Cromwell (Magill's Literary Annual 1978)
The story is told that when Oliver Cromwell sat for an official portrait as Lord Protector, he directed the artist to “paint me as I am, wart and all,” without idealizing or distorting. In the three centuries since Cromwell sat for that portrait, many artists, biographers, even dramatists have tried to show the great Puritan as he truly was, “wart and all.” A most recent attempt to understand and explain Cromwell is this biography by Roger Howell, professor of history and President of Bowdoin College. Howell has written several worthwhile books and numerous articles on English history and is currently the editor of British Studies Monitor. This biography is a conventional, nearly chronological, tracing of the life of Cromwell from birth to death, concentrating almost exclusively on Cromwell’s military and political accomplishments.
In the first chapters, Cromwell’s early years are sketched. Born into a family of country gentry of Huntingdonshire, Oliver was sent to the school of Dr. Thomas Beard, where he seems to have learned “small Latin and less Greek,” but received heavy indoctrination in the theology of puritan Christianity. Young Cromwell was then accepted as a Fellow Commoner at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge. That college was a hotbed of Puritan piety at the time, and the young man’s religious bent must have been further fortified by his associations there. He had to leave after only one year’s attendance when his father...
(The entire section is 2659 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of this article. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!
Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 1978)
Choice. XIV, November, 1977, p. 1267.
Kirkus Reviews. XLV, March 1, 1977, p. 261.
Library Journal. CII, May 1, 1977, p. 1010.
New York Review of Books. XXIV, June 9, 1977, p. 39.
Publisher’s Weekly. CCXI, March 7, 1977, p. 94.
Times Literary Supplement. December 9, 1977, p. 1453.
(The entire section is 33 words.)