We start this week with Miles Taylor’s long-anticipated review of Artist and Empire: Facing Britain’s Imperial Past, as he praises a thought-provoking exhibition (running until 10 April), one of the best historically-themed shows that Tate Britain has done for some years (no. 1903).
Next up is Anglican Enlightenment: Orientalism, Religion and Politics in England and its Empire, 1648–1715 by William Bulman. David Magliocco and the author discuss one of the most important interventions in late 17th–century studies in the last decade (no. 1902, with response here).
Next up is David French’s Fighting EOKA: The British Counter-Insurgency Campaign on Cyprus, 1955-1959. Andrekos Varnava reviews an engaging, thorough and, thankfully, not overly long read (no. 1901).
Finally, we have The Guardians: The League of Nations and the Crisis of Empire by Susan Pedersen, and Peter Yearwood recommends a book written with clarity and precision, and featuring compelling themes and illuminating detail (no. 1900).
We begin with A Concise History of International Finance: From Babylon to Bernanke by Larry Neal, as Andrew Mcdiarmid reviews an engaging narrative that charts the evolution of finance from the personal to the impersonal (no. 1899).
Then we turn to Adam Chapman’s Welsh Soldiers in the Later Middle Ages. Christopher Allmand and the author discuss a book which transcends the geographical limits implied in its title (no. 1898, with response here).
Next up is Amy Prendergast’s Literary Salons Across Britain and Ireland in the Long Eighteenth Century, with Rachel Wilson enjoying a thought-provoking read, whose comparative approach gives it an edge and a freshness (no. 1897).
Finally Mick Worboys recommends a book which offers fascinating and novel insights into domestic life as he reviews Salmonella Infections, Networks of Knowledge and Public Health in Britain, 1880-1975 by Anne Hardy (no. 1896).
We kick off this week with the History of the Labour Party by Andrew Thorpe, as Christopher Massey and the author discuss the most up-to-date study on the 115-year lifetime of the Labour Party (no. 1895, with response here).
Then we have a review of the digital resource Europeana Newspapers. Bob Nicholson and editor Clemens Neudecker discuss this flawed but fantastic tool (no. 1894, with response here).
Next up is Accounting for Oneself: Worth, Status, and the Social Order in Early Modern England by Alexandra Shepard. Mark Hailwood is impressed by a book which grasps the nettle of thinking about the kind of processes of macro-historical change that historians have largely shied away from in the past two decades (no. 1893).
Following this there is Long Emancipation: The Demise of Slavery in the United States by Ira Berlin. William Skidmore believes this book provides a provocative and powerful framework that scholars will use to rewrite the history of American slavery’s demise (no. 1892).
Finally we have George Molyneux’s response to Nicole Marafioti’s review from last week of Formation of the English kingdom in the 10th century (no. 1890).
New Historical Perspectives will seek to publish works produced by early career scholars, and senior scholars who are collaborating with early career scholars. The new series will be defined by mentoring, extensive editing and support for contributors to the series through editorial panels and monograph workshops, ensuring high standards of peer-reviewed scholarship.
As a joint venture, the series will be published by the IHR and the RHS will provide editorial management and expertise. Books will be published in free digital formats and available for print purchase.
The RHS currently seeks a series Convenor to work closely with the series Board, authors and editors to provide mentoring and feedback.
More information regarding New Historical Perspectives and the opening date for submissions will be released shortly.
As the first publishing partnership of our rapidly developing open access initiative, the IHR and RHS share a vision of utilising open access as a means to disseminate high quality research which fulfils the needs of scholars and is accessible to as wide a readership as possible.
May 1862: Confederate and Union forces clashing during the battle of Williamsburg, Virginia. (Photo by MPI/Getty Images)
We start this week with The War That Forged A Nation: Why The Civil War Still Matters by James M. McPherson, and Susan-Mary Grant and the author discuss the latest work by the Civil War’s most preeminent historian (no. 1887, with response here).
Next up Kate Fleet tackles a curate’s egg of a book, as she reviews Sean McMeekin’s The Ottoman Endgame: War, Revolution and the Making of the Modern Middle East, 1908-1923 (no. 1886).
Then we turn to The Gages of Hengrave and Suffolk Catholicism, 1640-1767 by Francis Young, as Eilish Gregory recommends a well-researched and detailed book on an early modern English Catholic family (no. 1885).
