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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?
In his introduction, Matthew Lundin declares that it ‘would perhaps only be slightly hyperbolic to proclaim Hermann Weinsberg the Samuel Pepys of sixteenth-century Germany’ (p. 3). This proclamation does not do full justice to the scope of Lundin’s work.
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
After a period in which much historical attention has been directed to the rise of the early modern state, it now seems to be becoming fashionable to take the state out of the centre of the picture again.
Evan Haefeli’s excellent new book, New Netherland and the Dutch Origins of American Religious Liberty, does nothing less than expand and transform our understanding of religious diversity and toleration in colonial Dutch North America.
Network studies are fashionable today, both in the sciences and in the humanities, witness the ever-increasing research grants, books, articles, and calls for papers about knowledge exchange that circulate globally. Scientists working in artificial intelligence, engineering, statistics, and computational linguistics have been doing network analysis for a long time.
It is a brave man who would take on the job of writing a history of Germany and the Holy Roman Empire between 1493 and 1806. Many historians would maintain that neither Germany nor even German national consciousness (certainly not German nationalism) existed during this period; as for the Holy Roman Empire, there is a long-running dispute over what it actually amounted to.
Mark Somos has written a challenging and fascinating book. Secularisation and the Leiden Circle is to be commended for its topic (the much maligned origins and process of secularisation), for the author’s depth and breadth of knowledge and for his impressive research and analysis of the source material.
This is an eccentric book.
The study of nationality (a term used to designate historically and constitutively diverse nations) poses a number of acute methodological, historical, and philosophical problems.