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How should we live? Roman Krznaric, in The Wonderbox: Curious Histories of How to Live, tackles a question as old as civilization itself from a position more fundamental than philosophy, religion or psychology offer on their own. This position is historical.
Classical works formed the kernel of Thomas Jefferson's libraries. The third president read both Latin and Greek. He wrote repeatedly of his fondness of classical literature and died, on 4 July 1826, with Seneca's work open on his bedside table. Nonetheless, Jefferson in many ways doubted the classical world was the original mold upon which the American experiment had to be built.
No one would deny that Pompeii, the city destroyed by the forces of nature – as when, in the words of the poet Leopardi, ‘an overripe tomato falls on an anthill’ – has attained the status of an archetype, outpacing even Atlantis (whose story must now be explained to the unfamiliar in terms of the fate of Pompeii).
According to the blurb on the back of this book:
even from his mid-twenties, he was a relentless self-promoter, a writer possessed of an inner conviction to succeed and an overwhelming hunger to be heard (p. 226)
The recent upsurge in the popularity of documentaries, historical novels, films and television adaptations of past events and persons has emphasised the fact that there is a public thirst for history that remains largely untapped by the academic profession.
The liberal enlightenment idea of progress has promised many benefits over the past 300 years. Liberal progress, we have been told, would provide cures for diseases, remedies for ignorance, alternatives to superstition, and antidotes to poverty. Nothing however has raised higher expectations than liberalism’s claim that it could put an end to war.
A book-length examination of the work of Frank Ankersmit has been long overdue. Ankersmit occupies a curious position in regards to the various skirmishes taking place over the philosophy of history in the past 30 years or so.
As Geoffrey Elton put it, ‘The future is dark; the present is burdensome; only the past, dead and finished, bears contemplation’.(1) We take the concept of ‘the past’ for granted, yet Schiffman argues that the notion of the past as a concept ‘began only fairly recently, during the Renaissance, and did not culminate until the eighteenth century, after which it acquired
In Remembering the Road to World War Two Patrick Finney (a student of 20th-century international history, history and theory, and collective memory) writes an impressive and informative account, not of the origins of the Second World War, but of the way historians and others have remembered those origins.