Today is publication day for English Catholicism 1558-1642, the long-awaited second edition of Alan Dures’ classic student textbook from 1983. I co-authored the revised edition with Alan Dures, who (as it happens) was my History teacher at school and first introduced me to the historiography of early modern English Catholicism.
Alan Dures’ original book was groundbreaking for its time, incorporating the insights of revisionist historians of English Catholicism like Christopher Haigh at a time when such revisionism was in its infancy. The book has never been replaced as a single volume introduction to the history of early modern English Catholicism, and it is unusual in covering both the internal history of the English Catholic community and the external history of government perceptions of Catholics in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. While remaining true to Alan’s original vision of a single volume holistic introduction, the new book seeks to synthesise the historiography of the last forty years, which has transformed early modern English Catholicism from a historical backwater into an area of significant and growing scholarly engagement.
I feel privileged to have been able to work on this revision, and I very much hope that English Catholicism 1558-1642 will provide a convenient starting point for those just setting out on the study of this fascinating aspect of England’s religious history – and that it will inspire future generations of students just like Alan Dures’ original book inspired me to research English Catholicism all those years ago!
Alan Dures and I will be launching the book at Culford School on 13 November.