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“War and militarism, attitudes to” searching for war and peace in BBIH

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With the ending of the Radical Voices exhibition at Senate House, the People Power: Fighting for Peace exhibition at the IWM about to begin, and the re-opening of the National Army Museum, it seems like an appropriate time to look at war in BBIH.

In the Subject tree, “War and militarism, attitudes to” is the broad term which includes, as lower terms, Militarism, Pacifism, and Anti-conscription, while Pacifism itself is a broader term for Conscientious objection and Peace Society. Thus searching for “War and militarism, attitudes to” will bring up all of these terms.

Taking a chronological approach and beginning with Anglo-Saxon England we kick off with Looking back in Anger: Wrath in Anglo-Saxon England. This article not only examines the emotion of anger using the Old English language anger vocabulary, but also looks at how religious conversion brought new attitudes to the emotional response to war, especially to an Anglo-Saxon warrior culture, where anger played a role in constructing a man’s honour and helped him excel in battle. The article uses quotes from the poem the Battle of Maldon.

Religious responses to warfare are also discussed in An Abbot, an Archbishop and the Viking Raids of 1006-7 and 1009-12 which uses Ælfric, abbot of Eynsham, and Wulfstan, archbishop of York reflections, prayer and representation in the coinage and in charter evidence. The Viking raids of 1006 are further explored in Landscape and Warfare in Anglo-Saxon England and the Viking Campaign of 1006 . This argues that certain types of place were considered particularly appropriate for the performance of violent conflict throughout this period and that these locales are recoverable through an interdisciplinary analysis of landscapes, place names and texts.

The themes of the religious response to warfare and the role of masculinity are continued in the Warrior Churchmen of Medieval England, 1000-1250 : Theory and Reality which looks at the role of Odo Bishop of Bayeux and earl of Kent, and Geoffrey bishop of Coutances. This theme is continued in the recent book, The church at war : the military activities of bishops, abbots, and other clergy in England, c.900-1200.

Covering the later medieval period we start with The Hundred Years War in literature, 1337-1600 which charts the narration of the war in English literature, from contemporary chroniclers and poets, such as Chaucer and Lydgate, to later polemicists and playwrights looking back on their medieval past. The book also includes the dramas of Shakespeare as well as anonymous chroniclers, balladeers and agonising eyewitness accounts of warfare.

The collective volume, Emotions and War : Medieval to Romantic Literature, includes the following medieval chapters, Emotional Responses to Medieval Warfare in the History of William Marshal, and Moving to War: Rhetoric and Emotion in William Worcester’s Boke of Noblesse. Another chapter moves on to the later period:  ‘I was enforced to become an eyed witnes’ : Documenting War in Medieval and Early Modern Literature, while others cover the British civil wars, the American Revolution in North Carolina, and Henry Crabb Robinson’s Letters to The Times, 1808–9 covering the Peninsular Wars.

The conflict between war and religious thought continues during the later medieval period and the Lollard view of the just war is discussed in John Wyclif on War and Peace which includes a chapter entitled, The Medieval Pacifist.

Increasingly, as one may expect, the role of chivalry comes to the fore. There is Chivalry, War and Clerical Identity : England and Normandy c. 1056-1226 in Ecclesia et Violentia : Violence Against the Church and Violence within the Church in the Middle Ages which also harks back to the involvement of the clergy; and English Writings on Chivalry and Warfare during the Hundred Years War in Soldiers, nobles and gentlemen : essays in honour of Maurice Keen.

For the early modern period we have Trauma Narratives of the English Civil War which explores the psychological impact and after effects of the war. Its main points of focus are the expressions of personal as well as collective trauma caused by this conflict. In this context, the discussion places the ways in which war experiences were narrated in relation to wider conceptualizations of traumatic damage to the mind.

The chapter Early Modern War Writing and the British Civil Wars discusses the growth of martial writing in the 16th and 17th centuries and, of course covers the Civil War. It charts the classical influences and the use of eyewitness accounts and the use of powerful language reflecting strong military command. This aspect of language is also explored in the chapter, ‘Broken Verses across a Bloodied Land’ : Violence and the Limits of Language in the English Civil War (in Aspects of Violence in Renaissance Europe).

