and imposing tighter discipline on congregations. The Laudians were overthrown by the civil war, but they returned with the Restoration, and effectively took control of the Church. Their task was made easier by the separation of the nonconformists from the national Church. Never before have Cosin’s building schemes been so thoroughly investigated and explained. Adrian Green has given them a context, produced a chronology for these numerous works, identified craftsmen and designers, traced sources for designs, and understood many of the signals they send forth. This is a most illuminating and thought-provoking book, that brings forward John Cosin as one of the shapers of the seventeenth-century Church. Whether you accept that he was ‘Building for England’ or believe that he was primarily driven by a personal obsession to renovate, restore and create beautiful settings for worship remains an open question. But Cosin rightfully merits the recognition he receives here.

University of York, January 2017

Joanna M. Martin (ed.), The Maitland Quarto: A New Edition of Cambridge, Magdalene College, Pepys Library MS 1408 (Boydell & Brewer, 2015)

Joanna M. Martin (ed.), The Maitland Quarto: A New Edition of Cambridge, Magdalene College, Pepys Library MS 1408 (Boydell & Brewer, 2015). ISBN: 9781897976401, 540 pp., £40.00.

Reviewed by Ruth M. E. Oldman

[1] The Maitland Quarto (MQ) is considered one of the most important collections of Scottish literature produced in the later Middle Ages. A companion manuscript to the Maitland Folio, the compilation contains a completed collection of poetry written by Sir Richard Maitland of Lethington, as well as poems by Alexander Arbuthnot and 9781897976401an anonymous author. Despite the prominence of the manuscript in Older Scots studies, previous editions of the MQ have been out of print for many years and only selections of the manuscript have been published since W. A. Craigie’s edition in 1920. It goes without saying, then, that The Maitland Quarto: A New Edition of Cambridge, Magdalene College, Pepys Library MS 1408, edited by Joanna M. Martin, has been long overdue. The edition provides a comprehensive look at the culture, textual history, and contents of the MQ and makes the details of the manuscript accessible to scholars of both Older Scots literature and medieval literature in general.

[2] As is typical with many printed editions of manuscripts, Martin begins with an Introduction that examines the contexts of the MQ and provides analysis of the poems. The subsections of the Introduction flows from a general history of the manuscript, to the text and text’s authors, to the culture surrounding the MQ, to the textual relationships between the poems and other manuscripts. The information within the Introduction is very thorough, providing enough context that those new to Older Scots studies understand the information but scholars established in the field still find useful analysis. Those unfamiliar with Older Scots literature will also find the information accessible and critically stimulating, as Martin does well placing the poems of the MQ within a greater medieval context, referencing and comparing to more popular poets William Dunbar and David Lyndsay.

[3] Another positive attribute of Martin’s critical edition is her presentation of the poems. For the most part, the transcriptions are direct from the manuscript, though as Martin explains about the edition “a fully annotated edition of MQ’s texts is required for a literary and historical appreciation of the poems. The present edition makes all of MQ’s texts available for the first time in a critical edition with full interpretative apparatus” (38). Although she retains the spelling and order of the MQ, scribal errors are edited and noted within footnotes and punctuation is editorial. While this does alter the layout and direct presentation of the manuscript, it makes the text accessible to a wider audience. By including modernized punctuation and mechanics, those unfamiliar with the intricacies Older Scots manuscripts—or medieval manuscripts in general—can better appreciate the poems.

