England's Ancien Regime

Was eighteenth-century England dynamic, entrepreneurial and secular, or hierarchic, conservative and confessional? Jeremy Black investigates recent 'revisionist' reassessments of the period.

Few recent works on eighteenth-century England have aroused interest comparable to that inspired by Jonathan Clark's English Society 1688-1832; Ideology, Social Structure and Political Practice During the Ancien Regime (Cambridge University Press, 1985). Described by one reviewer, John Morrill, as breaking 'the mould of Hanoverian politics' and by another, John Kenyon, as 'a sensational book; it is one of the very few works on the period published within the last decade that has attracted considerable interest from historians of other periods. Indeed Dr Clark could be said to have made the period exciting, no mean feat in light of its relative neglect in school and university syllabi.

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