Studies in History

Nikolaos Gyzis ‘Historia’ (c.1892)

Founded by Sir Geoffrey Elton in 1975 and re-launched in 1995, the Studies in History Series established itself as one of the principal publishers of monographs by early-career historians across the full breadth of the discipline and launched the careers of many distinguished historians. After forty years of successful publishing in this form, the Series will be drawing to a close, and is not accepting any further proposals. Several volumes already in production will be published as planned, by Boydell and Brewer.

The Series is kindly supported by the Economic History Society and the Past and Present Society.

Alex Walsham square

Alex Walsham

The Studies in History series played a vital part in launching my career, along with those of several of my peers. When my Church Papists (1993) was accepted for publication in the series, I was a very young and diffident scholar, still working on my PhD. The dedicated editorial support and guidance I received in revising and expanding it not only helped to transform it from a thesis into a much better book, but also played an essential role in securing me a research fellowship and then my first academic post.”

Alex Walsham, Professor of Modern History, University of Cambridge




 

Forthcoming Publications

 

Benjamin Dabby, Women as public moralists in Britain: from the Bluestockings to Virginia Woolf

This book explores the ways in which a tradition of women moralists in Britain shaped public debates about the nation’s moral health, and men’s and women’s responsibility to ensure it. It focusses on the role played by eight of the most significant of these women moralists whose writing on history, literature, and visual art changed contemporaries’ understanding of the lessons to be drawn from each field at the same time as they contested and redefined contemporary understandings of masculinity and femininity. In chapters which examine the critical interventions made by Anna Jameson, Hannah Lawrance, Margaret Oliphant, Marian Evans (‘George Eliot’), Eliza Lynn Linton, Beatrice Hastings, Rebecca West, and Virginia Woolf, Benjamin Dabby recovers these writers’ understanding of themselves as part of a tradition of women of letters stretching from eighteenth-century bluestockings to their own time, and the growing consensus in this period across the political range of periodicals that women’s intellectual potential was equal to men’s, and not determined by their sex. Women as public moralists in Britain represents an important new direction in debates about modern British cultural history, and sheds new light on the bluestocking legacy, the place of women in the public sphere and the development of feminism in Britain’s ‘long nineteenth century’.

Kathryn Rix, Parties, agents and electoral culture in England, 1880-1910

 The electoral reforms of 1883–5 created a mass electorate and transformed English political culture. A new breed of professional organisers emerged in the constituencies in the form of full-time party agents, who handled registration, electioneering and the day-to-day political, social and educational work of local parties. This book examines the agents not only as political figures, but also as men (and occasionally women) determined to establish their status as professionals. Studying this previously neglected group provides a fresh perspective on the evolution of the modern British political system, shedding new light on debates about how effectively the Liberal and Conservative parties adapted to the challenges of mass politics after 1885. Professional agents performed a vital role as intermediaries between ‘high’ politics at Westminster and ‘low’ politics in the localities. This ground-breaking study addresses key questions about the nationalisation of electoral politics in this period, demonstrating the importance of understanding the interactions between the centre and the constituencies. It shows that while the agents’ professional networks contributed to a growing uniformity in certain aspects of party organisation, local forces continued to play a vital role in British political life.  Overall, the focus on this previously neglected group provides a fresh perspective on the evolution of the modern British political system, shedding new light on debates about how effectively the Liberal and Conservative parties adapted to the challenges of mass politics after 1885.

David Parrish, Jacobitism and anti-Jacobitism in the British Atlantic world, 1688–1727

The first half of the Britain’s long eighteenth century was a period fraught with conflicts ranging from civil wars (1688-1691) to a series of Jacobite plots, intrigues and rebellions. It was also a formative period marked by substantial changes including the growth and centralisation of an empire and the maturation of party politics and the public sphere.  Covering almost forty years of this colourful history over an expansive geographical range, David Parrish examines the existence and meaning of Jacobitism and anti-Jacobitism throughout Britain’s Atlantic empire.  Drawing on a diverse source base, Parrish ably captures the essence of the transatlantic, tripartite relationship between politics, religion and the public sphere thus contributing to our understandings of the Anglicization of the British Atlantic world.