[4] The interpretative apparatus at the end of the edition is thorough and comprehensive, making it an appropriate close to the text. Roughly as long as the manuscript itself, Martin provides detailed explanatory notes for each poem, two appendices, a glossary of Older Scots terms, and an index of first names and lines. Two things especially must be commented upon regarding the end matter: the ease of navigation and detail it provides for scholars. The way in which the information is organized makes searching through the manuscript faster and less daunting. The Index of Names allows scholars to quickly access poems that may fit with their research topics; it is as if the Ctrl-F function were applied to text. This feature streamlines the research process, allowing scholars to make the most of their time. The detail of the explanatory notes is also particularly useful to scholars, as it gives a general analysis of the poem followed by commentaries on specific lines. Without overwhelming the reader with information, it opens a dialogue that allows academics to respond with their own interpretations. One feature that was particularly attractive is the inclusion of where each copy of the poem could be found, the authorship of the poem within the MQ and other manuscripts, and the date of publication. Several poems also include the stanza type and rhyming scheme. This is, again, very useful for those conducting research on specific poems, allowing scholars to maximize their time analyzing rather than searching through additional resources.

[5] There are only two detractions from the edition that this reviewer could find. Despite a thorough Introduction, the material is at time dense and did not have the most effective flow. One example is the conversation about the authors within the MQ and the order of the MQ texts. The Introduction begins by discussing Maitland the author, his poems, and their literary culture. Martin then discusses the shaping of the corpus and how Maitland’s poems are in two separate groups. The conversation then transitions to the order of other MQ poems, followed by analyses of Arbuthnot and the anonymous verse. While there is a flow of logic, the organization of these sections seems somewhat jumbled and may be more effective in a different order. The second critique is the text does not provide images of the manuscript for comparison purposes. Martin mentions the editorial choices she made while transcribing, though there are no images that allow the reader to compare her choices to those within MQ. While one could refer to Craigie’s edition, it is out of print and likely difficult to access. The image could also contribute to the aesthetic, as otherwise the edition is solely text.

[6] The critiques above are minor when considering the benefits this text brings to Older Scots studies. Martin has filled a hole for many scholars who have needed an edition such as this for their research. Additionally, the text is not just for scholars but enthusiasts of Scottish verse. The accessibility of the edition allows those who know little about the language or history to still enjoy the beauty of the poetry. Martin is able to appeal to beginners through seasoned academics. The up-to-date, comprehensive information included is a pivotal starting point for anyone studying Maitland’s poetry or the literary cultures of the MQ. Scholars and enthusiasts of Older Scots literature and literary cultures would be remiss if they fail to add this text to their library.

Indiana University of Pennsylvania, November 2016.

Alasdair A. MacDonald (ed.), The Gude and Godlie Ballatis (Boydell & Brewer, 2015)

Alasdair A. MacDonald (ed.), The Gude and Godlie Ballatis (Boydell & Brewer, 2015). ISBN: 9781897976418, xii+414 pp., £40.00.

Reviewed by Crawford Gribben

[1] The Gude and Godlie Ballatis is a collection of verse and prose texts, the first known appearance of which occurred in the years immediately following upon the beginning of the Scottish reformation. Throughout the later sixteenth century, the collection was republished with an expanding canon, and from the eighteenth century its content imagesbecame the subject of sustained antiquarian study. Scholars across disciplines investigated the provenance of the collection and began to publish critical editions, including Laing’s A compendious book of psalms and spiritual songs (1868) and Mitchell’s edition of A compendious book of godly and spiritual songs (1897), published by the Scottish Text Society. As The Gude and Godlie Ballatis were brought back into circulation, Alasdair A. MacDonald explains, it became established as “both an important document in the religious and cultural history of early modern Scotland and as something of a classic of Older Scots literature” (p. 1.). MacDonald, who is an emeritus professor at the University of Groningen, has been working on this edition since his fellowship in the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities at the University of Edinburgh (1979-80). His new edition replaces the earlier Scottish Text Society edition as being based on an earlier text (1565), and also includes material in verse that was added to later editions. The result of this work is an outstanding edition of a seminal source in the literary, historical and religious study of early modern Scotland.

