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New worlds, lost worlds. The rule of the Tudors, 1485-1603. By Susan Brigden. (The Penguin History of Britain, 5.) Pp. xiv + 434 incl. 7 ills. London: Allen Lane/Penguin, 2000. [pound sterling]20. 0 713 99067 8
Figures in the landscape. Rural society in England, 1500-1700. By Margaret Spufford. (Collected Studies, p. 666.) Pp. xii + 364 incl. frontispiece, 4 maps and 13 figs. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2000. [pound sterling]59.50. 0 86078 804 0
JEH (53) 2002; DOI: 10.1017/S0022046902554245
Susan Brigden's book is the new Penguin history of the Tudor period. It has a strongly literary leaning: Tudor prose, poems and plays are enlisted to provide colour. The prologue discusses More's Utopia as social criticism: later there is Ben Jonson, Spenser on Ireland and on Queen Elizabeth, Raleigh, Marlowe, Shakespeare's Henry IV, and Hamlet to end the book. Eight chapters focus on the Tudor monarchs, their advisers and events within and beyond England; three chapters are more descriptive. There is …