“This year we have lived through periods when we couldn’t leave the house when we liked … When we were forbidden from going to church …”- Spectator, April 2021. I have got used to this construction now, having encountered it over and over again in recent years. But my immediate instinct is to rewrite that sentence as: “… forbidden to go to church”. Here are two more specimens from the last year or so: “The left-wing mayor forbade the police from working with the federal authorities…”, Spectator, October 2020; “Barney’s father … forbade her from having anything more to do with de Pougy”- London Review of Books, May 2021. So, it is popular and current in journals not noted for careless English – and plenty of examples could be found elsewhere. But it is new, believe it or not.
The grace and vigour of Mantel’s gripping novels transformed our understanding of what historical fiction can do.