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Fatalism and Development: Nepal’s Struggle for Modernisation 
by Dor Bahadur Bista.
Longman, Madras
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... The current political revolution in Nepal marks a further stage in the rapid integration of that country into the Western capitalist world. From a standing start in 1950, when the Ranas were overthrown and Nepal began to be transformed from a medieval oriental despotism into a modern nation-state, a great deal has been done. Between 1950 and 1980 the cumulative growth in various sectors has been estimated as follows: ‘70 times in power generation, 13 times in irrigation facility, 134 times in school enrolment, 12 times in number of hospital beds ...

English Violence

Alan Macfarlane, 24 July 1986

Crime and the Courts in England 1660-1800 
by J.M. Beattie.
Oxford, 663 pp., £48, April 1986, 0 19 820057 9
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... This is in many ways a fine study. In over six hundred pages of lucid and carefully presented material Professor Beattie has provided an exemplary analysis of the Surrey Assize and Quarter Sessions records between 1660 and 1800, as well as parallel records from the Sussex courts. It is done with subtlety and care. Concentrating on robbery, burglary, larceny, homicide, infanticide and rape, the author shows the patterns of prosecution and punishment ...

Death in Cumbria

Alan Macfarlane, 19 May 1983

Man and the Natural World: Changing Attitudes in England 1500-1800 
by Keith Thomas.
Allen Lane, 426 pp., £14.95, March 1983, 0 7139 1227 8
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... England in the 19th century presented the enquiring foreigner with a series of strange paradoxes. It was the most urbanised country in the world, yet the one where the yearning for the countryside was the most developed. Its anti-urban bias was shown in the prevalence of parks, the ubiquity of flower gardens, the country holiday industry, the dreams of retirement to a honeysuckle cottage, and the emphasis on rural values in the Romantic and Pre-Raphaelite movements ...

Common Ground

Edmund Leach, 19 September 1985

A Social History of Western Europe 1450-1720: Tensions and Solidarities among Rural People 
by Sheldon Watts.
Hutchinson, 275 pp., £7.95, October 1984, 0 09 156081 0
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Kinship in the Past: An Anthropology of European Family Life 1500-1900 
by Andrejs Plakans.
Blackwell, 276 pp., £24.50, September 1984, 0 631 13066 7
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Interests and Emotion: Essays on the Study of Family and Kinship 
edited by Hans Medick and David Warren Sabean.
Cambridge, 417 pp., £35, June 1984, 0 521 24969 4
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... included contributions concerning European history from Norman Cohn, Peter Brown, Keith Thomas and Alan Macfarlane, all professional historians. They were fully integrated with the contributions of the anthropologists. Since that date it has become increasingly common both in this country and elsewhere for historians and social anthropologists to ...

Casual Offenders

J.S. Morrill, 7 May 1981

The Justice and the Mare’s Ale 
by Alan Macfarlane.
Blackwell, 238 pp., £8.50, March 1981, 0 631 12681 3
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... Alan Macfarlane likes to shock historians out of their complacency and out of a narrow preoccupation with their own period or their own mode of historical study. He is a professionally-trained historian and a professionally-trained anthropologist and his approach is truly interdisciplinary rather than multidisciplinary ...

Brutish Babies

David Wootton: Witchcraft, 11 November 1999

Shaman of Oberstdorf: Chonrad Stoeckhlin and the Phantoms of the Night 
by Wolfgang Behringer, translated by H.C.Erik Midelfort.
Virginia, 203 pp., £14.50, September 1998, 0 8139 1853 7
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Thinking with Demons: The Idea of Witchcraft in Early Modern Europe 
by Stuart Clark.
Oxford, 845 pp., £25, October 1999, 0 19 820001 3
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Witchcraft in Tudor and Stuart England 
by Alan Macfarlane.
Routledge, 368 pp., £55, April 1999, 0 415 19611 6
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The Bewitching of Anne Gunter: A Horrible and True Story of Football, Witchcraft, Murder and the King of England 
by James Sharpe.
Profile, 256 pp., £16.99, November 1999, 9781861970480
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... witch-hunt begins with a series of books published nearly thirty years ago by Hugh Trevor-Roper, Alan Macfarlane, Keith Thomas and Erik Midelfort. Until very recently, however, it was the history of trials on the Continent alone that seemed a lively subject, and in 1996 Diane Purkiss could still properly complain of ‘the torpor of English witchcraft ...

Flowery, rustic, tippy, smokey

Jenny Diski: A cup of tea, 19 June 2003

Green Gold: The Empire of Tea 
by Alan Macfarlane and Iris Macfarlane.
Ebury, 308 pp., £12.99, February 2003, 0 09 188309 1
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... and political discrimination have been central to its production and consumption. Although Alan Macfarlane is a profession-al anthropologist, his book on tea, Green Gold, is a personal investigation, the work of a hobbyist (he has built a Japanese tea house in his back garden) rather than an academic study. He was born on an Assamese tea ...

