This book examines the conflicting ways in which the civil wars and Interregnum were remembered, constructed and represented in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century England. It argues that during the late Stuart period, public remembering of the English civil wars and Interregnum was not concerned with re-fighting the old struggle but rather with commending and justifying, or contesting and attacking, the Restoration settlements. After the return of King Charles II the political nation had to address the question of remembering and forgetting the recent conflict. The answer was to construct a polity grounded on remembering and scapegoating puritan politics and piety. The proscription of the puritan impulse enacted by the Restoration settlements was supported by a public memory of the 1640s and 1650s which was used to show that Dissenters could not, and should not, be trusted with power. Drawing upon the interdisciplinary field of social memory studies, this book offers a new perspective on the historical and political cultures of early modern England, and will be of significant interest to social, cultural and political historians as well as scholars working in memory studies.
Matthew Neufeld is Lecturer in early modern British history at the University of Saskatchewan, Canada.
[Neufeld] has begun a more detailed and closely argued discussion of late Stuart public memory than any to date, and The Civil Wars after 1660 will serve as an important frame of reference for future work on this subject. JOURNAL OF BRITISH STUDIES
Offer[s] a welcome consolidation of arguments and material concerning the politics of memory in later Stuart England. HISTORY
An important addition to the historiographical 'turn to memory' which demonstrates convincingly that public remembrance of the civil wars was a vital element of post-Restoration discourse. WAR IN HISTORY
A thoughtful, thorough and generally persuasive monograph. ENGLISH HISTORICAL REVIEW
A valuable contribution to the rapidly growing field of interest in public memory of the early modern period in England. SEVENTEENTH CENTURY JOURNAL
This is a welcome addition to a burgeoning field of study - the nature and role of memory in pre-modern cultures - and it also speaks to a growing interest in the nature of post-war societies and the processes of post-conflict reconciliation. . An interesting and controversial argument about the politics of historical production in Restoration England. REVIEWS IN HISTORY The Civil Wars after 1660
opens up this new and highly worthwhile subject of study, sketching out the territory and a key theme, the early politicization of memories of the Civil War, with a series valuable essays. It leaves a tempting landscape for further exploration by both historians and literary scholars. RENAISSANCE QUARTERLY
An intelligent, alert, and challenging book that deserves to be widely read by all those who want to understand the political, religious, and intellectual history of late seventeenth century England; and who want to grapple with the way that the writings of that period still shape and distort our view of the Revolution itself. CANADIAN JOURNAL OF HISTORY