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The title of Susan Whyman’s The Pen and the People: English Letter Writers 1660-1800 suggests two potentialities at once: The Pen and the People indicates a comprehensive study of popular letters and letter-writing practices during the long 18th century (1660–1800); yet the subtitle, English Letter Writers, implies focused and discrete analyses of specific letter
The ‘shock city’ of the 18th century , London was always interesting to onlookers, but between 1763 and 1776 it was particularly interesting. It was the capital city of one of the most successful Great Powers, one that had just emerged the winner in the war with France.
The history of nakedness deserves a serious history. For organised nudism or ‘naturism’ was a conscious movement initiated by Europeans at the end of the 19th century that has exerted a significant influence over society and politics in the wider world. This book is not that serious academic history. In one respect its aim is much more ambitious.
At the height of summer in August 1996, The New Republic featured a front cover that depicted a young African American woman smoking a cigarette while feeding her baby. The words ‘Day of Reckoning’ were emblazoned in bold letters across the image, and the exhortation by the editors to ‘Sign the Welfare Bill Now’ was prominently placed underneath the photograph.
When historians of the future come to write about the historiographical preoccupations of 21st-century Britons, they surely will observe our growing obsession with consumer behaviour and material culture.
What is a ‘Companion’ for?
If one looks today at a satellite image of Manama (1), the capital city of Bahrain, the picture of the extended urban conurbation which covers both the north of the main island and the little island which faces it (Muharraq, the former capital of the emirate in the 19th century) is rather different from the ‘Islands of Paradise’ featured in the Sumerian Gilgamesh epic