Benjamin Franklin in London is a narrative biography of the American ‘founding father’ Benjamin Franklin. As the title suggests, the book substantively concentrates on Franklin in London between 1757 and 1775. During this time, Franklin was an agent advocating colonial interests in Parliament.
John Dee is a name that often conjures up images of shady spells muttered in dark rooms with bubbling potions, but the exhibition at the Royal College of Physicians, titled Scholar, Courtier, Magician: the Lost Library of John Dee seeks to offer a view of Dee as an articulate, extremely well-read, educated man.
This book considers one of the less obvious (but arguably more important) passions – wonder – and the ways in which that emotion intersected with skepticism in the Middle Ages.
Of all the Federal Arts Projects set up as part of the New Deal, the Federal Writers’ Project (FWP) was, in the words of one contemporary, the ‘ugly duckling’ (p. 35).
In the late 1960s, argues Matthew Wilhelm Kapell in Exploring the Next Frontier, ‘Americanist scholars’ (p. 6) intentionally abandoned the project of analyzing American myth. He identifies three reasons why they did so.
Sonya Rose’s initial interest in national identity was sparked by the patriotic fervor that burst forth following the declaration of the first Iraq War (1990–1). ‘I wondered at how easily patriotic sentiment and the sense of belonging to a nation under threat – even if that threat was so far away – could be aroused’ (p. 285).
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?
Surveying the latter half of the 20th century in Britain, Professor James Hinton highlights the popular tendency to consider this period in terms of its characteristic decades. There is ‘the boring 1950s, the exciting 1960s, the crisis-ridden 1970s, [and] Mrs. Thatcher’s 1980s’ (p. 23).
The 13 essays in this book are the outcome of a conference (with the addition of a few other papers) held at Winchester University in September 2011.
Eli Rubin has written a wonderful book that does not just tell a fascinating story about an important but much neglected subject, but also manages to link this story to much broader historiographical, and indeed ontological, questions about the intersections between space, on one hand, and power, time and lived experience on the other.