In addition, there is Parliamentary Politics and the Politics of the Street : The London Peace Campaigns of 1642-3 which argues that Londoners were more lukewarm towards parliament and its campaign than received accounts would lead us to believe. After the battle of Edgehill people quickly lost their appetite for further conflict and an increasingly large minority campaigned actively for peace.

The role of the Quakers is also highlighted in the chapter, The “Lamb’s war” and the origins of the Quaker peace testimony, contained in The pacifist impulse in historical perspective, as well as the article The Early Quakers, the Peace Testimony and Masculinity in England, 1660–1720. The latter considers the Friends’ pacifism and its relation to masculinity, including its relation to Quaker rejections of domestic violence and to the violence of the alehouses. The article also highlights how seventeenth- and twentieth-century interpretations of pacifism differed.

Of course Quakerism, and other non-conformists, are associated with the conscientious objectors of World War I. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves, for the 18th and 19th century and more especially the Napoleonic Wars are also covered in the article Christian heroes, providence, and patriotism in wartime Britain, 1793–1815.  Evangelicals sought to resolve tensions between heroism, virtue, masculinity, religiosity and war by advancing a different set of ideals, a difficult task in a highly charged patriotic society. A less salubrious view of the military is explored in Scarlet Fever: Female Enthusiasm for Men in Uniform, 1780-1815 in Britain’s Soldiers : Rethinking War and Society, 1715-1815  which outlines a ‘dangerous disorder prevalent in wartime’, principally afflicting women.

Of course much of our view of attitudes to war is coloured by  World War I and the conscientious objector. With over a thousand references it is hard to pick out a couple of books or articles. However, taking us to the most recent wars we have Going to War : British Debates from Wilberforce to Blair and The March that Shook Blair : An Oral History of 15 February 2003. The march and reactions to it are further explored in Local Press Reporting of Opposition to the 2003 Iraq War in the UK and the Case for Reconceptualizing Notions of Legitimacy and Deviance. The parliamentary ramifications are also deliberated in Challenging the Royal Prerogative : The Decision on War against Iraq in Parliamentary Debates in 2002–3.

The above is simply an outline of references available on BBIH – that’s without exploring specific wars, civil-military relations, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament or the Greenham Common peace activists.

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Bibliography of British and Irish History updated (February 2017)

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An update to the Bibliography of British and Irish History was published on 14 February. 4,901  new records have been added. Some 633 new records relate to Irish history while 246 deal with the history of London,  299 with the history of Scotland and 129 with the history of Wales.  The overall total of records available online is now 584,478.

In the past we’ve shown the range of material available on BBIH when we have published an update. We’ve covered the international aspects of BBIH as well as the number of references by year. In this instance we’ve charted the number of references by century using the period covered option on the simple and advanced search, and a chart showing our editorial period ranges.

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We expect the next update to be released in June 2017.

 

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Discounted subscriptions to the online Bibliography of British and Irish History

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Discounted subscriptions to the online Bibliography of British and Irish History are available to Friends of the IHR who may not have access to the Bibliography through a university or other institution.

 

BBIH header

 

The Bibliography is a joint project of the IHR, the Royal Historical Society and Brepols Publishers, and is the most extensive guide available to what has been published on British and Irish history. It covers the history of British and Irish relations with the rest of the world, including the British empire and the Commonwealth, as well as British and Irish domestic history. It includes not only books, but also articles in journals (over 770 journals are searched) and articles within collective volumes. It is updated three times a year and currently includes over 579,000 records, with a further update expected in February 2017; subscribers can sign up for email alerts notifying them when new records are added on subjects, people, or places in which they are interested.

Friends of the IHR (including American Friends) can subscribe to the Bibliography for one third of the normal cost of an individual subscription. The sign-up period for the Friends’ discounts starts on 1 October and runs until 15 December 2016 for the 2017 subscription year. New subscribers will have access to the Bibliography from 31 December 2016 and subscriptions will run until 31 December 2017. To apply please contact the Development Office or by telephoning (0)20 7862 8791.

For more information about the Friends, and the other benefits of joining, please visit the Friends’ web pages. Similar discounts are available to Fellows and Members of the Royal Historical Society who will receive information in their autumn mailing, as usual.

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Henry III, better than his father, worse than his son?

