Jacob Burckhardt famously described Venice as the mysterious city of 'political secrecy'. In his wake, generations of scholars have continued to point to the remarkable degree of secrecy maintained by Venetian officials where political matters were concerned. Such secrecy, they have claimed, was central to the survival of the early modern state.
France in the early-modern period presents us with a range of striking images, from its bloody civil wars to its fabulous court at Versailles, from its swashbuckling musketeers to its mistreated peasantry, all of which feature in the pages of this impressive monograph.
In Thomas Cannon’s 1749 pamphlet Ancient and Modern Pederasty Investigated and Exemplify’d, the author recounts a chance meeting with a ‘too polish’d Pederast’ who, ‘attack’d upon the Head, that his Desire was unnatural, thus wrestled in Argument; Unnatural Desire is a Contradiction in Terms; downright Nonsense.
The intellectual historian Martin Jay once championed the cause of ‘ocular-eccentricity’ as an alternative mode of visual engagement.(1) The term, of course, was a play on ‘ocularcentricity’, the concept that the rational power of the eye had come to dominate the nature and scope of our interactions.
Sandra Cavallo’s Artisans of the Body in Early Modern Italy will appeal to scholars interested in the social history of medicine for more than one reason.
As popular television and film insists on reminding us, Jesuits were infamous in the early-modern period for plotting the deaths of monarchs. Shekhar Kapur’s portrayal of Edmund Campion in Elizabeth (1998), cloaked and dagger in hand, is a case in point.
This is a book of exceptional originality and importance. Dr Martínez Hernández has written a biography of Don Gómez Dávila y Toledo (1541–1616), II Marquis of Velada, but such is the breadth of his research that his book reshapes our understanding of the courtly politics and of the policymaking processes at the Spanish court in the critically important period from the 1560s to the 1620s.
To study Russia before the late 19th century is to labour under a twofold handicap.
This book might come as a surprise for non-specialists, since black Africans are identified with slave trade to the Americas, while the Renaissance is regarded as a purely European phenomenon, centred on a largely homogeneous ethnicity. Neither of these assertions is true, and this excellent book helps to deconstruct such historical stereotypes.
In this intellectually stimulating book Andrew C. Thompson criticises a realist interpretation of British foreign policy. His main argument runs that eighteenth-century foreign policy 'was not simply determined either by the desire for profit or territorial gain. It was part of a complex web of ideas that were intimately related to a broader political culture' (p. 2).