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High-Spirited Barbarians

Lawrence Stone, 28 April 1994

History and Its Images: Art and the Interpretation of the Past 
by Francis Haskell.
Yale, 558 pp., £29.95, June 1993, 0 300 05540 4
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... Today, multi-disciplinary, inter-disciplinary and multi-cultural studies are all the rage. They are, however, far more often preached than practised, in both Britain and America. During the 20th century, the rigidity and strength of the barriers separating discipline from discipline have become ever more impregnable as the institutional departmental structure has grown more politically powerful within universities ...

Dukology

Lawrence Stone, 22 November 1990

The Decline and Fall of the British Aristocracy 
by David Cannadine.
Yale, 813 pp., £19.95, October 1990, 0 300 04761 4
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... For reasons which are obscure. 1989-90 seem to be the years in which mega-books of history, none them less than six hundred pages, have become best-sellers: for example, Simon Schama’s Citizens, Roy Foster’s Modern Ireland. Jonathan Spence’s Search for Modern China. And now here comes another one, 813 pages of it, which is virtually certain also to be a best-seller, at least in Britain ...

What, how often and with whom?

Lawrence Stone, 3 August 1995

The Social Organisation of Sexuality: Sexual Practices in the United States 
by Edward Laumann, John Gagnon, Robert Michael and Stuart Michaels.
Chicago, 742 pp., £39.95, October 1994, 0 226 46957 3
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Sex in America: A Definitive Survey 
by Robert Michael, John Gagnon, Edward Laumann and Gina Kolata.
Little, Brown, 289 pp., £16.99, November 1994, 0 316 91191 7
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Sexual Behaviour in Britain: The National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Life-Styles 
by Kaye Wellings, Julia Field, A.M. Johnson and Jane Wadsworth.
Penguin, 464 pp., £15, January 1994, 0 14 015814 6
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... In the early Eighties, Western governments, notably those of America, Britain and France, were anxious to assess the probable rate of growth and pathways of infection of Aids. They sponsored extensive sex surveys in order to find out, for example, the number of sexual partners an average male had in his lifetime and how many used safe sex. The British survey was carried out by four women, primarily trained in medical statistics, epidemiology and health care ...

Body Parts

Lawrence Stone, 24 November 1994

The Making of Victorian Sexuality 
by Michael Mason.
Oxford, 338 pp., £17.95, April 1994, 0 19 812247 0
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The Making of Victorian Sexual Attitudes 
by Michael Mason.
Oxford, 256 pp., £17.99, October 1994, 0 19 812292 6
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... All my lifetime, until very recently, conventional wisdom has had it that there was something very peculiar about the ‘Victorian’ era. Since about 1910, its values and practices have been subjected to an increasing barrage of criticism denouncing them as alien to the modern world and about as comprehensible as the culture of a wholly different civilisation ...

Rolling Stone

Peter Burke, 20 August 1981

The Past and the Present 
by Lawrence Stone.
Routledge, 274 pp., £8.75, June 1981, 0 7100 0628 4
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... when I went up to Oxford, one of the liveliest and most provocative lecturers in history was Lawrence Stone of Wadham. He was already a controversial figure who had, as we all knew, crossed swords with Hugh Trevor-Roper over the state of the Elizabethan aristocracy and with Geoffrey Elton over the question of Tudor despotism. ...

Vengeful Susan

Linda Colley, 22 September 1994

Uncertain Unions: Marriage in England 1660-1753 
by Lawrence Stone.
Oxford, 295 pp., £16.95, September 1992, 0 19 820253 9
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Broken Lives: Separation and Divorce in England 1660-1857 
by Lawrence Stone.
Oxford, 373 pp., £16.95, June 1993, 0 19 820254 7
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... In 1990, Lawrence Stone published a book called Road to Divorce. Bold, original, pungent and wide-ranging, it was at one level an attempt to convey the vagaries and varieties of matrimony in England from Tudor times to the Marriage Act of 1753, and the extreme difficulty and distress involved in legally separating from a spouse before the passage of the Divorce Act in 1857 ...
On Historians 
by J.H. Hexter.
Collins, 310 pp., £6.95, September 1979, 0 00 216623 2
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... familiar with only three: Fernand Braudel has been my mentor for more than quarter of a century; Lawrence Stone guided my first steps into the maze of Anglo-American historiography; Christopher Hill accompanied, a long time ago now, the infant squawks of my early Marxism, which today is much eroded. Though if I still preserve some traces of my belief in ...