[2] The Gude and Godlie Ballatis does not appear to have survived in manuscript form, though individual items within the collection are preserved in scribal volumes. MacDonald includes in his fine introduction a substantial discussion of the provenance of individual texts or text-portions: he documents the circulation of parts of the collection from the early 1540s (p. 8), and offers nuanced discussion of whether, as several scholars have claimed, John Knox cited text from what became The Gude and Godlie Ballatis in his history of the reformation in Scotland (this section of Knox’s text is thought to have been written in 1566). The collection, emerging in print, appears to have gathered together earlier texts, which “may have circulated independently in manuscript or as broadsides” (p. 13), and to have been printed for the first time after the beginnings of the Scottish reformation.

[3] The Gude and Godlie Ballatis therefore represents a key document in the early history of Scottish print. MacDonald includes in his introduction an impressive survey of Scottish print culture, arguing that the collection was the “first fruits” of the collaboration between Thomas Bassandyne and John Scot (p. 14), a publication that emerged only four years after Scot was penalized for “surreptitiously printing a book by the Catholic controversialist, Ninian Winzet” (p. 15) – which may be a signal of John Scot’s rapidly changing confessional identity as much as the financial necessities of the new technology of print within the limited Scottish market. There was certainly a readership for the kind of text included within The Gude and Godlie Ballatis. Scottish Calvinists, like their brethren elsewhere, identified the Psalms as being central to public and private worship, and the collection, while including material that ranged far beyond that suitable for individual devotion or congregational praise, certainly included this kind of material. In part, the anthology looked like a prayer book, beginning with texts of the ten commandments, the apostles creed, and the Lord’s prayer, and texts for hymns and prayers composed for such events as ordinary household meals or the celebration of the Lord’s supper. For the content of the collection is varied, including “psalm versifications, biblical paraphrases, prayers, hymns, devotional lyrics, articulations of doctrine, religious propaganda, and satires arising from the controversies of the time” (p. 36). These items represent compositions that appear to be new, as well as re-workings of older Catholic texts, material that was included in Coverdale’s Goostly psalmes and spirituall songs (c. 1535), and, in a small number of instances, material of continental origin, including several items by Martin Luther, all of which is rendered in Scots. The Lutheran influence is telling, especially in the earlier part of the collection, and The Gude and Godlie Ballatis thus becomes indicative of the movement from Lutheran to Calvinist influence within the Scottish reformation, and of the cultural reach of the Scottish diaspora, through which Scottish writing may have circulated in communities dotted around the North Sea and the Baltic (p. 38). The Gude and Godlie Ballatis therefore becomes an evidence of religious, textual and linguistic exchange, as protestants in Scotland and on the Continent developed a trade in theological ideas and texts that challenges the assumptions of many accounts of the sterility and isolation of Scottish cultural production within early modernity. Some of these texts appear to have circulated widely in post-reformation Scotland: the Inverness Kirk Session book, 1604-16, included several stanzas on a flyleaf (according to Laing – this text has since been lost), and Thomas White, a Catholic and then Reformed clergyman in Haddington, included several lines in his notebooks.

[4] MacDonald’s commentary The Gude and Godlie Ballatis is engaged and informed. In one instance, he notes the ambiguous reception of the terminology of “sacrament,” but perhaps underestimates the extent to which his subjects’ concern about a reference to the “sacrament of the altar” relates more to the reference to altar than to the reference to sacraments: as MacDonald notes, Calvinists were quite happy to use the latter term (p. 17). Overall, this is a very fine edition of a very important text. Scholars of the northern Renaissance will be grateful to MacDonald and the Scottish Text Society for their work in providing us with such an excellent resource.

Queen’s University Belfast, October 2016

Stephen J. Casselli, Divine Rule Maintained: Anthony Burgess, Covenant Theology, and the Place of the Law in Reformed Scholasticism (Reformation Heritage Books, 2016)

Stephen J. Casselli, Divine Rule Maintained: Anthony Burgess, Covenant Theology, and the Place of the Law in Reformed Scholasticism (Reformation Heritage Books, 2016). ISBN: 9781601783509, 188 pp.+xiv, $40.00.

