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For those interested in learning more about, and reflecting upon, the iconic Russian revolutions of 1917 during this centenary year, there has been no shortage of recent publications.
Eli Rubin has written a wonderful book that does not just tell a fascinating story about an important but much neglected subject, but also manages to link this story to much broader historiographical, and indeed ontological, questions about the intersections between space, on one hand, and power, time and lived experience on the other.
Hitherto, the historiography of ‘city-states’ has in general not been comparative, preferring to focus on one city, or one region, rather than taking a European perspective.
In May 1995 Alain Corbin organised a conference on the history of the barricade, quite a novel departure at that time. Being asked to focus exclusively on one part of the insurrectionary process intrigued those of us invited to contribute.
Medieval Italian cities have frequently been the focus of international historical research. The particular qualities of the elites that emerged here were notably stressed by Marino Berengo in his classic book on the history of European towns.(1)
Political biography has a relatively minor part in medieval and renaissance Venetian historiography when compared to other European states – such as England – or Italy’s other major republic in the period, Florence.
It has often been observed that the greatest legacy of the Paris Commune of 1871 was its myth. In its short duration the Commune failed to transform Paris in any lasting way – even its supreme gesture of repudiation of the military traditions of the French past, the toppling of the Vendôme column, was to be reversed.
In the middle of the period covered by this book, one of the most resonant accounts of urban life ever written was composed by the poet Dante. For all its startling vividness, however, Dante's evocation of the city in the Divine Comedy is not easy to interpret.