Thomas Anthony Birrell (1924-2011) was a man of many parts. For most of his working life he was Professor of English and American Literature in the University of Nijmegen, The Netherlands, where he was famous for his lively, humoristic and thought-provoking lectures. He was the author of some very popular surveys of English Literature in Dutch, but – first and foremost – he was a bibliographer and a historian.
His scholarly oeuvre is extensive and includes such highlights as English Monarchs and their Books (London 1986), a study of the Old Royal Library. However, many of his publications are hidden in occasional publications, periodicals and introductions to books no longer in print. That is why a - posthumous - selection of his bibliographical essays appeared in 2013, entitled Aspects of Book Culture (Ashgate 2013) and that is why it was decided to bring out a companion volume containing a selection of his essays in the field of recusant history.
The present edition contains fourteen of Birrell’s articles published between 1950 and 2006. They all demonstrate his bibliographical expertise, his in-depth knowledge of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century English catholic history and his absolute determination to examine every scrap of archival material that might shed light on the episodes he was investigating. But, perhaps most important of all, he combined his scholarship with an intense interest in the individual lives that shape and are shaped by history, so the lasting impression that these articles will make is the sense of getting close to a whole series of personalities caught up in the turmoil of their time.
Aspects of Recusant History was edited by Jos Blom, Frans Korsten and Frans Blom, all three former students of Tom Birrell.
Introduction 1. Catholic Allegiance and the Popish Plot. A Study of some Catholic Writers of the Restoration Period 2. Non-Catholic Writers and Catholic Emancipation. An Aspect of Sidney Smith, Shelley, Coleridge and Cobbett 3. Latter-day Recusants 4. English Catholics without a Bishop 1655-1672 5. Robert Pugh, Blacklo’s Cabal (1680) 6. Joseph Berington, The Memoirs of Gregorio Panzani (1793) 7. James Maurus Corker and Dryden’s Conversion 8. English Catholic Mystics in Non-Catholic Circles. The Taste for Middle English Mystical Literature and its Derivatives from the Seventeenth to the Twentieth Centuries 9. Recusant Historiography. An Historian looks at the Achievements of 25 years’ Study of Recusancy 10. William Leslie, Henry Howard and Lord Arlington 1666-67 11. John Brown, Scottish Minim (1569-1643). A tale of three title pages 12. English Counter-Reformation Book Culture 13. Review of Paul Arblaster, Antwerp & the World: Richard Verstegan and the International Culture of Catholic Reformation (Leuven University Press 2004) 14. William Carter (c. 1549-84): Recusant Printer, Publisher, Binder, Stationer, Scribe – and Martyr
The first title in the Variorum Collected Studies series was published in 1970. Since then well over 1000 titles have appeared in the series, and it has established a well-earned international reputation for the publication of key research across a whole range of subjects within the fields of history.
The history of the medieval world remains central to the series, with Byzantine studies a particular speciality, but the range of titles extends from Hellenistic philosophy and the history of the Roman empire and early Christianity, through the Renaissance and Reformation, up to the 20th century. Islamic Studies forms another major strand as do the histories of science, technology and medicine.
Each title in the Variorum Collected Studies series brings together for the first time a selection of articles by a leading authority on a particular subject. These studies are reprinted from a vast range of learned journals, Festschrifts and conference proceedings. They make available research that is scattered, even inaccessible in all but the largest and most specialized libraries. With a new introduction and index, and often with new notes and previously unpublished material, they constitute an essential resource.
For further information about contributing to the series please contact Michael Greenwood at [email protected]