Reviewed by Harrison Perkins

[1] The Studies on the Westminster Assembly series, edited by Chad van Dixhoorn and John R. Bower, endeavors to fill 783509the hole in our knowledge of figures, documents, and events connected to the development of British Reformation thought and the intersection between religion and politics in England, Ireland, and Scotland. Stephen Casselli’s book contributes to that project by exploring one of the major works by a prominent figure of the Westminster Assembly, Anthony Burgess’ Vindiciae Legis. The thrust of his book is to examine how Burgess explains the relationship of biblical law to its various applications in history.

[2] The first highlight of the book is Casselli’s treatment of Burgess’ life, and especially his education. He gives a very informative biographical summary of Burgess’ early life and training and his various pastoral callings, including his time at the Westminster Assembly. Most helpful is his description of the education administered at Cambridge during the seventeenth century. He makes clear the rigorous training they received in logic, languages, philosophy, debate and classic literature. It is clear that this type of education supports Casselli’s broader argument that Reformed thinkers of the period did not implement scholastic methods as a rationalistic system of metaphysics, but that making scholastic distinctions and definitions for the sake of debate was simply bred into them in all of their schooling. His summary here is helpful for any scholar looking for an accessible summary of educational methods and an entryway into further sources through the footnotes.

[3] The bulk of the book is devoted to exploring how Burgess treats the law of God in various periods of history. He explains Burgess’ view that the “natural law” was given to Adam. This law is essentially the same as what the Reformed theological tradition calls the “moral law,” which is summarized by the Ten Commandments. This law was given to Adam and, as a covenant wholly dependent upon obedience, which Adam violated, explains humanity’s fall from a paradisaical state into sin. This Burgess takes to be part of an intellectual shift in the early modern period away from realist notions of how sin was transmitted from Adam to humanity to more representative notions, associated with covenant theology.

[4] This same law was also given to Moses, but was not given to him as a covenant wholly dependent upon obedience, but as part of God’s plan of salvation that Reformed thought poses as substantially unified throughout history. The use of the law in this covenant of grace is not to set humanity’s probation, but to guide the lives of God’s chosen people, Israel. Burgess argues that use of the law to guide people’s lives in godliness is not abrogated by the coming of Christ, but people still owe obedience to God from gratitude for salvation.

[5] Casselli does well to direct our attention to scholastic methods implemented at various places throughout Burgess’ Vindiciae Legis. He also helpfully navigates us through some of the historical debates that were likely shaping the polemical edges of Burgess’ explanations. Overall, there is great strength in his presentation that helps us better understand a significant feature of seventeenth-century theology, i.e. the role of God’s law.

[6] Yet, there are a few weaknesses to this study that readers should note. Casselli seems over-eager to use his historical findings to address modern day debates in the Reformed tradition. This is clear in his introduction and also throughout the work, as many footnotes direct us to theological works pertaining to current dispute rather than Burgess’ historical context. The conclusion gives some prescriptive judgment of which positions from his historical study are theologically correct.

[7] Although Casselli states that there is no way to prove that Burgess’ views are those primarily adopted into the Westminster Confession of Faith’s chapter on the law, he leaves us with the implication that they are. The import of this is that if the Confession’s view is Burgess’ view, that limits the scope of acceptable doctrine in the seventeenth-century church (and for those who still hold this confession). This, however, does not seem to take account of the consensual nature of confessional documents. Although they were drafted by particular people, their scope was not limited  only to the views  of those who drafted them. Additionally, it is not helpful to imply that Burgess stands behind the doctrine of the confessional document if no suggestions can be made as to how his view came to be contained there.

[8] Lastly, in a work focused largely upon one historical work, many questions are left unanswered. Casselli does provide a helpful summary of the contents of Burgess’ book, and a guide to the debates that likely stood behind his arguments. On the other hand, he does little to show the actual reception of the book, beyond showing that it was originally written as lectures and published at the encouragement of other theologians. More significantly, Casselli does not address literary historical matters such as what significance this book actually played within the life and career of Burgess and does little to explore its relation to his other works.

