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Trauma has become a burning topic in Western cultures of late. Traumatic events and debates over how they are remembered by individuals and memorialised by cultures are important for lots of different constituencies.
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.
I suppose a slight confession is in order before I begin. This is a book that I had hoped to write, but for a variety of reasons it never transpired. To me, it seemed to be a glaring omission in the literature on Stalin. Bookshops were awash with biographies of Stalin. Appraisals of the Stalinist system were as numerous as medals on Brezhnev's chest.
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.
'Noonan did not read polyptychs, and Duby did not read these penitentials.' (p. 185).
This impressively erudite, well researched, and eloquently written book by Joan Pau Rubiés analyses the development of Iberian and Italian travellers' accounts of south India over three hundred years.
I came to review this book with a great deal of anticipation. MacGregor Knox has been working for a long time on a comparative analysis of the fascist dictatorships, and is one of a line of US or US-trained historians who have breathed life into the recent study of contemporary European history by using a comparative approach.
Despite spurious claims being made in some quarters about 'a new consensus',(1) the history of fascism remains a bitterly contested area, even if, notwithstanding the Irving Trial, most contests occur in the seminar room rather than the courtroom.
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.