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Book details
  • Genre:HISTORY
  • SubGenre:Europe / Great Britain / Tudor & Elizabethan Era
  • Language:English
  • Series title:Two Shades of Blue
  • Series Number:1
  • Pages:718
  • eBook ISBN:9798350957402
  • Hardcover ISBN:9798350957396

Two Shades of Blue

A History of Oxford and Cambridge Universities 1200-1700

by Peter Alexander Thompson

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Overview
At a time when the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge are again under sustained attack from activists and politicians, Two Shades of Blue takes the reader in two volumes from their founding in the early Thirteenth Century up to the reforms and advances of the modern era. Two Shades of Blue – a reference to the sporting colours of dark blue for Oxford and light blue for Cambridge - paints a brilliant picture of both Universities evolving from their monastic roots into secular institutions in which class and wealth were paramount in determining the status of every student. Indeed, England's supreme halls of learning were symbols of white male privilege until the Nineteenth Century. The first volume examines how University life developed despite religious conflict, political upheaval and the enmities that developed between 'the town' and 'the gown' at both locations. It exposes the impact on the colleges of the Renaissance and the Reformation of Henry VIII, and it studies the bloody consequences of the schism between Catholics and Protestants during the reigns of his children, Edward VI, Mary I and Elizabeth I, ending in the Stuart coup of 1603 that brought the Scottish King, James I, to the English throne. It explores the rise of the Puritans at both Universities and the Civil Wars of Charles I that tore them apart, leading to the Protectorate of Oliver Cromwell. It covers the events following the Restoration of Charles II in 1660, including the Scientific Revolution under Isaac Newton and culminating in the Glorious Revolution of 1688 that deposed James II and handed the crown to William of Orange and Mary II. Volume I ends in 1714 with the death of Mary's sister, Queen Anne, the last of the Stuarts, and the arrival of King George, the first of the Hanoverians. Two Shades of Blue will appeal to the general reader in many parts of the globe, as well as academics and students.
Description
At a time when the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge are again under sustained attack from activists and politicians, Two Shades of Blue takes the reader in two volumes from their founding in the early Thirteenth Century up to the reforms and advances of the modern era. The title, Two Shades of Blue, refers to the sporting colours of dark blue for Oxford and light blue for Cambridge. The first volume encompasses the 500 years between 1200 and 1700, starting with the pioneering Oxonians Robert Grosseteste, Adam Marsh and Roger Bacon, and examines the claims of Merton, University and Balliol to be the oldest surviving college. It covers the founding of Cambridge University following the great dispersal of 1209 and the development of aularian houses into residential colleges. It explores the religious turmoil created by John Wycliffe, 'the morning star of the Reformation', who inspired Lollardy, the pre-Protestant movement that would challenge papal authority and campaign for the Holy Bible to be printed in English. It covers Henry VIII's break with Rome which created a dangerous schism in both Universities and cost the Cambridge Chancellor John Fisher and his friend, Sir John More, their lives. The 'New Learning' of the Renaissance reached Oxford in the late 1490s through John Colet, William Grocyn and Thomas Linacre but it was Erasmus who lit the lamp of humanism during his lectures at Cambridge. Religious dissension determined the confessional shape of the Universities under Henry's children, Edward, Mary and Elizabeth, culminating in the Elizabethan Settlement of 1559. Catholics were excluded from many positions and were forbidden to study at the Universities. The narrative features many of the great Tudor names connected with the Universities: Wolsey, Thomas Cromwell, Leicester, Cecil, Walsingham and Cheke. It covers the sacrifice of the Protestant martyrs Cranmer, Latimer, Ridley, Tyndale, Bilney and the Catholic martyrs Mayne, Campion, Nichols, all Oxford and Cambridge men. Intellectual life developed under the first Stuart king, James I, and his Calvinist Archbishop George Abbot but his son Charles I sponsored the Arminian John Laud who rejected key Calvinist beliefs. Resistance to Laudianism ranged from the Great Tew Circle under Lord Falkland and its greatest member, Lord Clarendon, to the Puritan majority in the House of Commons. The Civil Wars ended in the ruination of many Oxford colleges during the Royalist occupation while Cambridge suffered the desecration of its churches and chapels. Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell enforced further reformation of both Universities during the Interregnum. The Restoration restored the status quo ante in which the Laudian Code of 1636 sought to ensure that Aristotle and the other Greek philosophers would hold centre stage in Oxford and Cambridge indefinitely but no classical bulwark could stem the flow of new scientific discoveries. Isaac Newton plunged into the mysteries of 'natural philosophy' (mathematics and physics) at Cambridge in 1661, leading to his annus mirabilis from 1665 to 1666 and ultimately to the publication of his masterpiece, Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica (Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy), 'the Principia'. James II's attempt to turn the Universities into Catholic seminaries resulted in his removal in the Glorious Revolution of 1688, creating new difficulties for the Universities under the Protestant William of Orange and his wife, Mary II. Volume I ends in 1714 with the death of Mary's sister, Queen Anne, the last of the Stuarts, and the arrival of King George, the first of the Hanoverians. The Church remained the chief employer of graduates but it was the Church of England and not the Church of Rome that had prevailed in the religious battles fought under the Tudors and the Stuarts. And it was Parliament and not the Monarchy that held the greater sway over the Universities after their own providential battles for supremacy.
About the author
Award-winning author Peter Alexander Thompson, a London-based former Fleet Street editor, has written twenty-one books on war, royalty and big business. His titles include Maxwell: A Portrait of Power, the first biography to expose the criminality of the media magnate Robert Maxwell, and Cudlipp's Circus, a memoir which reveals how the author collaborated with the BBC's Panorama team to make 'The Max Factor', the TV documentary that precipitated Maxwell's dramatic fall. Thompson won the Blake Dawson Prize for Business Literature, with co-author Robert Macklin, for The Big Fella: The Rise and Rise of BHP Billiton. Other works are The Private Lives of Mayfair, an historic account of Mayfair personalities over 350 years; Pacific Fury, a best-selling one-volume history of the Pacific War; The Battle for Singapore 1942 and The Quest for Freedom, a biography of Alexander Kerensky and the Russian Revolution. His new book, Two Shades of Blue, is the first of two volumes that will cover the histories of Oxford and Cambridge Universities from their founding in the Thirteenth Century up to the reforms and advances of the modern era.