Edwin Jones has produced a powerful, complex, eloquent and truly remarkable book. It is a heady blend of history and politics, past and present - committed scholarship in the best sense. It rests on the conviction that historical understanding matters.
I confess that he gets on my nerves. I have admired some of his work. But the ipse behind the work - what a lot of that ipse there is!
This is an important book which deserves wide circulation. It is perhaps the only satisfactory extended study yet produced of that important cultural figure Havelock Ellis and the impact of his writings. The parlous state of Ellis scholarship was recently demonstrated by Vernon Rosario's otherwise excellent edited volume Science and Homosexualities (1997).
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.
Any would-be anthologist of Edmund Burke, even if he or she is content to rely solely on published items, has a huge body of material from which to choose for inclusion in a single volume. A fair amount was published in Burke's own lifetime.
[References which begin with a Roman numeral are to the volume number and then page in the Writings and Speeches of Edmund Burke. Other numerals are to end notes]
The enormously energetic working-class reading cultures occupying the core of Jonathan Rose’s magnificent study grew up from rather unpromising roots. For long periods, reading, like publishing, could be a dangerous business.
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.
The Victorians is the second volume to appear in The Oxford English Literary History, a series commissioned by the late Kim Scott Walwyn to replace the fifteen-volume Oxford History of English Literature (the last part of which was published as recently as 1997).
I find this an extremely difficult book to review fairly. McLaren has an enormous and infectious enthusiasm for her texts. And her work is important; she takes the discussion of a widespread form of historical writing well beyond the point at which it was left by a fine scholar, C. L. Kingsford.