When A. J. P. Taylor undertook the final volume of the old Oxford History of England, it was ‘England’, not ‘History’, which he found the problematic part of his brief.(1) The volume under review is the latest contribution to the New Oxford History of England, and how things have changed since Taylor’s day.
For historians of Britain, the Second World War has long occupied a privileged place in narratives of change and continuity in the 20th century. Until fairly recently, the 1940s stood as a transformative decade in the literature, a moment when the unique pressures of total war recast politics and social relations in a more egalitarian mould. The British people, as J. B.
Introduction: trauma, modernity, and the First World War
In his new study of Anne Boleyn, George Bernard at no point defines the ‘fatal attractions’ to which his title refers. There is not even an assurance that no rabbits were harmed in the making of the book. Perhaps the title is deliberately polysemous, for we might think of at least six fatal, or metaphorically fatal, attractions exercised by the queen.
In this book, Frank Mort, who holds a Chair in Cultural Histories at the University of Manchester, continues the work begun in Cultures of Consumption: Commerce, Masculinities and Social Space in Late Twentieth-Century Britain and in Dangerous Sexualities: Medico-Moral Politics in England since 1830.(1) This volume presents a cultural history of Londo
The formation of Mass Observation (1), conceived as a programme for the scientific study of human social behaviour in Britain or, in other words, as an ‘anthropology of ourselves’, was publicly announced in a letter printed in the New Statesman of 30 January 1937 and signed by Tom Harrisson (1911–76), Humphrey Jennings (1907–50) and Charles Madge (1912–96).
The ‘shock city’ of the 18th century , London was always interesting to onlookers, but between 1763 and 1776 it was particularly interesting. It was the capital city of one of the most successful Great Powers, one that had just emerged the winner in the war with France.
The title of Susan Whyman’s The Pen and the People: English Letter Writers 1660-1800 suggests two potentialities at once: The Pen and the People indicates a comprehensive study of popular letters and letter-writing practices during the long 18th century (1660–1800); yet the subtitle, English Letter Writers, implies focused and discrete analyses of specific letter
In 1886 the Glasgow Prayer Union (GPU) remembered in their customary prayers a woman across whom one of its ‘ladies’ had come. She had been ‘found lying very drunk near Cattle Market with young infant’. Concerned for the infant’s life, the unnamed philanthropist (not a word Smitley uses) takes the child to the nearby police station, ‘where the woman was also taken’ (p. 44).
If the debut of the Illustrated London News (ILN) in May 1842 signalled ‘a revolution in journalism and news reporting’, as the introduction to this remarkable on-line collection contends, there can be little doubt that an equally revolutionary transformation has occurred over the c