Why Mr Fax got it wrong

Roy Porter: Population history, 5 March 1998

English Population History from Family Reconstitution 1580-1837 
by E.A. Wrigley and R.S. Davies.
Cambridge, 657 pp., £60, July 1997, 0 521 59015 9
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The Savage Wars of Peace: England, Japan and the Malthusian Trap 
by Alan Macfarlane.
Blackwell, 427 pp., £45, May 1997, 0 631 18117 2
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... has no such qualms about theorising about the fates of whole countries – indeed continents. Alan Macfarlane is well known for his bold theories about the forces shaping past societies, already advanced in such books as The Origins of English Individualism (1978) and Marriage and Love in England: Modes of Reproduction, 1300-1840 (1986), to say ...

English Individualism Revisited

Alan Ryan, 21 January 1988

The Culture of Capitalism 
by Alan Macfarlane.
Blackwell, 254 pp., £19.50, August 1987, 0 631 13626 6
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... Alan Macfarlane’s little book on The Origins of English Individualism came out in 1978. It argued that England had been in crucial respects a ‘modern’ society ever since the 14th century and maybe earlier, and that most accounts of the transition to modernity were therefore misconceived, and in so doing it attacked just about every vested interest in contemporary historiography ...

Man and Wife

Rosalind Mitchison, 22 May 1986

Marriage and Love in England: Modes of Reproduction 1300-1840 
by Alan Macfarlane.
Blackwell, 380 pp., £19.50, January 1986, 0 631 13992 3
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For Better, For Worse: British Marriages 1600 to the Present 
by John Gillis.
Oxford, 417 pp., £19.50, February 1986, 9780195036145
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Labour and Love: Women’s Experience of Home and Family 1850-1940 
edited by Jane Lewis.
Blackwell, 274 pp., £25, February 1986, 0 631 13957 5
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... or temporary celibacy for a large part of the sexually mature population held numbers in check. Alan Macfarlane’s book is an important exploration of the effect on the institution itself of this use of marriage as a demographic control. He calls the control the Malthusian marriage system, not because Malthus understood that it was working, but ...

It took a Scot

Colin Kidd: English Nationalism, 30 July 2015

The Formation of the English Kingdom in the Tenth Century 
by George Molyneaux.
Oxford, 302 pp., £65, May 2015, 978 0 19 871791 1
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The English and Their History 
by Robert Tombs.
Allen Lane, 1012 pp., £14.99, June 2015, 978 0 14 103165 1
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Conquests, Catastrophe and Recovery: Britain and Ireland 1066-1485 
by John Gillingham.
Vintage, 345 pp., £10.99, October 2014, 978 0 09 956324 2
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From Restoration to Reform: The British Isles 1660-1832 
by Jonathan Clark.
Vintage, 364 pp., £10.99, October 2014, 978 0 09 956323 5
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Britain since 1900: A Success Story? 
by Robert Skidelsky.
Vintage, 472 pp., £10.99, October 2014, 978 0 09 957239 8
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... arrangements? In The Origins of English Individualism (1978) the historical anthropologist Alan Macfarlane controversially questioned the notional transition in England from medieval feudalism to early modern capitalism. There was no evidence for a peasant society in 15th-century England, as far as ...

What happened in Havering

Conrad Russell, 12 March 1992

Community Transformed: The Manor and Liberty of Havering 1500-1620 
by Marjorie Keniston McIntosh.
Cambridge, 489 pp., £50, September 1991, 0 521 38142 8
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... disclaimers about the untypicality of Havering, one must note that all this fits the paradigm of Alan Macfarlane’s Origins of English Individualism rather better than it does that of some more traditional interpretations. We have here a body of questions which badly need testing in other places. Some, at least, of Dr McIntosh’s findings fit firmly ...

Monsieur Montaillou

Rosalind Mitchison, 7 August 1980

The Territory of the Historian 
by Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie, translated by Sian Ben.
Harvester, 346 pp., £12.50, May 1979, 0 85527 565 0
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Montaillou 
by Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie, translated by Barbara Bray.
Penguin, 382 pp., £2.50, May 1980, 0 14 005471 5
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Carnival: a People’s Uprising in Romans, 1579-1580 
by Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie, translated by Mary Feeney.
Scolar, 426 pp., £12.50, May 1980, 0 85967 591 2
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... these peasants any different from the English peasantry of this age whose individualism has made Alan Macfarlane question the genuineness of their peasant status in his recent Origins of English Individualism? What is the relationship between the incipient Protestantism of many of the opinions here recorded – the scorn for the Catholic priesthood and ...

Broom, broom

Leslie Wilson, 2 December 1993

The Virago Book of Witches 
edited by Shahrukh Husain.
Virago, 244 pp., £14.99, October 1993, 1 85381 562 4
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... unable to piss. The victim’s neighbour begins to scream and is identified as the witch. Just as Alan Macfarlane, studying Essex witches, found a large proportion of physicians among the cunning men, here the witchdoctor is an actual doctor. But the reference to ‘newfangled machines in smart new hospitals’ indicates that it has been in common ...

Why me?

I.M. Lewis, 18 June 1981

Deadly Words: Witchcraft in the Bocage 
by Jeanne Favret-Saada, translated by C. Cullen.
Cambridge, 271 pp., £17.50, December 1980, 0 521 22317 2
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... witchcraft and have been assimilated in the more recent works by historians like Keith Thomas and Alan MacFarlane. No apology is needed for their rehearsal here since, despite (or perhaps because of) their classic status, they are regularly misrepresented even by anthropologists who should know better. Jeanne Favret-Saada’s foray into contemporary ...

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