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In 1775, Samuel Johnson had already identified the central paradox of United States history. He notoriously challenged British readers to explain why ‘we hear the loudest yelps for liberty among the drivers of negroes’. Generations of historians have tried to answer that question. How could a movement espousing belief in liberty include so many slaveholders?
While the title of this book might give the impression that it is a 700-page tome on a peripheral genre of late 17th-century English literature, the non-specialist readership of Reviews in History ought not to be misled.
The sub-title says it all. This is a book about the elites of Belle Epoque Paris, primarily about the cultural elites, but also about their patrons, high society, industrialists and fashion designers, and all those who made the headline contributions to that Paris which sticks in the popular imagination.
Since the fall of the Soviet Union and the emergence of an independent Russia, much scholarship, both in Russia and the West, has been concerned with the pre-revolutionary monarchist and nationalist parties which had attracted relatively little attention earlier.
Frances Yates’ seminal book Giordano Bruno and the Hermetic Tradition (1964), which established a longstanding scholarly orthodoxy that Renaissance magic derived from interpretations of the Hermetic Corpus, has been challenged in its details by Bruno scholars and others.
Thomas Ahnert’s The Moral Culture of the Scottish Enlightenment is an unusual work. Little more than an extended essay, its brevity and lucidity belie the complexity and force of its central thesis. Whilst there is no doubt that the book represents an important historiographical intervention, it is rather harder to explain why or where it does so.
Jason Garner's monograph on the origins of the Federación Anarquista Ibérica (FAI) is an illuminating and much-welcomed addition to the inchoate body of English-language scholarship dealing specifically with pre-Civil War Spanish anarchism.
‘It was the best of times, it was the worst of times’, is how Charles Dickens began his stirring evocation of the French Revolution in A Tale of Two Cities. He had it about right. The first ten years of the French Revolution was a time of limitless hope and shattering violence.
This is a book about two well-known dynastic verse histories commissioned by Henry II, the Roman de Rou by Wace and the Chronique des ducs de Normandie by Benoît de Sainte-Maure.
The commemorations for the 100th anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising in the Republic of Ireland have thrown the issue of nationalism and independence into sharp relief once again.