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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... it as ‘a silly book, founded on faulty method and propounding a preposterous thesis’, while Lawrence Stone thought it advanced ‘an implausible hypothesis based on a far-fetched connection with one still uproven fact of limited general significance’. On the other hand, Paul Hyams hailed it as a blast of fresh air and the sort of book we need ...

Room at the Top

Rosalind Mitchison, 15 November 1984

An Open Elite? England 1540-1880 
by Lawrence Stone and Jeanne Fawtier Stone.
Oxford, 566 pp., £24, September 1984, 0 19 822645 4
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... tycoon’s Cragside, took over. This three-in-one book links up with the other major works of Lawrence Stone: The Crisis of the Aristocracy 1558-1641 gives the setting for the first part of the period, and the family papers he studied for that book and for his more loosely structured. The Family, Sex and Marriage in England, 1500-1800 give many of ...

Rowlandsonian

John Brewer, 5 August 1982

English Society in the Eighteenth Century 
by Roy Porter.
Allen Lane/Pelican, 424 pp., £12.50, April 1982, 0 7139 1417 3
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... two generations of researchers, led by such avatars as Alan Everitt, Peter Laslett, J. H. Plumb, Lawrence Stone, Keith Thomas and E. P. Thompson, now constitutes a substantial body of knowledge that has transformed our conception both of British history and of what constitutes legitimate historical inquiry. The modish topics of birth and death, the ...

Vomiting in the marital bed

Carolyn Steedman, 8 November 1990

Road to Divorce, England 1530-1987 
by Lawrence Stone.
Oxford, 460 pp., £19.99, October 1990, 0 19 822651 9
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Late Victorian Britain, 1875-1901 
by J.F.C. Harrison.
Fontana, 265 pp., £5.99, September 1990, 9780006861300
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... of secularisation in early 19th-century England, marriage by a public registrar was instituted. Lawrence Stone describes this enactment of 1837 as setting up a two-track system of marriage in England, but with marriages performed by a registrar remaining remarkably unpopular, at least the first time around. Only in the 1970s did the proportion of civil ...

Marriage

Philippe Ariès, 16 October 1980

Bastardy and its Comparative History 
edited by Peter Laslett, Karla Oosterveen and Richard Smith.
Arnold, 431 pp., £24, May 1980, 0 7131 6229 5
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... more easily by modern society. The one way round indissolubility was flight. The cases recorded by Lawrence Stone in his magisterial Family, Sex and Marriage suggest that flight was often seen by the abandoned partner as giving them the right to remarry. But in spite of the mobility of English rural society from the Middle Ages on, life was not easy for ...

Sexual Nonconformism

Peter Laslett, 24 January 1980

Wanton Wenches and Wayward Wives: Peasants and Illicit Sex in Early 17th Century England 
by G.R. Quaife.
Croom Helm, 283 pp., £11.50, July 1980, 0 7099 0062 7
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A History of Myddle 
by Richard Gough, edited by Peter Razzell.
Caliban, 184 pp., £9, October 1980, 0 904573 14 1
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... lives of the mass of the population. No one can read Quaife’s book and still believe that. Lawrence Stone could surely not have written as he did in his Family, Sex and Marriage in England 1500-1800 if he had had that knowledge of the really telling evidence which Quaife thinks he should have had. The other error which he attacks is the idea that ...

Diary

W.G. Runciman: Like a Prep School, 10 January 1991

... But does the institution, despite or because of all this, serve any useful purpose? Professor Lawrence Stone, in his London Review review of Cannadine’s book, says that paradoxically ‘in this age of mass democracy and party rule, the only feeble defence of individual liberty and the public interest against the tyranny of a prime minister is that ...

Is it a bird, is it a plane?

Peter Clarke, 18 May 1989

The Pleasures of the Past 
by David Cannadine.
Collins, 338 pp., £17.50, March 1989, 0 00 215664 4
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... which he has made his mark – and his enemies. Even his friends have good reason to be terrified. Lawrence Stone, for example, who stuck his neck out as an early champion of Cannadine’s merits, finds that his cherished thesis about the persistence of a largely closed élite in English society does not fall within the meaning of the Old Pals’ Act, as ...

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