[9] Despite these criticisms, Casselli’s book is well worth reading. It provides a helpful framework for understanding the historical context and debates surrounding the Vindiciae Legis, and gives many good insights into how the Reformed tradition relates to scholastic methodology.

Queen’s University Belfast, October 2016

Jason Powell (ed.), The Complete Works of Sir Thomas Wyatt the Elder, Volume I, Prose (Oxford University Press, 2016)

Jason Powell (ed.), The Complete Works of Sir Thomas Wyatt the Elder, Volume I, Prose (Oxford University Press, 2016). ISBN: 978-0-1992-2860-7 (h/bk), 485 pp., 11 b&w ills., £125.

Reviewed by Chris Stamatakis

[1] As a prose writer, Thomas Wyatt has largely gone ignored by literary historiography. After a brief burst of interest in 9780199228607the decades after Wyatt’s death in 1542 – Richard Sherry’s Treatise of schemes and tropes (1550), an aid to the ‘better vnderstanding of good authors’, acknowledges ‘that ornamente Syr Thomas Wyat’ as a writer who ‘flouryshed’ in eloquence, sought out ‘elegance and proper speaches’, and ‘endeuoured’ to make the English language ‘copyous and plentyfull’ – Wyatt’s prose rhetoric, his facility in ‘proper speaches’, has typically been overlooked. Wyatt does not, for instance, feature in Morris Croll’s magisterial Style, Rhetoric, and Rhythm (1966), and has rarely been discussed by recent commentators as a prose writer at all.

[2] Yet he was, in some ways, no less a pioneer of prose genres than a poetic innovator. Wyatt’s Quyete of Mynde (a translation from Plutarch’s Moralia and a self-professedly ‘lytell boke’ dedicated to Queen Katherine of Aragon) is the first printed English translation from Plutarch, and indeed the first classical moral essay published in English. His prose output seems intrinsically entwined with his poetic corpus, and invites many of the same literary-critical questions: questions about his authorial presence in the text; about his ventriloquism, personification, use of voice; about his bivalent strategies of evasiveness on the one hand and crystalline precision on the other; about his adroitness in constructing an illusion of privacy and spoken immediacy; about his techniques of translation from European vernaculars and Latin, and (in the Quyete of Mynde) his perhaps surprising decision to metaphrase verse quotations as prose; and about the character of his syntactical stamp – at times a stark, terse style, what Wyatt himself christened a ‘shorte maner of speche’.

[3] The privileging of Wyatt-the-poet partly reflects a regressive stance towards early Tudor prose. Henrician prose has readily been dismissed, to use Sir Thomas Elyot’s terms from his 1531 Boke named the Governour, as a mere ‘shadowe, or figure of the auncient rhetorike’, an impoverished, dilapidated simulacrum of classical eloquence, something falling short of ‘the other harmony of prose’ grandiloquently monikered by Dryden in the late seventeenth century. Critical neglect of Wyatt’s prose, specifically, has been exacerbated by the absence of a proper edition: Kenneth Muir’s 1963 Life and Letters of Sir Thomas Wyatt is a quaint but ultimately rushed, incomplete collection, whose critical inadequacies are only now being remedied by Jason Powell’s meticulous, monumental, authoritative edition, part a two-volume ‘Complete Works’ of Wyatt, and the first complete, scholarly edition of Wyatt’s prose.

[4] Unlike his poems, Wyatt’s prose is (conveniently) dated, inviting a narrative of his cursus as a writer. Powell’s edition adopts a four-fold division, by genre (which coincidentally tallies with chronology): first, The Quyete of Mynde; then Wyatt’s two ‘Fatherly Letters’ of counsel to his son; next, his ‘Diplomatic Correspondence’ comprising thirty-five letters and memoranda from his European embassies; finally, two ‘Treason Trial Documents’, namely Wyatt’s so-called Declaration (composed during his imprisonment in the Tower at the Privy Council’s request, detailing his dealings with traitors during his ambassadorial enterprises) and his Defence (a longer forensic apologia ostensibly designed as a trial speech although Wyatt was pardoned before he could deliver it).

