The reception of Buchanan in Northern Europe in the seventeenth century

Macinnes, Allan (2012) The reception of Buchanan in Northern Europe in the seventeenth century. In: George Buchanan. Ashgate Publishing, Farnham, pp. 151-70. ISBN 9780754662389

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Abstract

George Buchanan (1506–1582) was the most distinguished Scottish humanist of the sixteenth century with an unparalleled contemporary reputation as a Latin poet, playwright, historian and political theorist. However, while his importance as a political theorist has long been recognised, this volume represents the first attempt to explore the subsequent influence and importance of his broader interests and ideas. Offering a well balanced selection of essays by an international cast of established and younger scholars, the volume explores Buchanan's legacy as an historian and political theorist in Europe and the Atlantic world in the two centuries following his death, with particular emphasis on the reception of his remarkably radical views on popular sovereignty and tyrannicide. Divided into four sections, the volume will cover, the immediate impact and reception of his writings in sixteenth-century Britain; the wider Northern European context in which his thought was influential; the engagement with his political ideas in the course of the seventeenth-century British constitutional struggles, and Buchanan's continuing significance in shaping Scottish political thinking in the eighteenth century. The introduction to the volume not only reviews the material in the body of the collection, but also reflects on the use and abuse of Buchanan's ideas in the early modern period and the methodical issues of influence and reputation raised by the contributes. Such a reassessment of Buchanan and his legacy is long overdue and this volume will be welcomed by all scholars with an interest in the political and cultural development of northern Europe.