British Political Thought in History, Literature and Theory, 1500-1800

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The history of British political thought has been one of the most fertile fields of Anglo-American historical writing in the last half-century. David Armitage brings together an interdisciplinary and international team of authors to consider the impact of this scholarship on the study of early modern British history, English literature, and political theory. Leading historians survey the impact of the history of political thought on the 'new' histories of Britain and Ireland; eminent literary scholars offer novel critical methods attentive to literary form, genre, and language; and distinguished political theorists treat the relationship of history and theory in studies of rights and privacy. The outstanding examples of critical practice collected here will encourage the emergence of fresh research on the historical, critical, and theoretical study of the English-speaking world in the period around 1500–1800. This volume celebrates the contribution of the Folger Institute to British studies over many years.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"J.G.A. Pocock, whos work is a constant point of reference for many of the contributors, asks at the book's beginning what it means to speak of 'British political thought' and wonders whether Britishness is a community or a conversation (11). The essays that follow give voice to the discourse between patriotism and assimilation, exposing the both-and logic of the local and the larger: both fusion and separation within and between the countires it covers and within and between the disciplines that study their cultures. Quentin Skinner concludes that 'no single set of hermeneutic principles' will ever be adequate for more than a fraction of the discourse, but that what is important is the dialogue (284). This collection of intelligently written essays presents an important instance of that dialogue." - Barbara Kreps, University of Pisa
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521130851
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 2/11/2010
  • Pages: 340
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 9.02 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

David Armitage is Professor of History at Harvard University.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements     vii
Notes on Contributors     ix
Introduction   David Armitage     1
The History of British Political Thought: a Field and its Futures   J. G. A. Pocock   Gordon Schochet   Lois G. Schwoerer     10
British Political Thought and History
Thinking about the New British History   John Morrill     23
The Matter of Britain and the Contours of British Political Thought   Colin Kidd     47
The Intersections Between Irish and British Political Thought of the Early-Modern Centuries   Nicholas Canny     67
In Search of a British History of Political Thought   Tim Harris     89
British Political Thought and Literature
Republicanism in Sixteenth- and Seventeenth-Century Britain   Andrew Hadfield     111
Dramatic Traditions and Shakespeare's Political Thought   Jean E. Howard     129
Irony, Disguise and Deceit: What Literature Teaches us about Politics   Steven N. Zwicker     145
Poetry and Political Thought: Liberty and Benevolence in the Case of the British Empire c. 1680-1800   Karen O'Brien     168
British Political Thought and Political Theory
The Nature of Rights and the History of Empire   Duncan Ivison     191
Reading the Private in Margaret Cavendish: Conversations in Political Thought   Joanne H. Wright     212
Reflections on Political Literature: History, Theory and the Printed Book   Kirstie M. McClure     235
Here and Now, There and Then, Always and Everywhere: Reflections Concerning Political Theory and the Study/Writing of Political Thought   Richard E. Flathman     254
Afterword   Quentin Skinner     278
Bibliography     286
Index     319
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