Finally we have Peter Webster’s Archbishop Ramsey: The Shape of the Church, which Sam Brewitt-Taylor praises as a fine addition to the literature on this key Archbishop (no. 1884).
The feast day of St Brigid is celebrated on the 1st February, and in honour of this, we have delved into our resources to give a taste of the material available on the Bibliography of British and Irish History.
St Brigid of Kildare is one of the main patron saints of Ireland, along with St Patrick and St Columbus. Brigid was born into slavery in the mid-5th century but became a nun and abbess, founding several monasteries. Her vitae was written by Cogitosus in the 7th century, and is translated in Cogitosus’s Life of St Brigid : content and value. As our range of resources show, the myth of Brigid has associations with an earlier pagan deity of the same name, explored in Brigid : goddess, druidess and saintand Brigit : from goddess to saint. Brigid was also strongly connected with the symbol of fire, as Gerald of Wales recounts in his Topographia Hibernica how the sacred fire of St Brigid burned continually around the monastery at Kildare even after her death, yet never accumulated any ashes. It was tended by the nuns of Kildare for nineteen nights in turn, and on the twentieth night left for Brigid to tend herself. According to Gerald, the scriptorium at Kildare produced an illuminated manuscript so sumptuous it was thought to be the work of angels. Unfortunately this manuscript is now lost, but it would probably have been of a similar quality to the Book of Kells.
The image on the right is from London, British Library, Royal MS 13 B VIII, and shows the scribe creating the heavenly manuscript. This copy of the Topographia Hibernica was produced in Lincoln in c. 1196-1208, and most probably was overseen by Gerald himself. The image shows the tools of a scribe, a feather quill (probably goose), and a knife. The knife was used to sharpen the quill and also to correct mistakes, by scraping the ink off the parchment. In this image, it also seems to be used to hold the quill-hand steady and secure the parchment. According to Gerald, the book was composed with the angel presenting the designs, while Brigid prayed, and the scribe copied – ‘sic igitur angelo praesentante, brigida orante, scriptore imitante.’ (fol. 22v).
We start this week with John Foot’s The Man Who Closed the Asylums: Franco Basaglia and the Revolution in Mental Health Care. Peter Barham and the author discuss a hugely ambitious book about the movement in Italy to transform the institutional landscape of Italian mental health care (no. 1883, with response here).
Next up is Browned Off and Bloody-Minded: The British Soldier Goes to War 1939-1945 by Alan Allport, as Andrew Muldoon praises a book which should attract, and deserves to gain, both a specialist and a general readership (no. 1882).
Then Thomas Hamm covers two contributions from the early American history ‘Atlantic turn’ generation, as he reviews Sympathetic Puritans: Calvinist Fellow Feeling in Early New England by Abram Van Engen and London Quakers in the Trans-Atlantic World: The Creation of an Early Modern Community by Jordan Landes (no. 1881).
Finally we turn to Hubert Wolf’s The Nuns of Sant’ Ambrolio: the True Story of a Convent in Scandal, which Sara Charles recommends as an intriguing retelling that avoids sensationalist tabloid clichés (no. 1880).
In previous posts I have alluded to the range of material gathered for BBIH, a range that sometimes creates a sense of déjà vu with similar or complementary articles. The following are recent examples.
I start with three articles all about clerks and shop workers; two of which feature H. G. Wells, himself once a draper’s assistant. Nicholas Bishop uses the works of Wells, Arnold Bennett and Shan Bullock to discuss “clerical literature” in Ruralism, Masculinity, and National Identity: The Rambling Clerk in Fiction, 1900–1940. This article argues that urban-dwelling clerks were pioneers in developing an interest in getting “back to the land” and the rural “idyll.”
Deborah Wynne continues the draper’s assistant theme, and the use of Wells, with The ‘Despised Trade’ in Textiles: H. G. Wells, William Paine, Charles Cavers and the Male Draper’s Life, 1870–1914 which examines the situation of the male draper in terms of his relationships to textiles and the female customers. Using the aforementioned accounts, the ridicule levelled against men is highlighted. The accounts used are, H. G. Wells’s discussion of his years as a draper’s apprentice in his Experiment in Autobiography (1934); William Paine’s emotionally charged title Shop Slavery and Emancipation (1912); and the diary of a Bond Street draper, Charles Cavers, posthumously published, and wonderfully entitled, Hades! The Ladies! Being Extracts from the Diary of a Draper (1933). Cavers, a draper’s assistant from the 1870s and then a successful owner of a Bond Street emporium, paints a more positive picture than Wells or Paine, although he used the exclamation ‘Hades! The ladies!’ when his wealthy female customers were being difficult to please.
