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The sub-branch of history that is known by the ambiguous (and frightening to undergraduates, cats, and many mainstream academics) name “historiography” seems to be undergoing a Renaissance at the moment.
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.
Ask a historian of demonology to review a biography of an astrologer. It seemed like a good idea when the invitation arrived, and I happily consented. What could possibly go wrong? The subject seemed interesting.
A. C. Grayling's latest book claims that the modern mind emerged from a series of events which took place, and ideas which materialised, in the 17th century. The Age of Genius argues that the forces of democracy, secularism, enlightenment and science triumphed at this time over divine-right monarchy, religious faith, ignorance and tradition.
Radical Enlightenment: Philosophy and the Making of Modernity 1650–1750 (Oxford, 2001); Enlightenment Contested: Philosophy, Modernity and the Emancipation of Man 1670–1752 (Oxford, 2006); Democratic Enlightenment: Philosophy, Revolution and Human Rights 1750–1790 (Oxford, 2011); Revolutionary Ideas: an Intellectual History of the French Revolution from the Rights
From the moment it was first published in 1997, Maria Todorova’s Imagining the Balkans became an instant must-read, in particular but not only, for readers interested in the history of the ‘Balkans’. Concerns about the situation in Southeast Europe at the time, in the aftermath of the wars in the former Yugoslavia, guaranteed that its impact reached beyond the specialist public.
The history of the European Wars of Religion from the Crusades onward has provided fertile ground for study by historians, philosophers, and theologians of all ideological persuasions. The period from the 1520s forward particularly has served as the subject of an astonishing amount of research – with no discernable chronological gap in the historiography.
It is generally assumed that the digital revolution will spell the end for print journalism. Newspaper sales are in terminal decline as an increasing number of readers turn to websites, smartphones, and social media for their news and entertainment. However, while the internet may eventually kill off modern-day newspapers, it has managed to breathe new life into their ancestors.
In the latest of our occasional Reviews in History podcast series, Daniel Snowman talks to Lady Antonia Fraser about her work as a historian and biographer.
Lady Anonia Fraser is British author of history, novels, biographies and detective fiction.
Daniel Snowman is a writer, lecturer and broadcaster on social and cultural history.
It is rare to review a book that was published nearly 60 years ago. It is also a privilege, because Sir George Hill’s last volume in his four-volume A History of Cyprus is considered by most historians of Cyprus as the starting point for both students and scholars of the Ottoman and British periods (until 1948) of Cyprus’ past.