Lawrence Stone

C.S.L. Davies writes an obituary of the social historian.

Lawrence Stone’s death on June 16th this year removes one of those giants among English historians who came to prominence in the 1950s; men like Eric Hobsbawm, Christopher Hill and Edward Thompson, who wrote big books on big themes, laying himself open to criticism by lesser mortals, always prepared to move on, regardless, to the next challenge. He seems likely to be best remembered for the trilogy on divorce, vividly retailing from depositions in church courts the scandals and barbarities of some upper-class marriages between the mid-seventeenth and the mid-nineteenth centuries. His best books, however, were two earlier seminal works:The Crisis of the Aristocracy, 1558-1641 (1965); andThe Family, Sex and Marriage in England, 1500-1800 (1977).

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