The Age of Exuberance 1550-1700. Michael Reed. Routledge Kegan & Paul.

The Age of Exuberance 1550-1700 Book Cover The Age of Exuberance 1550-1700
Michael Reed
Routledge Kegan & Paul
June 1986

The natural exuberance of the men and women of Tudor and Stuart Britain, whether in politics, religion, architectural decoration or literary conceit, turned easily to excess. The age is marked by growing wealth, often expressed in extravagant building schemes, by rapid change in ideas and attitudes, practices and beliefs across the whole spectrum of human activity. In particular, it was marked by an insatiable curiosity about the natural world, whether seen through the telescope or the microscope, the eyes of travelers or the speculations of philosophers, ancient and modern.

The seventeenth century marks one of the great turning points in British history as the medieval world, both mental and physical, was slowly and often painfully replaced by one that is recognizably modern. These processes of change find their inevitable reflection in the landscape, the external physical world of the inhabitants of Britain at this time. In this book Michael Reed describes these changes, points to the impact which they had on the landscape of the time and shows how evidence of these changes can still be seen in the landscape of today. Thus the ruins of a monastery remain as evidence of the intellectual and spiritual struggle summed up in the word ‘Reformation,’ whilst the Royal Observatory at Greenwich marks the birth of the Scientific Revolution.

The contribution of the men and women of the Tudor and Stuart era to the fabric of Britain is astonishingly rich and varied. This book is an attempt to explore this rich variety.

Michael Reed is Reader in Landscape Studie s at Loughborough University. He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and of the Society of Antiquaries. His previous books include The Buckinghamshire Landscape (Hodder & Stoughton, 1979) and The Georgian Triumph (Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1983).