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A Social History of England, 1500–1750

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textbook Award Winner

Part of A Social History of England

Keith Wrightson, Cathy Shrank, Paul Griffiths, Linda Pollock, Malcolm Gaskill, Alec Ryrie, Adam Fox, Jane Whittle, Phil Withington, Tim Stretton, John Walter, Adrian Green, Henry French, Craig Muldrew, Jeremy Boulton, Alexandra Shepard, Alison Games, Andy Wood
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  • Date Published: February 2017
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107614598

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About the Authors
  • 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.

    • The first overview of early modern English social history in more than three decades
    • Brings together all the leading experts in the field, providing an up-to-date critical synthesis of existing literature
    • An accessible and authoritative starting point for students, teachers and general readers
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    • Winner, 2017 Choice Outstanding Academic Title

    Reviews & endorsements

    '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, 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, The English Historical Review

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    Product details

    • Date Published: February 2017
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107614598
    • length: 432 pages
    • dimensions: 228 x 162 x 23 mm
    • weight: 0.62kg
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction: framing early modern England Keith Wrightson
    Part I. Discovering the English:
    1. Crafting the nation Cathy Shrank
    2. Surveying the people Paul Griffiths
    3. Little commonwealths I: the household and family relationships Linda Pollock
    4. Little commonwealths II: communities Malcolm Gaskill
    Part II. Currents of Change:
    5. Reformations Alec Ryrie
    6. Words, words, words: education, literacy and print Adam Fox
    7. Land and people Jane Whittle
    8. Urbanization Phil Withington
    9. The people and the law Tim Stretton
    10. Authority and protest John Walter
    11. Consumption and material culture Adrian Green
    Part III. Social Identities:
    12. 'Gentlemen': re-making the English ruling class Henry French
    13. The 'middling sort': an emergent cultural identity Craig Muldrew
    14. The 'meaner sort': labouring people and the poor Jeremy Boulton
    15. Gender, the body and sexuality Alexandra Shepard
    16. The English and 'others' in England and beyond Alison Games
    Coda: history, time and social memory Andy Wood.

  • Editor

    Keith Wrightson, Yale University, Connecticut
    Keith Wrightson is Randolph W. Townsend Jr Professor of History at Yale University, Connecticut. He previously held positions at the Universities of St Andrews and Cambridge, where he was Professor of Social History. His publications include the ground-breaking English Society, 1580–1680 (1982), Earthly Necessities: Economic Lives in Early Modern Britain (2000) and Ralph Tailor's Summer: A Scrivener, his City and the Plague (2011), as well as many essays on the social history of early modern England. He is a Fellow of the British Academy, a former President of the North American Conference on British Studies and an Honorary Vice-President of the Social History Society.


    Keith Wrightson, Cathy Shrank, Paul Griffiths, Linda Pollock, Malcolm Gaskill, Alec Ryrie, Adam Fox, Jane Whittle, Phil Withington, Tim Stretton, John Walter, Adrian Green, Henry French, Craig Muldrew, Jeremy Boulton, Alexandra Shepard, Alison Games, Andy Wood


    • Winner, 2017 Choice Outstanding Academic Title

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