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Henry’s reign began inauspiciously. He was crowned on 28 October 1216 in some haste at Gloucester Abbey. The coronation was overseen by the papal legate and Henry was anointed by the bishops of Worcester, Winchester and Exeter; the archbishops of Canterbury and York being unavailable. The royal crown had gone missing and he was crowned with his mother’s circlet. All this in the midst of the Barons’ War caused by his father the “bad” king John. To reinforce his royal authority he had a second coronation in 1220.

 

Henry III's coronation (Cotton Vitellius A. XIII) Wikipedia

Henry III’s coronation (Cotton Vitellius A. XIII) Wikipedia

 

 

“Henry’s capacity to play for very high stakes, and yet lose, was truly remarkable”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

His reign was to end just as inauspiciously. His claims to the lost Angevin empire were renounced by the treaty of Paris (1259), factional court fighting and another baronial revolt led to yet another civil war. Though the war was won by Henry the last years of his reign were marred by fears of further rebellion.

The online publication of the Henry III Fine Rolls has opened a new episode in research on Henry as well as the politics, government, local-central relations, law, relations with Wales and Ireland and society in general – an episode well documented in The Growth of Royal Government under Henry III which uses the Rolls to offer new interpretations of the reign.

As well as documenting the above volume, BBIH has a range of references on Henry III. There are specific references on Henry’s minority; his more than conventional piety; his relations with the Jews (his son, Edward I, was to expel all Jews in 1290); and his expensive and overambitious foreign policy including his crusading endeavours.

 

Henry III (Click to enlarge)

Henry III (Click to enlarge)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quote from S. D. Lloyd The Oxford Companion to British History p. 452

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Bibliography of British and Irish History updated (September 2016)

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An update to the Bibliography of British and Irish History was published on 30 September. There are 4,962 new records, some 633 new records relate to Irish history while 240 deal with the history of London, 324 with the history of Scotland and 262 with the history of Wales.  The overall total of records available online is now 579,638.

We are pleased to welcome a new section editor to our editorial teamDr Colin Veach  Lecturer in Medieval History at the University of Hull, who will be dealing with Irish history to c. 1640. He succeeds Dr Beth Hartland, for whose expert help over the last few years we are very grateful.

We also welcome Dr Adam Chapman, Editor and Training Co-ordinator with the Victoria County History based at the IHR, who will be dealing with England 1066-1500.

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We expect to release the next update in February 2017.  You can always find out more about the Bibliography at http://www.history.ac.uk/projects/bbih or, if you already have access to the Bibliography, you can sign up for email alerts so as to be notified each time the Bibliography is updated with records on a subject or subjects of your choice.

 

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The Battle of the Somme: “Have you seen the Big Push films?”

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“Have you seen the Big Push films?” wrote Roland Mountford to his father in August 1916. Mountford was referring to The Battle of the Somme film. We are not certain that his father did see the film as we don’t have the reply, however it is more than likely that he did it as it’s estimated over 20 million viewed it.  Reaction to the film was often divided.
Somme-film-ad

“Crowds of Londoners feels no scruple at feasting their eyes on pictures which present the passion and death of British soldiers in the Battle of the Somme … a “film” of war’s hideous tragedy is welcomed. I beg leave respectfully to enter a protest against an entertainment which wounds the hearts and violates the very sanctities of bereavement.” (The Dean of Durham letter to The Times).

“We went on Wednesday night to a private view of the ‘Somme films’ i.e. the pictures taken during the recent fighting. To say that one enjoyed them would be untrue; but I am glad I went. I am glad I have seen the sort of thing our men have to go through, even to the sortie from the trench, and the falling in the barbed wire. There were pictures too of the battlefield after the fight, & of our gallant men lying all crumpled up & helpless. There were pictures of men mortally wounded being carried out of the communication trenches, with the look of agony on their faces.” (Frances Stevenson – David Lloyd George’s secretary).

 

Just as historians have debated the strategy and tactics of Haig et al, the representation of the battle and its effects on a nation, so too have they discussed the authenticity of the film. A discussion well covered in the Roger Smither article “A wonderful idea of the fighting” : the question of fakes in The Battle of the Somme.  A search on the subject tree BBIH brings up the following references.

