These essays concentrate on the social history and political thought of the English Revolution of 1640-1660, fields in which the author has been a leading contributor to historical discussion. Topics covered include the origin and course of the revolt against the government of Charles I, the social character of the revolution, and important political figures such as Strafford, Pym, and Clarendon. One set of studies focuses on the thought of Thomas Hobbes, whose political philosophy was closely related to the revolutionary experience. Other essays set the English Revolution in the wider context of early modern European revolutions, and look at the English royal court, courtiership, and the practice of dissimulation associated with court politics.
Table of Contents
Contents: Introduction; Prolegomena to the comparative history of revolution in early modern Europe; The English revolution,1640-60; The social interpretation of the English Revolution; The court and the country: a note on political terminology in the earlier 17th century; Sir Edward Stanhope’s advice to Thomas Wentworth, Viscount of Wentworth, concerning the deputyship of Ireland: an unpublished letter of 1631; Did Strafford change sides?; The political beliefs of John Pym to 1629; The authorship of Mans Mortallitie; Thomas Hobbes’s departure from England in 1640: an unpublished letter; Hobbes on our mind; Hobbes’s early philosophical development; Clarendon and Hobbes; Cudworth and Hobbes on ’is’ and ’ought’; Sir Thomas Wyatt and the court of Henry VIII: the courtier’s ambivalence; The historical significance of lying and dissimulation; Index.
'Zagorin's writing is a joy to read, containing concise yet detailed background descriptions of key events, historical actors presented with care and depth, and a consistency of style despite the span of years covered.' Parergon