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Europe, what Europe?

Colin Kidd: J.G.A. Pocock, 6 November 2008

The Discovery of Islands: Essays in British History 
by J.G.A. Pocock.
Cambridge, 344 pp., £18.99, September 2005, 9780521616454
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Barbarism and Religion. Vol. III: The First Decline and Fall 
by J.G.A. Pocock.
Cambridge, 527 pp., £19.99, October 2005, 0 521 67233 3
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Barbarism and Religion. Vol. IV: Barbarians, Savages and Empires 
by J.G.A. Pocock.
Cambridge, 372 pp., £17.99, February 2008, 978 0 521 72101 1
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... as the Cambridge School, inaugurated a contextualist revolution. The school’s founding father, Peter Laslett, pointed out the errors and anachronisms of political philosophers who paid no attention to the genesis of the texts they studied. Although Locke’s Two Treatises of Government wasn’t published until after the Glorious Revolution of ...

Going, going, gone

Raymond Tallis, 4 April 1996

Crossing Frontiers: Gerontology Emerges as a Science 
by Andrew Achenbaum.
Cambridge, 278 pp., £35, November 1995, 0 521 48194 5
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... or a ‘challenge’. Old age holds out promises as well as threats. Many are living to enjoy what Peter Laslett has termed the Third Age: a period of health, often lasting as long as childhood and adolescence together, free from the anxieties of child-care and the pressures of work. Out of such elders, remote from the stereotypes of decrepitude, may come ...

Factory of the Revolution

Blair Worden: Quentin Skinner, 5 February 1998

Liberty before Liberalism 
by Quentin Skinner.
Cambridge, 137 pp., £19.99, November 1997, 0 521 63206 4
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... was an undergraduate, of a scholarly edition of John Locke’s Two Treatises of Government by Peter Laslett. Laslett showed how radically Locke’s text had been misunderstood because of the ignorance of political scientists about, and their indifference to, the circumstances and aims of its composition. Locke’s ...

Women on top

David Underdown, 14 September 1989

The Tradition of Female Transvestism in Early Modern Europe 
by Rudolf Dekker and Lotte van de Pol.
Macmillan, 128 pp., £27.50, February 1989, 0 333 41252 4
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... of historians had already proved him wrong, and they have continued to do so: Flandrin, Foucault, Laslett, Shorter, Stone – one could put together quite an impressive list. But most of their work has dealt primarily with sex as a set of relationships defined by the biological differences between men and women, rather than with gender, which involves the ...

All Too Firmly Planted

Bernard Bailyn, 10 November 1994

Mobility and Migration: East Anglian Founders of New England, 1629-1640 
by Roger Thompson.
Massachusetts, 305 pp., £39.50, April 1994, 0 87023 893 0
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Adapting to a New World: English Society in the 17th-century Chesapeake 
by James Horn.
North Carolina, 461 pp., $65, September 1994, 0 8078 2137 3
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... picture; in some ways it reinforces it. Thompson’s second target is more consequential. It was Peter Laslett, adopting the techniques of the French historical demographers to the records of obscure English villages of the 17th century, who in 1963 first established what seemed to be the surprising modernity of English village life, at least with ...

The Return of History

Raphael Samuel, 14 June 1990

... on its tracks. Twenty-five years ago, addressing a Past and Present conference not long before Peter Laslett published The world we have lost, Keith Thomas declared: ‘The study of the family in English history has simply not begun.’ Today it is an activity for tens of thousands of people. In the primary schools it competes with Norman castles and ...

Ich dien

Michael Neill: Shakespeare and the Servants, 22 October 2009

Shakespeare, Love and Service 
by David Schalkwyk.
Cambridge, 317 pp., £50, June 2008, 978 0 521 88639 0
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... humble/devoted/faithful servant’ – these terms are fossils of what the historian Peter Laslett called ‘the world we have lost’, a world in which virtually all social relations, no matter how intimate, were defined by the language and ideology of service.To sense how this was so, we have only to look at the literature of the early ...

Modernity’s Bodyguard

Phil Withington: Hobbes, 3 January 2013

Leviathan 
by Thomas Hobbes, edited by Noel Malcolm.
Oxford, 1832 pp., £195, May 2012, 978 0 19 960262 9
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... had necessarily assumed. A significant moment for this new approach to political culture was Peter Laslett’s 1960 edition of Locke’s Two Treatises of Government. Whereas the Two Treatises had traditionally been regarded as a justification for the Glorious Revolution (a natural assumption given that it was published in 1689) and as the rock on ...

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