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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.
Luxury in the Eighteenth Century is a welcome collection of essays on a very important topic.
I do not know whether the Italian title of this book (Vita di casa) is an allusion to Mario Praz and his autobiography La casa della vita (Milan, 1958), but it would be fitting. In that book Mario Praz guides the reader through his Roman house and tells his life during the tour.
It is refreshing to be told by William Hagen that 'refractoriness and insubordination proved to be Prussian virtues'.(p. 645) This statement would not be surprising about nineteenth-century Prussian working-class culture, but it is about early modern nobles and peasants.
Never mind the cover (lovely though it is). Readers who are fast to judge and slow to think will be tempted to judge this book by its title alone. What, they will want to ask, could Patrice Higonnet possibly mean by calling Paris ‘capital of the world?’ Does the world have a capital? Since when has it been located in Paris?
The genesis of this fine monograph occurred in a moment of confounding cultural confrontation when Christopher Ely first viewed Russian landscape painting of the nineteenth century. Perplexed, he jotted down a question for himself. Why, he asked, were these works so 'consciously unbeautiful'? Gazing at one dreary canvas after another, he wondered, 'What was this fascination with mud?' (p.
Not so long ago, Peter the Great was commonly portrayed by historians on both sides of the Iron Curtain as a proto-Homo Sovieticus: an icon of muscular masculinity, giant in both frame and achievement. According to this tradition, it was Peter's distinctive genius to drag a backward and xenophobic Muscovy, kicking and screaming, into the rational modern world.
This substantial volume is about more and less than the title indicates. Jill Harsin, known to specialists of nineteenth-century France for her earlier book, Policing Prostitution in Nineteenth-Century France (Princeton University Press; Princeton, 1985) has here produced a detailed narrative of the role of Paris artisans in revolution and popular unrest between 1830 and 1848.
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.
This work complements the author’s previous study on the longer-term origins of the French Revolution (1), and like that text, makes a forceful case for Stone’s ‘global-historical’ conception (what was an ‘interpretation’ in the earlier text becoming a ‘perspective’ in this.) That con