And speaking of “ladies”…. although these first two articles refer to male workers and focus on masculinity, Ella Ophir presents the journal of Evelyn Wilson, an impoverished employment registry clerk in London. Wilson kept her diary for over 20 years and, after her death, it was published in 1935 under the melancholy title of The Note Books of a Woman Alone. The article The Diary and the Commonplace Book: Self-Inscription in The Note Books of a Woman Aloneuses the diary extensively.
Continuing the police theme, David Taylor in his Cass, Coverdale and consent the Metropolitan Police and working-class women in late-Victorian London focusses on the treatment of two working-class women by the Metropolitan Police in 1887. Elizabeth Cass was arrested for soliciting in Regent’s Street while Annie Coverdale was arrested for being drunk and disorderly. Both were working class: Cass a dressmaker in Holborn and Coverdale a domestic servant in Canning Town. The two arresting constables were dishonest in their evidence but both remained policemen despite newspaper agitation and parliamentary condemnation. As Taylor points out the mistreatment of these two women was not unique at the time.
Two articles on the Foundling Hospital established by Thomas Coram examine the use of tokens at the orphanage. The tokens ranged from bits of cloth to coins and jewellery, as well as actual copper or pewter tokens detailing the name and admission of the child. In Gillian Clark and Janette Bright’s article The Foundling Hospital and its Token System the authors look at the array of objects used as tokens in case the family wished to reclaim their abandoned child. while Maria Zytaruk in her article, Artifacts of Elegy: The Foundling Hospital Tokens, explores similar territory, and makes the depressing point that the token could also be used to guard against a charge of infanticide.
The Foundling Hospital (Wellcome Library http://wellcomeimages.org/indexplus/image/V0013443.html)
The Foundling Hospital is well served by the Bibliography, there are nearly 60 references ranging from histories of the hospital to Handel’s connection to the charity, as well as an autobiography of a foundling – The Last Foundling : The Memoir of an Underdog (see listing below).
We start this week with the latest volume from the Victoria County History, The History of the County of Somerset. Volume XI: Queen Camel and the Cadburys, edited by Mary Siraut. Michael Hicks and the editors discuss a comprehensive, indispensable, and almost definitive volume (no. 1879, with response here).
Next up is James Morone’s The Devils We Know: Us and Them in America’s Raucous Political Culture: Essays, and Karen Heath recommends a collection which will be indispensible for any scholar concerned with American contemporary social and political issues (no. 1878).
Then we turn to Francis I and Sixteenth-Century France by Robert J. Knecht. David Potter believes the world of Francis I has been the ideal domain for this lover of art and culture, collector of foibles, and superb teller of stories (à la Brantôme) to deploy his skills (no. 1877).
Finally we have Dan Stone’s The Liberation of the Camps: the End of the Holocaust and its Aftermath. Rainer Schulze reviews an engrossing book that is incredibly rich in survivor testimony (no. 1876).
Happy New Year! We start 2016 with Remembering the Irish Revolution: Dissent, Culture, and Nationalism in the Irish Free State by Frances Flanagan. Sean Ledwith and the author discuss a thoughtful and scholarly contribution to an understanding of a generation that tried to change the world (no. 1875, with response here).
Next up is Samantha Baskind’s Jewish Artists and the Bible in Twentieth-Century America, as Peter Webster praises a tightly focussed and coherent volume, which is also lavishly produced and a pleasure to hold (no. 1874).
Then we turn to Empire of Cotton: A Global History by Sven Beckert. Steve Cushion reviews a book which makes you think again about the shirt on your back, and wonder how much blood there is on it (no. 1873).
Finally we have Kate Loveman’s Samuel Pepys and his Books: Reading, Newsgathering, and Sociability, 1660-1703. Lena Liapi believes that this book will be of great interest to anyone working on the history of reading (no. 1872).