Over 40 years ago, Robert Darnton proposed to evaluate the Enlightenment from its authors’ perspectives. After all, he observed, they were ‘men of flesh and blood, who wanted to fill their bellies, house their families, and make their way in the world’.(1) But with what did they fill their bellies, and when, and how much?
Thicker than Water is an impressive book, both in terms of its quality and its size. At over 400 pages, it presents a daunting challenge to the reviewer with its wide-ranging discussions of the literature on families and sibling relationships which span the disciplines of sociology, history and psychology, as well as the fields of literature, poetry and film.
As Jan Rüger suggested in his 2011 review article ‘Revisiting the Anglo-German antagonism’, since 2000 almost every aspect of the history of Anglo-German relations has been reassessed and re-examined as a story not of increasing and inevitable antagonism, but of a much more complex process.
Nuremberg in the later Middle Ages was one of the most prominent cities in central Europe: a free Imperial city, the location of the imperial regalia and the place where Imperial Diets were held, it was also a wealthy centre of economic life, one of the largest cities in German-speaking Europe, and an important manufacturer of many industrial products, in particular weapons.
Michel Foucault famously described sodomy as an utterly confused category. The same could be said for marriage, especially during the Middle Ages, as the two studies under review demonstrate. Like sodomy, marriage is a category traversing several fields – law, culture, religion – that bites into people’s flesh.
In the Soviet Union, and to this day in its former member states, ‘1937’ functions as a ‘code word for one of the greatest historical catastrophes of the twentieth century’ (p. 1); indeed, in the years that followed, contemporaries did not speak of a ‘Great Terror’ – the term we use now – but often just of ‘1937’.
The emergence and evolution of professional news reporting and publishing in early 17th-century England is an important phenomenon that has received disparate attention from scholars, much of it in journals and collections of essays, so new, comprehensive work on the subject is always welcome. This book offers especially fresh insight through the author’s extensive knowledge
For the past few years, David B. Dennis has had the unenviable task of steeping himself in the (turgid, yet strangely compelling) prose of the Völkischer Beobachter, the Nazi party’s major propaganda organ, and the Third Reich’s daily paper of choice.
In his first book, Sublime Disorder: Physical Monstrosity in Diderot's Universe (1), Andrew Curran focused on the different means by which corporeal and moral monstrosity were figured and evoked in the celebrated Enlightenment thinker's work.
In 1975 Paul Kennedy wrote that ‘yet another survey of the much-traversed field of Anglo-German relations will seem to many historians of modern Europe to border on the realm of superfluity’.(1) Even so, the intervening 37 years has seen no slackening off of the interest of both scholars and the general public in this particular international relationship.