[5] Powell frames Wyatt’s prose with critical introductions, prefatory headnotes, and dexterous but economical footnotes offering extensive biographical and historical annotation, linguistic glosses, and lexicographic ballast. This edition, unashamedly (and necessarily) scholarly though admirably readable, is most obviously a masterpiece of bibliography and codicology. It painstakingly reconstructs the composition of Wyatt’s texts; charts, via stemmatics, the transmission of his prose and gauges its reach, reception, and ‘influence’; attends to the implications of the mise-en-page; and ventures new archival discoveries (identifying the unknown recipient of Wyatt’s last surviving diplomatic letter). Not only a triumph of book history, this edition also establishes invaluable compositional and historical contexts, detailing the genesis, sources, generic affiliations, and rhetorical pedigree of Wyatt’s prose. Powell’s architecture of notes, appendices, and glossaries makes this writing newly legible and intelligible, even to readers familiar with Tudor court culture and Wyatt’s biography.

[6] Book historians and scholars of manuscript circulation will find endless rewards in the textual introductions, apparatus criticus, appendicular descriptions of textual witnesses, and the several high-quality black-and-white illustrations of selected Wyattian prose works. Historians of Tudor politics and diplomacy will relish the wealth of proxy material in the notes and appendices, including biographies of the dramatis personae who formed Wyatt’s diplomatic household. Casual readers and students of literature, oratory, and the arts of translation will rethink thematic approaches to Wyatt’s oeuvre: the detailed introductions before each sub-group answer a long-overdue need to place the writer and his writings in their historical, courtly, diplomatic, and literary contexts, offering lucid readings of an author whose writings frequently remain inscrutable. Powell sensibly substitutes the wild goose chase for ‘authorial intentions’ with tangible evidence of ‘authorial practice’, placing Wyatt’s prose in both literary tradition and early Tudor manuscript culture.

[7] This methodology invites renewed scrutiny of, inter alia, the role played by fathers, the applications of memory, and the pairing of ‘diligence’ with its pragmatic, performative counterpart ‘dexterity’ in the duties of Henrician diplomats. Perhaps most crucially, this edition casts light on Wyatt’s versatility as a prose writer. Powell illuminates some of Wyatt’s trademark stylistic, rhetorical facets, not least the functional ambiguity of his diplomatic language, fusing strategic vagueness with particularising detail. A fascinating leitmotif centres on Wyatt’s deft manipulation of orality. As the king’s ‘oratour’ (Wyatt’s own self-appellation in the Declaration), Wyatt treats royal instructions as scripted responses to perform, despite Charles V’s assertion that ‘kynges be not kings of tonges’. Yet in this same capacity as orator, Wyatt the ambassador, no mere metonym for king and country, necessarily translates this script into improvised locutions during his encounters with foreign dignitaries, turning these conversations back into oralised script in his letters to his taskmasters at home.

[8] Wyatt’s lexical dexterity, the tacit hero of this volume, is charted by the fascinating table of ‘OED Antedatings’ which lists Wyatt’s inaugural use of terms found in, or predating, the Oxford English Dictionary’s citations – one of many gems necessarily squirrelled away in the paratext of Powell’s edition. This catalogue attests Wyatt’s obsession with writerly and readerly procedures, especially those terms figuring the arts of conversation (‘conferring’ as an activity of discussing), or failures to communicate (‘mysrelation’ as false reports, ‘non agrement’ as a failed consensus), or the interface between oral and written (‘discourse’ denoting both a ‘written treatment’ and ‘a talk’), or the modes of signification itself (the verb ‘inport’ for ‘import’, the noun ‘intelligens’ as both ‘news’ and ‘understanding’). Wyatt’s evident versatility, interlingual facility, and appeal to diverse audiences are among this volume’s many intellectual payoffs. Powell’s edition is accessible, rigorous, comprehensive, and indispensable, and will not easily be surpassed.

