Peltonen, Markku

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Peltonen, Markku

PERSONAL:

Male.

ADDRESSES:

Office—Department of History, Unioninkatu 30, P.O. Box 59, 00014 University of Helsinki, Finland. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland, senior lecturer in history.

WRITINGS:

Classical Humanism and Republicanism in English Political Thought, 1570-1640, Cambridge University Press (New York, NY), 1995.

(Editor) The Cambridge Companion to Bacon, Cambridge University Press (New York, NY), 1996.

The Duel in Early Modern England: Civility, Politeness, and Honour, Cambridge University Press, 2003.

SIDELIGHTS:

Markku Peltonen is a historian at the University of Helsinki whose writings focus on early modern England. In Classical Humanism and Republicanism in English Political Thought, 1570-1640, he explores humanist beliefs in the years before John Milton and his contemporaries established the philosophy of humanism as the foundation for academic thought. Previous scholars have accepted humanism and republicanism as having emerged fully formed in the middle of the seventeenth century. Peltonen overturns this view by examining their first rumblings in the Elizabethan and Jacobean eras, in such efforts as elections for governors, the English translation of Roman Republic historians, the writings of Ben Jonson, and the scientific revolution begun by Francis Bacon. The book is "conspicuously accomplished," wrote Jonathan Scott in the English Historical Review.

In The Duel in Early Modern England: Civility, Politeness, and Honour, Peltonen writes about the establishment of fencing as a gentlemanly way to solve conflict. More than a history of famous duels, the book is a study of the ideology of dueling and the cultural debate it launched. Duels provided England with a new framework of masculinity and a humanist way of attaining it beginning in the sixteenth century. In the Middle Ages, dueling arose as a way of defending honor, and more so than combat, it was ritualized, nuanced, and performance-oriented. Peltonen examines French and Italian literature (especially the Italian "Book of the Courtier") and presents English dueling practices as an amalgam of European traditions. Dueling's major English proponent was Bernard Mandeville, whom the author presents as advocating duels as an effective tool in both court life and commercial life. From the duel's heyday in the Elizabethan and Jacobean eras to its decline during the Restoration, when antidueling factions succeeded in making the pastime fall out of favor, Peltonen provides a social history of a tradition that encompassed many ideals of the times and ultimately fell victim to changing notions of civility. "Anyone interested in learning more about the culture of male youth, stages of maturity … and the social and psychological formation of the concepts of reputation and friendliness, will find this book compelling," wrote Goran V. Stanivukovic in Clio, who concluded that "Peltonen's book is likely to remain the definitive study of a custom that had such a long history and such a major impact on western masculinity."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Albion, summer, 2004, Penelope J. Corfield, review of The Duel in Early Modern England: Civility, Politeness, and Honour, p. 289; June, 2005, Greg T. Smith, review of The Duel in Early Modern England.

American Historical Review, December, 1997, Michael Mendle, review of Classical Humanism and Republicanism in English Political Thought, 1570-1640, p. 1476.

Canadian Journal of History, April, 2005, Lorraine Attreed, review of The Duel in Early Modern England, p. 100.

Clio, spring, 1997, R.C. Richardson, review of Classical Humanism and Republicanism in English Political Thought, 1570-1640, p. 367; summer, 2005, Goran V. Stanivukovic, review of The Duel in Early Modern England, p. 458.

Dialogue: Canadian Philosophical Review, summer, 1998, Brad K. Wray, review of The Cambridge Companion to Bacon, p. 643.

English Historical Review, September, 1997, Jonathan Scott, review of Classical Humanism and Republicanism in English Political Thought, 1570-1640, p. 949; February, 2005, V.G. Kiernan, review of The Duel in Early Modern England, p. 220.

Historical Journal, June, 1997, Geoff Baldwin, review of Classical Humanism and Republicanism in English Political Thought, 1570-1640, p. 519.

History: Review of New Books, winter, 1997, Stuart E. Prall, review of Classical Humanism and Republicanism in English Political Thought, 1570-1640, p. 70.

Journal of British Studies, January, 1999, Steve Pincus, review of Classical Humanism and Republicanism in English Political Thought, 1570-1640, p. 98.

Journal of Interdisciplinary History, summer, 2004, Jonathan Dewald, review of The Duel in Early Modern England, pp. 123-125.

Journal of Legal History, December, 2004, Paul Mitchell, review of The Duel in Early Modern England, pp. 345-348.

Journal of Modern History, June, 2006, Malcolm Smuts, review of The Duel in Early Modern England, p. 480.

Renaissance Quarterly, fall, 2004, Stephen L. Collins, review of The Duel in Early Modern England, p. 1136.

Sixteenth Century Journal, fall, 1996, Thomas A. Mayer, review of Classical Humanism and Republicanism in English Political Thought, 1570-1640, p. 812; summer, 2005, Ian Mortimer, review of The Duel in Early Modern England, p. 527.

Times Higher Education Supplement, November 8, 1996, Lisa Jardine, review of The Cambridge Companion to Bacon, p. 25.

Times Literary Supplement, October 11, 1996, John Bossy, review of The Cambridge Companion to Bacon, p. 4; August 1, 2003, review of The Duel in Early Modern England, p. 32.