Hugh Trevor-Roper's historical essays, published over many years in many different forms, are now difficult to find. This volume gathers together pieces on British and European history from the fifteenth to the early seventeenth centuries, ending with the Thirty Years War, which Trevor-Roper views as the great historical and intellectual watershed that marked the end of the Renaissance.
Covering a wide range of topics, these writings reflect the many facets of Trevor-Roper's interest in intellectual and cultural history. Included are discussions of Renaissance Venice; the arts as patronized by that universal man, the Emperor Maximilian I; the court of Henry VIII and the ideas of Sir Thomas More; the Lisle Letters and the formidable Cromwellian revolution; the historiography and the historical philosophy of the Elizabethans John Stow and William Camden; religion and the judicious Hooker, the great doctor of the Anglican Church; medicine and medical philosophy, shaken out of its orthodoxy by Paracelsus and his disciples; literature and Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy
; and the ideology of the Renaissance courts.
Trevor-Roper sets his intellectual and cultural history in a context of society and politics: in realization of ideas, the patronage of the arts, the interpretation of history, the social challenge of science, the social application of religion. This volume of essays confirms his reputation as a spectacular writer of history and master essayist.