The common theme of this selection of articles by David Cressy, published over the last twenty-five years, is the linkage of elite and popular culture and the participation of ordinary people in the central events of their age. The collection also traces a development in historical style and method, from quantitative applications using statistics to qualitative telling of tales. Seven essays under the heading 'Opportunities' explore problems of education, literacy and cultural attainment within the gendered and hierarchically ordered society of Elizabeth and Stuart England. Eight more under the heading 'Passages' examine social and cultural interactions, kinship, migration, community celebrations, and rituals in the life-cycle. The collection brings together a coherent body of research that is much cited in current scholarship and continues to shape the agenda for the social and cultural history of early modern England.
Table of Contents
Contents: Preface; Opportunities: Describing the social order of Elizabethan and Stuart England; Levels of illiteracy in England 1530-1730; Literacy in context: meaning and measurement in early modern England; Books as totems in 17th century England and New England; Educational opportunity in Tudor and Stuart England; Francis Bacon and the advancement of schooling; A drudgery of schoolmasters: the teaching profession in Elizabethan and Stuart England; Passages: The vast and furious ocean: the passage to Puritan New England; The seasonality of marriage in Old and New England; Kinship and kin interaction in early modern England; Purification, thanksgiving, and the churching of women in post-reformation England; Gender trouble and cross-dressing in Early Modern England; Death and the social order: the funerary preferences of Elizabethan gentlemen; Binding the nation: the Bonds of Association, 1584 and 1696; The Protestant calendar and the vocabulary of celebration in early modern England; Index.
'These essays, with not a light-weight filler among them, gathered together in this valuable collection unfailingly demonstrate a relentless curiosity, a lively imagination, cool judgement, and a determination to seek convincing answers to difficult questions. They reveal massive research foundations, an enviable capacity for synthesis, and a commitment to interdisciplinary which will recommend itself to readers of this journal.' Literature and History 'Collected now in one volume, Cressy's disparate articles, given the breadth of their subject matter, should appeal to students of almost any aspect of Tudor and Stuart England.' Sixteenth Century Journal