Varieties of History and Their Porous Frontiers

Properly understood, social history, local history and historiography are closely interconnected and benefit from the dialectical relationships which help bind them together. The actual topics and individual chapters gathered together in this book are chronologically wide-ranging, but are demonstrably linked by methodological common denominators and common threads in their northern and southern settings. All the essays are squarely based on new research and all reach outwards, as well as inwards. All are problem solving and all display a vigorous methodology at work. Some re-visit well-known historians and subjects such as W.G. Hoskins and Joan Thirsk and the Oxford English Dictionary. Others, like the essays on John Milner and G.H. Tupling make a convincing case for resurrecting the neglected or forgotten.

R.C. Richardson is Emeritus Professor of History at the University of Winchester, UK, where he taught for much of his working life. He has held visiting professorships at a number of American universities, and was a Visiting Fellow at the Huntington Library, San Marino, California. He was co-editor of the international journal Literature and History for over three decades, and has served as General Editor for Manchester University Press for two highly successful series. He is himself the author and editor of a large number of books, including Puritanism in Northwest England (1972), The Debate on the English Revolution (3rd ed., 1998), Images of Oliver Cromwell (reprinted 2015), The Changing Face of English Local History (reprinted 2018), and Household Servants in Early Modern England (2010). Two earlier volumes of his collected essays, Social History, Local History and Historiography and Receptions and Re-visitings, were published in 2011.

“Every chapter intrigues the reader with its surprising but penetrating approach. Perhaps nowhere is this more evident than in the final chapter, a ‘cultural mapping’ achieved through a reading of the Festival of Britain (1951) regional guidebooks, a new lens through which to consider post-war optimism. This collection instructs and delights in equal measures.”
Philip Martin
Emeritus Professor of Literature, Sheffield Hallam University, UK; Times Higher Education, 6 January 2022

"The volume presents an organised and thoughtful compendium of shorter stories, at times articles, chapters, and papers, which are underpinned by a clear and important thesis – that local history is not separate from broader historical themes or historiography. In this sense, Varieties of History builds on and interacts with advances linked to the so-called ‘Leicester School’ of English Local History, a tradition that has sought to steer studies of locality away from the antiquarian and peripheral, and incorporate them within the broader historiography of English or British history. However, more importantly, the volume acts as a useful critical companion to the development of this sub-discipline, reinterpreting its more complex, multi-layered, and diffuse origins."

Dr Marc Collinson Programme Lead for BA Politics, Bangor University, UK; Transactions Historic Society Lancashire & Cheshire 172 (2003)

"… this is undoubtedly a stimulating volume. Richardson is particularly good at seeing patterns in historical writing. Richardson draws out the range of sources used by the authors, which included cultural and linguistic (including dialect) material, and studies of the landscape, which helped make these volumes a ‘remarkable venture’ (p. 209). Again, Richardson is especially good at showing what these authors emphasised (and missed out) and their style and language; teasing out – as he has done so magnificently throughout this volume – the connections between writers, texts and contexts."

Jeremy Gregory Professor of the History of Christianity, Nottingham University; Literature & History 32(1) (2023)

"Richardson’s many books and articles have a number of connecting themes: religion, especially on the puritan/nonconformist side of the fence; local history; and historiography. All three interests coincide in the new collection, one of several such volumes of collected essays and reviews that Richardson has published with Cambridge Scholars Publishing, which has found a useful niche for itself in producing collections that include often hard-to-find occasional pieces. Among the most valuable services Richardson provides in Varieties of History is to restore a couple of neglected figures in local history to name-recognition status, such as G. H. Tupling, whose Economic History of Rossendale, a 1927 publication of the Chetham Society, was a pioneering entry in local economic history. It is a worthy reminder of the variety of Richardson’s historical interests over a lengthy scholarly career."

Daniel Woolf 20th Principal and Vice-Chancellor of Queen's University, Canada

"Like its predecessors, this volume reflects the author’s long and distinguished career, wide-ranging expertise, and his remarkable ability to sniff out the histories around him and make them relevant. The contents are highly varied. The book opens with a study of the Lancashire cleric John Bruen (1560–1625) and his biographer William Hinde, a fascinating example of ‘practical divinity’ which should be of interest to any scholar of the post-Reformation Church; it closes with a thoughtful examination of the guidebooks produced for the 1951 Festival of Britain. All the chapters in between make significant and interesting contributions in their own right. This volume certainly doesn’t lack coherence and purpose, and the essays contained within it work well together. The chapters will most likely continue to be read independently of one another, but I would certainly propose to readers of this review that the collection well deserves a more traditional reading, front to end."

John Reeks Senior Lecturer in Early Modern History, University of Bristol

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ISBN: 1-5275-6982-9

ISBN13: 978-1-5275-6982-9

Release Date: 7th July 2021

Pages: 232

Price: £61.99


ISBN: 1-5275-9581-1

ISBN13: 978-1-5275-9581-1

Release Date: 28th March 2023

Pages: 232

Price: £30.99