University College London, September 2016

Dolly MacKinnon, Earls Colne’s Early Modern Landscapes (Ashgate, 2014)

Dolly MacKinnon, Earls Colne’s Early Modern Landscapes (Ashgate, 2014).  ISBN 978-0-7546-3964-0, 323 pp. +xvii, £95.00.

Reviewed by Philippa Woodcock

[1] In contrast to ‘the new trajectory of landscape history’ (6) by Walsham, Whyte and Tilley, which survey and analyse changes to a large geographical sweep of the religious or economic landscape, MacKinnon’s work is the result of over twenty years of research on one particular Essex village, Earls Colne. MacKinnon acknowledges that she is not the first historian to have focused on this village: in fact, its history is ‘A Well-trodden field’. (1) Yimageset, she is one of the few to have perhaps such a close connection to it, as she allows the text to be peppered with anecdotes of her own time in Earls Colne: when she visited the priory wall in 1993 (256); or a walk of the village in 1991. (288) What clearly attracted MacKinnon, and others to this village is never hidden by the author. As well as the remaining physical traces of the early modern landscape, it is fabulously well documented.

[2] Owing its name to the de Vere Earls of Oxford, MacKinnon says she aims to tell the cultural history of the village in the seventeenth century, to ‘determine the ways in which certain people inscribed meaning into the creation and renovation of the landscape.’ (4) She begins by outlining the village’s pre-history, its physical boundaries, and its rise as a centre of medieval religious and economic activity, when it boasted a Priory, two manor houses, and a parish church. She then tells us what is missing from today’s landscape, the Priory church long having disappeared, along with a grammar school and the de Veres themselves, whose influence was written over by ‘the forward thinking aspirations of new families intent upon writing themselves into the landscape’. (35) Thus, given these gaps, she argues the way to access the past is ‘to step from the page into the sensual world’ (6) of the accounts of those ‘men, antiquarians and historians, who variously relied upon the evidence from the landscape, material culture, word of mouth, memory and the written records of the village’. (7) She adds a caveat that the words of women must also be listened to, and indeed, throughout the book. MacKinnon gives us the voice of the village’s marginal, or silenced characters. She overturns ideas about a ‘heterotopic landscape’ (4) to ‘reconstitute aspects of the lives of some families and individuals from Earls Colne, predominantly but not exclusively from the gentry and below…whose life experience both in and beyond the village, form threads throughout the book’. (10)

[3] However, the strongest voice, binding these experiences is that of the vicar, Ralph Josselin, who arrived in 1640, and remained in Earls Colne until his death in 1683. His likeness remains, flanking the west door to the parish church, St Andrews. MacKinnon is not the first to explore his diary, which chronicles life through the religious upheaval of the Civil Wars, the Republic, and the Restoration, in an often surprisingly liberal way, but she does use it as a vital narrative thread to link what is really an exploration of the religious landscape through extremely close reading of documents in the Essex Record Office.

[4] The text is organised in three parts, each made up of short case study chapters. MacKinnon begins by exploring how people in the past wrote about and represented their world, in antiquarian accounts, maps, and formal legal texts such as manorial records and religious testaments. Chapter five explores the trespass of ‘goodman’ William Death in 1652/53, a yeoman farmer, and MacKinnon masterfully reconstructs a map to his economic activity, social reputation, and his physical occupation of space, as well as the contemporary renovation of the landscape. This is a lesson to fully understanding records in their manorial and religious context, neither of which can stand separately, for the manor was ‘the bounty of God’s landscape’. (57)

