Re-reading old history books

Part of the joy of starting a new research project is that you get the chance to read a lot of new literature. I am currently reading about translation and conceptual history, book history and the history of English republicanism. But I am also actively re-reading a lot of older historiography I first came across… Continue reading Re-reading old history books

Royalist Republicans in the United Provinces

I have just finished reading Helmer Helmers’ The Royalist Republic (CUP, 2015), which offers a profound challenge to received views of Anglo-Dutch relations during the seventeenth century, in particular the idea ‘still influential among non-specialists – that Dutch republicanism somehow separated Dutch political culture from the kingdoms surrounding it.’ (262) In his book, Helmers explores the… Continue reading Royalist Republicans in the United Provinces

Continental Connections: Anglo-European Intellectual Networks, c1500-1800

A Day Workshop at Northumbria University 2 May 2013 Lipman Building, Room 121 Early modern England was more European in outlook than much of the (anglocentric) historiography suggests, and nowhere was this more obvious than in the Republic of Letters, which crossed both territorial and linguistic boundaries. However, this community of scholars and literary figures… Continue reading Continental Connections: Anglo-European Intellectual Networks, c1500-1800

The Archive Closes for Lunch

If you want to do research in Switzerland, you better learn to get up early. I always thought I was an early riser, but compared to the average Swiss person I’m clearly a sleepy head. Arriving at the Berne State Archive just after 8am on a Tuesday morning, I found that most of the other… Continue reading The Archive Closes for Lunch

Property and Power: On James Harrington’s 400th birthday

Power is founded on property. Few people nowadays would deny this doctrine. The political philosopher James Harrington formulated it in the mid-seventeenth century. Living in per-industrial England he still considered land, not money, the most important form of property. The social group that held most of the country’s land also held the largest amount of… Continue reading Property and Power: On James Harrington’s 400th birthday

Eric Nelson’s Hebrew Republic and the Importance of Jewish Sources

In his book on The Hebrew Republic, Eric Nelson sets out to refute the commonly held assumption in early modern historiography that political science came to be separated from religion over the course of the seventeenth century. Instead, he argues that the concept of the respublica Hebraeica was seen as authoritative by many political thinkers,… Continue reading Eric Nelson’s Hebrew Republic and the Importance of Jewish Sources