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A Social History of England, 1500–1750
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Book description

The rise of social history has had a transforming influence on the history of early modern England. It has broadened the historical agenda to include many previously little-studied, or wholly neglected, dimensions of the English past. It has also provided a fuller context for understanding more established themes in the political, religious, economic and intellectual histories of the period. This volume serves two main purposes. Firstly, it summarises, in an accessible way, the principal findings of forty years of research on English society in this period, providing a comprehensive overview of social and cultural change in an era vital to the development of English social identities. Second, the chapters, by leading experts, also stimulate fresh thinking by not only taking stock of current knowledge but also extending it, identifying problems, proposing fresh interpretations and pointing to unexplored possibilities. It will be essential reading for students, teachers and general readers.

Reviews

'Teachers and scholars of early modern England will rejoice at the publication of this book. Wrightson has joined with 17 others to describe how ‘English society became more defined, institutionally, ideologically and culturally’ while it also ‘became more diversified regionally and socially.’ The book presents cutting-edge research by eminent scholars; the older approach that sought to chart the rise and fall of classes in early modern England has given way to a model that reflects the ‘cultural turn’. … Essential.'

D. R. Bisson Source: CHOICE

'Good textbooks on the social history of ‘early modern’ England are a rare thing … The field has come some way … as scholarship sought to expand, clarify and nuance the initial findings of that generation. This collection [with Wrightson as editor] reflects those efforts, and it will be of immeasurable value to students and teachers of the period, collating as it does much of the most important recent scholarship on a variety of critical topics into manageable chapters … Each contribution has its own argument and its own nuances. This book admirably synthesises this knowledge in an accessible and stimulating way and occupies a critical space in the literature on this period of English history.'

Jonathan Healey Source: The English Historical Review

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