Browse all Reviews
Blood Matters: Studies in European Literature and Thought, 1400-1700 / eds. Bonnie Lander Johnson, Eleanor Decamp
This interdisciplinary collection of essays, emerging from a conference held at Oxford University and edited by scholars with interests in literature and medicine in early modern England, seeks to establish how the inhabitants of late medieval and early modern Western Europe defined blood, and to uncover how references to blood were deployed in descriptions of the human condition across various
If it is hard to write a book review, then it is much harder to make a book. Anthony Grafton's latest monograph, Inky Fingers, puts the difficulties of labour at the centre of this engaging study of book production in early modern Europe and North America (the latter included despite the expected limitations of the subtitle).
AI Narratives: A History of Imaginative Thinking about Intelligent Machines / Stephen Cave, Kanta Dihal, Sarah Dillon
‘Artificial intelligence (AI)’ is a loaded term, rife with connotative contradiction that inspires debate, disagreement, and disillusion. But what is AI, really? How have our expectations of computational capability, and even a robot Armageddon, come to be? Why does it matter how we talk about increasingly sophisticated technology, not just in expository prose, but also in fiction?
A lack of institutional documentation has rendered it difficult for scholars of early modernity to reconstruct the significance of apostasy from Judaism before the Council of Trent (1545-1563). As such, the reasons behind the conversion of Jews to Catholicism, especially in Renaissance Italy, remain understudied to this day.
The Birth of Modern Belief: Faith and Judgment from the Middle Ages to the Enlightenment / Ethan H. Shagan
The Birth of Modern Belief is seriously good. It is erudite, insightful, and cogent; but, above all, it enables us to think hard about the relationship between our past and our present.
The Sacred Home in Renaissance Italy presents itself as an important and innovative book in the panorama of the contemporary historical research of the Renaissance.
Feeling Things: Objects and Emotions through History / eds. Sally Holloway, Stephanie Downes, Sarah Randles
Historians are good at putting objects in their place. Details about context, manufacture, use, abuse, meaning, significance, decay, and so on are layered so that an object itself becomes a carrier of its moment in history. Putting material back into the fabric of history itself enriches that history.
The aim to cover, in a single monograph, patterns and trends in memory across early modern Europe is an ambitious one. Yet if anyone could achieve this it would be Judith Pollmann. This is an ambitious book in its chronological and geographical scope, but is also pioneering in providing a meta-narrative of continuity and change in early modern memory practices.
This is an extremely ambitious, thought-provoking, challenging and inspiring book.
In this history of representations and knowledge formation Sanjay Subrahmanyam turns a historian’s gaze to the problems both implicitly and explicitly embedded in all histories of the early modern and modern world: why did Europeans represent and construct India and by extension, the non-European world in the ways that they did? Why and how did these constructs evolve?