England, 1485-1642

Sarah Covington

in Renaissance and Reformation

ISBN: 9780195399301
Published online May 2010 | | DOI:
England, 1485-1642

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  • Modern History (1700 to 1945)
  • Medieval and Renaissance Philosophy



The scholarship on Tudor and Stuart England constitutes a parallel universe in its own right, with its sometimes acrimonious debates threatening to paralyze the student (and even specialist) from coming to any clarity or conclusions at all (unless, perhaps, he or she simply submits to the latest historiographical orthodoxy). Aside from the English Civil War, which has been called the “Mount Everest” of English scholarship, debates have centered upon whether the Reformation was “top down” or “bottom up”: religion as a whole was Protestant, Catholic, or something in between; the nobility and the gentry in crisis or ascendant; the Restoration representative of continuity or change; and the events of 1688 momentous, or not. Terms such as “revisionism,” “postrevisionism,” or “neo-Whiggism” convey such confusion, but they are unavoidable when it comes to entering, on a deeper level, the notoriously vexed scholarship of the period. Such debates also testify to the extremely rich nature of the Tudor and Stuart period in England, which continues to yield new insights, interpretations, and conclusions regarding political culture, social relations, the nature of religious belief and allegiance, or causality when it comes to an event as momentous as the civil war. The following entry is limited to the most important or representative works, including studies whose claims have been long discredited or put aside but nevertheless remain important in conveying the full scope of the research and conclusions yielded by the subject at hand. Many more sources (and subjects) could have been added, just as databases such as the Royal Historical Society’s annual bibliography continue to list hundreds of new books and articles each year.

Article.  19366 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945) ; Medieval and Renaissance Philosophy

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