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According to the American humorist Ogden Nash, ‘God, in his wisdom, made the Fly. And then forgot to tell us why’. This long-standing mystery has apparently been resolved by John F. McDiarmid Clark, who argues that the fly’s main purposed was to allow early Victorian amateur bug-hunters to become 20th-century professional entomologists.
Stephen Mileson’s book is very timely, representing the first comprehensive study of medieval parks at a time when academic interest in aristocratic identity, social landscapes, hunting culture and environmental exploitation is blossoming.
When reviewing books one’s expectations can be raised by the title. In the case of The End is Nigh one could be forgiven for assuming that it must relate to the End of Time and the various ways in which the world might end – cosmic impact; neighbouring supernova; nuclear apocalypse; unstoppable virus; runaway global warming, i.e. large scale global catastrophes.
Horse and Man in Early Modern England presents itself as an historical overview of its subject-matter rather than as a brief for particular methodologies, ideologies or causes.
Sometimes you get lucky when you publish a book. Matthew Mulcahy's intriguing and well-written analysis of the cultural impact of hurricanes in the plantation regions of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century British America came out at an extremely apposite time for an academic publication, a month or so after one of the biggest natural disasters in American history.
At first glance, Virginia DeJohn Anderson’s Creatures of Empire is a welcome addition to the growing literature on the environmental history of early America; on closer observation, the work is very much more than this. Indeed, it is more a cultural history than an environmental history.
John Hassan sets himself an ambitious task in a book that ‘endeavours to trace humanity’s changing relationships with nature over the last 200 years’ (p. 7). Concentrating on the coast focuses the challenge, especially given that much attention is on more ‘parochial problems’ and ‘local difficulties’ (p. 7).
The genesis of this fine monograph occurred in a moment of confounding cultural confrontation when Christopher Ely first viewed Russian landscape painting of the nineteenth century. Perplexed, he jotted down a question for himself. Why, he asked, were these works so 'consciously unbeautiful'? Gazing at one dreary canvas after another, he wondered, 'What was this fascination with mud?' (p.
This book is one of a series entitled The Making of Europe, which aims 'to address crucial aspects of European history in every field - political, economic, social, religious, and cultural' (p. xii).
With the exception of pioneering work by Clarence Glacken , Keith Thomas and Alfred Crosby , very little has yet been written about early modern environmental thought . This has been partly determined by questions of definition .