The highly influential historian of post-reformation English religion, Patrick Collinson sadly passed away late last year but his passing came with one final publication. This England: Essays on the English Nation and Commonwealth in the Sixteenth Century (Manchester, 2011) is a collection of essays previously published independently between 1994 and 2009.
The book represents the final word by Patrick Collinson on the sixteenth century. Unlike his earlier work, post-reformation religious culture – whilst playing its role – is not its general focus. That said, there is a considerable religious thread throughout largely manifested through examination of John Foxe’s Acts and Monuments. For the most part though, this binding together of recent articles by Collinson, reflects his latter interested in ‘early modern English politics and self-fashioning Collectively’, as Collinson’s reviewer Sarah Waurechen argues.
It is to this review – to be found in Reviews in History – that I thought worthwhile linking to here. Sarah Waurechen sums up the collection as demonstrating Collinson’s view that:
“ the political community was active and engaged, and that certain ideas, texts, and moments in history served as rallying points around which an English national identity could form. The problem, though, was that this identity was an unstable one, and Collinson illuminates the fissures in Protestant discourses about the nation, and in the ways in which histories might reflect religious and political fault lines. For him, this explains why the nation eventually collapsed into civil war.”