[5] Section II is a close analysis of the parish church, St Andrew’s, seen as the backbone of the landscape, and built from agricultural wealth, such as a medieval endowment from saffron fields. It became the focus of village religious life when the Priory church was dismantled, and the de Vere tombs moved to the parish church nave. Its bells defined the soundscape and were ‘one of the ways in which the views of the parish were heard’, even providing ‘sonic slander’. (75-6, 252) Indeed, the church was more important than the manor house, for it was a space accessible to all, rather than just the private space of the Harlakenden family, the lords of the manor. One of the great strengths of MacKinnon’s approach is to attempt to repopulate this church with people and their political concerns, which the seventeenth century church mediated. For example, by re-contextualising ‘specific archives’ she is able to provide a guide to seating patterns and social distinctions through disputes over pews, and more innovatively, ship money petitions. We can now answer that question so often attached to religious space ‘Where did the women sit?’. The answer is at the back on narrow planks, unless incredibly deaf, in which case they enjoyed excellent seats near the front. When focused on burial, MacKinnon is intent on bringing the entire village back into the church, and not just those names which remain in memorials, but also of the women who buried their children in unmarked graves. Sources such as the ‘discordant polyphony’ (227) of graffiti, brass slabs, brickwork, ‘a dilapidated duster’ (177) from a heraldic funeral, and oral histories of those excluded from holy burial are re-read, restoring their creators to a place in the community, and supporting MacKinnon’s argument of an incomplete Protestant Reformation.

[6] However, just as much as this is a virtuoso display of how to read and work with documents of all natures, it also carries a warning. Landscapes change, and buildings change, for ‘the parish church, like the landscape, was not a static entity but rather was subject to constant reforms.’ (160) All these records ‘reflect bias of the record keepers through their inclusions and omissions, and offer perception of others’ lives in terms of moral achievement and failure.’ (197) Judgements were evolving as to who belonged to the community, and this community’s ideas about transgression, public, private and communal space. We are reminded strongly of this in part three, where MacKinnon explores events which now seem ridiculous or obscene, and groups which have sat beyond the traditional narrative. Thus, MacKinnon dissects presence of the devil in a mysteriously tolling bell in the 1630s, recorded in 1691 by the credulous Harlakenden family tutor Thomas Woodcock. Once Puritan Divines had intervened “the Noise never gave any disturbance after.” (253) The suicide of a single woman, seen as evidence of diabolical influence, is explored with sympathy as the act of a socially and economically marginalised individual. Likewise, records of Afro-Caribbean parishioners, and the growing Quaker population, one of whom protested by urinating in the parish church, remind us to think of the early modern landscape as a vast network, connected to an expanding British global presence, where more recent social exclusion did not have a place.

[7] This text will inevitably be of interest to local historians, focused on East Anglia, and those working on the socio-cultural landscapes of the seventeenth century, but they may prefer to consult it in a library, given the cost. Indeed, MacKinnon reminds us that it is a shame that ‘family historians and academics rarely collaborate.’, illustrating the resources available from non-academic societies studying Earls Colne. (287) Having established the landscape, it is as much a biography of Earls Colne’s inhabitants, as that of Josselin, an outsider who reached into their lives, just as MacKinnon now does. The text is also very engaging, arranged in short chapters, and there are only a very few proof errors. Yet, I do have reservations. Other critics have pointed to a lack of framework, but I felt that the book was pulling in perhaps too many directions at once. Is it an attempt to repopulate the landscape with people and their beliefs, or is it a history of the religious landscape, including its physical monuments and ever-evolving place names? Perhaps given its narrow geographical focus, it can be both. Equally, whilst we have the landscape of Earls Colne, more could be done to think about the village beyond its bounds. Various characters belonging to London or to other parishes come into Earls Colne – for example, Ashwell, previously vicar of Assington in Suffolk, the Cressenden and Harlakenden families, or even Josselin, but how and why do they arrive here? What value do their connections to other places have in the village itself? Finally, for a text on the landscape, which discusses maps, and physical geography, no readable map of the village is itself provided. Perhaps this is deliberate, leaving the reader to make their own mental map, Mackinnon having told us of her landscape, ‘leaves the reader to deal with theirs.’ (4)

The University of Warwick, September 2016