The two works under review are on broadly the same subject - writing by women in later medieval England - but could not be more different and are therefore difficult to compare directly. One author is an historian, the other a literary scholar.
That religion played a significant role in the Cold War might seem self-evident, given the atheistic nature of communism and the powerful influence of Christianity on the lives of millions of people on both sides of the Iron Curtain.
Alcohol is one aspect of twentieth-century British popular culture that has received comparatively little attention.
It is refreshing to be told by William Hagen that 'refractoriness and insubordination proved to be Prussian virtues'.(p. 645) This statement would not be surprising about nineteenth-century Prussian working-class culture, but it is about early modern nobles and peasants.
Luxury in the Eighteenth Century is a welcome collection of essays on a very important topic.
The study of masculinity as a specific topic (rather than an implicit element) is not utterly new: work in sociology in the 1980s, cultural studies in the 1990s, and concerns of feminist criticism from much earlier have laid the foundations for studying how men set about being men. Historians have also engaged with the topic, most notably in work on the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
The historical study of love, sexuality and the ‘private sphere’ in modern Britain is now well established.
Two very starkly contrasting approaches to the history of the sixteenth century lie behind three of the books reviewed here: Mark Nicholls' Two Kingdoms, Glenn Richardson's Renaissance Monarchy: the Reigns of Henry VIII, Francis I and Charles V, and the Patrick Collinson-edited volume The Sixteenth Century, 1485-1603.
In a famous essay on the tenacity of the Burckhardtian conception of the Renaissance, Johan Huizinga wrote that '[A]t the sound of the word ‘Renaissance’ the dreamer of past beauty sees purple and gold.' After reading Carole Collier Frick’s engrossing, multi-layered book, Huizinga’s romantic dreamers will have to become far more nuanced in their visual imaginings of the past.
A life-long dedication to the study of medieval Spain ably fits Joseph F. O'Callaghan to address one of the most discussed issues in this field. Spanish historiography has had to deal for years with the topic of the specificity of the Iberian Peninsula during the Middle Ages, because of its Muslim inhabitants.