 

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To expand the search to Film and all World War I click on the Refine search button…

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Brepolis  BBIH(13)

…and replace “Battles, Somme 1916” with “Wars, World War I” for an overview of references to the war and film which includes cinema going, propaganda, representation of the war, and moral panics. Alternatively, delete the term “Film” and see the results for “Battles, Somme 1916”.

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Film and World War I (Click to enlarge)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Battle of the Somme (Click to enlarge)

Battle of the Somme (Click to enlarge)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ll leave the final comments to Lt. Cyril Catford and his letter of 25 September 1916 held by the Durham County Record Office.

Surely truth is stranger than fiction!! Last night I had a most excellent sleep in No Mans Land, during a fairly heavy bombardment such as is practically continuous in this the greatest battle of the War!! … There is very little to say about this big show except the Artillery is awful and the flies are worse, whilst conditions of living are worse still. All the same we are exceptionally cheerful. We bear everything I hope like good soldiers proud to have beaten thoroughly the reputed “Invincible German Army”. The men are absolutely wonderful. My Company are in the best of spirit. I think you might send out 1000 Woodbines [cigarettes] for them.

Lt. Catford was to die 10 days later, he was 26 years old.

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More than just drama – Shakespeare and BBIH

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You can’t help avoiding Shakespeare and the celebrations for the 400th anniversary of his death, especially when entering Senate House and its ceremonial staircase. Each morning I am greeted by the playwright’s staring eyes and, each morning, I think I ought to write a post. So here goes.

Knowing I loved my books, he furnished me / From mine own library with volumes that / I prize above my dukedom.

Senate House Shakespeare celebration

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shakespeare has 1860 references on BBIH, surpassing Elizabeth I (1158 references), Winston Churchill (1273) and Geoffrey Chaucer (650). But, as I alluded to in my title, there is more to Shakespeare than drama.

A Person as subject search for “Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616” brings up the aforementioned 1860 references.  However if I add in Subject tree “Representations of politics” there are over 200 references.

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Picking out some titles, we can further narrow the search down. So Silences of Elizabeth I and Shakespeare’s Isabella discusses royal marriages or lack thereof; while  Shakespeare’s curse : the aporias of ritual exclusion in early modern royal drama  explores royal ceremonial; and  Hamlet and Succession discusses royal succession.

 

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Shakespeare and Royal succession (click to enlarge)

 

 

So by narrowing the search in the subject tree for “Succession, royal” we get 15 hits.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shakespeare Roman catholic

Shakespeare and Roman Catholicism (click to enlarge)

 

 

Shakespeare’s reputed Roman Catholic sympathies can be examined and the research further extended by looking for biographies of the writer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shakespeare biography

Shakespeare biographies (click to enlarge)

 

 

After a quick straw poll of the office, and in no particular order, here are our top three references to Shakespeare.

From Jew to Puritan: The emblematic owl in early English culture by Brett Hirsch, which discusses the image of the owl to portray Jews, Puritans and Catholics in pamphlets, prints and drama.

Coverture and its discontents: legal fictions on and off the early modern English stage by Natasha Korda, which outlines the law as represented in plays by Thomas Dekker, Ben Jonson and Shakespeare.

And, finally, The Shakespeare circle : an alternative biography by Paul Edmondson and Stanley Wells,  covering in detail his family (including his parents and siblings) as well as his friends and collaborators.

 

 

 

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Women and autobiography in the 16th and 17th centuries

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Anne, Countess of Pembroke (Lady Anne Clifford) by William Larkin, oil on panel, circa 1618

Anne, Countess of Pembroke (Lady Anne Clifford) by William Larkin, oil on panel, circa 1618

This post has kindly been written for us by IHR Digital intern Katherine Cassidy.

As a history undergraduate endeavouring  to write my dissertation, Connected Histories has been a vastly useful resource for conducting my primary source research. In short, the website has collated a number of major digital resources regarding documents dating from the early modern to 20th century Britain and put them in one place. These sources include large databases such as the Victoria County History and British Newspapers 1600-1900.  For students like me – who may have never conducted historical research to the scope required for a dissertation – it provides a convenient starting point to build up material and knowledge.

