Books

The Ancient Constitution

John Selden and the Western Political Tradition by Ofir Haivry Cambridge UP, 2017, 504 pages, $160 _________________________________ The last decades of the sixteenth century and the first of the seventeenth witnessed the great flowering of English Renaissance culture. Shakespeare and Jonson transformed the theatre, Donne and Herbert poetry, Bacon and Hobbes philosophy and science. Drake circumnavigated the globe, Raleigh introduced tobacco to the English palate and thought he could find El Dorado. Ofir Haivry’s new biography claims that in an era of remarkable men and women, John Selden (1584–1654) stands out, “as the most learned man in an unusually learned…

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