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For a generation Peter Gay’s book on the Enlightenment (a text which perhaps tells us more about the 1960s than the 1760s) informed scholars that Enlightenment and Christianity were polarities and that the defeat of dogma and metaphysics were the harbingers of secular modernity.
The book I have before me feels rather expensive, well-made, a hardback with a striking dust jacket bearing an enlarged portion of an historic print. Inside, the paper is silky smooth, the ink dark and clean, the layout elegant with generous outer margins. The illustrations too are clean and clear, dropped into the text.
In this book Georgios Varouxakis analyses the Victorian perceptions and representations of France and the French by intellectuals or, more precisely, ‘public moralists’. John Stuart Mill, Matthew Arnold and Walter Bagehot provide the major textual sources, supplemented by a handful of lesser-known authors.
The average historian steps with some trepidation into the murky territory that lies on the borderlands of philosophy and literary criticism.
Edward Daniel Clarke, the primary British Traveller considered in this book, asked his readers to consider the purpose of travel; Brian Dolan, the author of this book, asks his readers to consider how and why people write about travel.
Professor Spence is described on the dust-cover of this book as 'perhaps now the leading historian of China in the English-speaking world'. Without doubt he is the most imaginative and the most versatile scholar working in that field. The Gate of Heavenly Peace, first published in 1981, was a history of modern China as seen through the lives of Chinese writers and intellectuals.
Growing out of recent work on gender, scholars are now turning their attention to the history of masculinity. A key aspect of this subject is how masculinity is constructed, since, in the words of Michael Roper and John Tosh, 'masculinity is never fully possessed, but must perpetually be achieved, asserted and renegotiated'.