My research specifically centres on the autobiographical writing of sixteenth and seventeenth century women and their concepts of self-identity, in the hope that looking at the writing of these women would provide us with greater insight of the perceived role of women in the larger early modern society. Fortunately, Connected Histories has a wealth of resources related to this period. Researching for specific people within a large dataset can sometimes prove difficult, especially when the person is relatively obscure or hasn’t left behind a large volume of records. The search features provided on Connected Histories can help with issues like this through the ability to refine your search in order to narrow your results and find the documents required. This allows you to filter your results by date, source types, resource and access.

However, it is important that when researching through Connected Histories, you bear in mind the type of sources you are looking for, this is particularly crucial when looking for individuals. Take my research of the seventeenth century heiress Lady Anne Clifford as an example; when searching ‘Anne Clifford’ in Connected Histories, most of the results that appear relate directly to the individual I am looking for. However, under the Proceedings of the Old Bailey Online results, a different Anne Clifford is on trial in the Old Bailey accused of grand larceny and ultimately sentenced to seven years transportation. The high born Anne Clifford I am searching for would most certainly not be found in a London court accused of theft, so in this instance it is easy to dismiss the result. However, this shows it is importance to consider the context of these documents to ensure that the subject of the document is actually the right person.

Ultimately, Connected Histories is a fantastic resource for historical research, especially for those with an interest in early modern England. It has certainly provided my own research with new lines of enquiry which I would have previously not considered, such as the VCH’s historic maps and information, which provide greater context of the surroundings in which my subjects lived.

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Bibliography of British and Irish History updated (June 2016)

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An update to the Bibliography of British and Irish History was published on 9 June 2016. There are 3,762 new records, some 486 new records relate to Irish history while 147 deal with the history of London, 237 with the history of Scotland and 112 with the history of Wales. The overall total of records available online is now 574,494.

We usually list the number of new records for each update and we thought it would be interesting to plot the number of publications over the course of the history of the Bibliography (1909-present). This is the resultant graph. Note the small dip for the First World War and the more significant dip during the Second World War. There is a post-war peak and then the seemingly inexorable rise in publishing.

BBIH graph 2016

Click on the graph for a more detailed view.

The data was compiled by simply searching on the Advanced Search and the Year of publication field.

We expect the next update to be released in October 2016.

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Two actors, two plays

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Although Samuel Foote and Ira Aldridge may seem an improbable pairing, both have featured in recent plays on the London stage. Foote, an eighteenth-century actor and playwright, is portrayed in Mr Foote’s Other Leg, played by Simon Russell Beale, while Ira Aldridge, the nineteenth-century African-American actor, appears in Red Velvet  played by Adrian Lester.

Scene from Taste in a painting by Robert Smirke. Lady Pentweazel, played by Foote.

Scene from Taste in a painting by Robert Smirke. Lady Pentweazel, played by Foote.

Both had dramatic lives to equal any play. Strangely, both performed Othello, Foote in 1744 to “universal applause” (although the run itself was ultimately unsuccessful), while 90 years later Aldridge made his West End debut in the same play to a favourable audience response but hostile press reaction. Foote went on to develop his own acting company and penned his own satires mocking the society of the day, fellow actors and the craze for auctions and the arts and antiquities market. His satirical and, not so subtle, attacks on society were to end in trouble when he crossed swords with Elizabeth Chudleigh, duchess of Kingston, during her trial for bigamy. The play, Mr Foote’s Other Leg, is an ironic reference to the loss of a leg after a horse riding accident. Undeterred, Foote continued to act and used two wooden legs; one a simple leg, the other decorated with a silk stocking and buckled shoe (for use on stage). Published rumours of homosexuality, followed by a charge from one of his servants in similar vein, wrecked his spirit. Though cleared of all charges he was to die soon after.

Ira Aldridge as Aaron in Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus.

Ira Aldridge as Aaron in Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus.

Aldridge, born in New York City, moved to England in 1824, and in the following year he made his stage debut in The Revolt of Surinam, or, A Slave’s Revenge, playing Oronooko. After the failure of his 1833 Othello he toured much of Europe, returning to Britain to a much more respectful press. He died in Poland, while on tour, in 1867.

Both actors are represented in BBIH, coincidently with 16 references each. Using the Person as subject serach.

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BBIH aldridge

Despite the danger of becoming a mere plugger for the London theatre scene, I can’t help but note that a play about the life of actress and royal mistress, Nell Gwynn, is also appearing on the London stage, so it may be that another post on actresses  in the British theatre beckons.

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