Robert Portass, The Village World of Early Medieval Spain

In the early eighth century, the Muslim general Tariq ibn Ziyad led his forces across the Straits of Gibraltar and conquered most of the Iberian Peninsula. Yet alongside the flourishing kingdom of al-Andalus, the small Christian realm of Asturias-León endured in the northern mountains. In this book, Robert Portass charts the social, economic and political development of Asturias-León from the Islamic conquest to 1031.  Applying a forensic comparative method, which examines the abundant charter material from two regions of northern Spain – the Liébana valley in Cantabria, and the Celanova region of southern Galicia – this book sheds new light on village society, the workings of government, and the constant swirl of buying, selling and donating that marked the rhythms of daily life.  It maps the contact points between rulers and ruled, offering new insights on the motivations and actions of both peasant proprietors and aristocrats.  This book is of interest to historians of rural society, economic development, and governing structures across early medieval Europe.

Barbara Gribling, The Black Prince in Georgian and Victorian England: negotiating the medieval past

During the Georgian and Victorian periods, the fourteenth-century hero Edward the Black Prince became an object of cultural fascination and celebration. The Black Prince and his battles played an important part in a wider reimagining of the British as a martial people, reinforced by an interest in chivalric character and a burgeoning nationalism. Drawing on a wealth of literature, histories, drama, art and material culture, this book explores the uses of Edward’s image in debates about politics, character, war and empire, assessing the contradictory meanings ascribed to the late Middle Ages by groups ranging from royals to radicals. It makes a special claim for the importance of the fourteenth century as a time of heroic virtues, chivalric escapades, royal power and parliamentary development, adding to a growing literature on Georgian uses of the past by exposing an active royal and popular investment in the medieval. Disputing current assumptions that the Middle Ages represented a romanticized and unproblematic past, it shows how this investment was increasingly contested in the Victorian era. This book will be of interest to those who study medievalism, the uses of the past, and the reinvention of historical heroes, as well as to scholars of royal and popular culture.

Ceri Law, Religious Change in the University of Cambridge, c.1535-84

 Further details forthcoming

 

Recent Series Publications

 

Stephen Brogan, The royal touch in early modern England: politics, medicine and sin

Brogan - Royal TouchThe royal touch was the religious healing ceremony at which the monarch stroked the sores on the face and necks of people who had scrofula in order to heal them in imitation of Christ.  The rite was practised by all the Tudor and Stuart sovereigns apart from William iii, reaching its zenith during the Restoration when some 100,000 people were touched by Charles II and James II.   This ground-breaking book, the first devoted to the royal touch for almost a century, integrates political, religious, medical and intellectual history. The practice is analysed from above and below: the royal touch projected monarchical authority, but at the same time the great demand for it created numerous problems for those organising the ceremony. The healing rite is situated in the context of a number of early modern debates, including the cessation of miracles and the nature of the body politic. The book also assesses contemporary attitudes towards the royal touch, from belief through ambivalence to scepticism.  Drawing on a wide range of primary sources including images, coins, medals, and playing cards, as well as manuscripts and printed texts, it provides an important new perspective on the evolving relationship between politics, medicine and sin in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century England.

Elma Brenner, Leprosy and Charity in Medieval RouenBrenner Leprosy and Charity

Between the twelfth and fifteenth centuries, Rouen was one of the greatest cities in western Europe.  The effective capital of the ‘Angevin Empire’ between 1154 and 1204 and thereafter a leading city in the realm of the Capetian kings of France, medieval Rouen experienced periods of growth and stagnation, the emergence of communal government, and the ravages of plague and the Hundred Years’ War.  In this book, Elma Brenner examines the impact of leprosy upon Rouen during this period, and the key role played by charity in the society and religious culture of the city and its hinterland.  Based upon very extensive archival research, the book offers a new understanding of responses to disease and disability in medieval Europe.  It explores the relationship between leprosy, charity and practices of piety, and considers how leprosy featured in growing concerns about public health. This work will be of great interest to historians of urban society, medicine, religious culture and gender in the Middle Ages, as well as those studying medieval France.