In 1775, Samuel Johnson had already identified the central paradox of United States history. He notoriously challenged British readers to explain why ‘we hear the loudest yelps for liberty among the drivers of negroes’. Generations of historians have tried to answer that question. How could a movement espousing belief in liberty include so many slaveholders?
In his 2013 book, The Enlightenment: And Why It Still Matters, Anthony Pagden devoted a chapter to the European ‘discovery’ of ‘man in nature’, partly through their study of the individual men whom French and British explorers brought back from their voyages to the South Pacific.
On the 18th of June, 1556, Mr Francesco, a second-hand goods dealer with a shop near the clock tower in Piazza San Marco, borrowed two Greek manuscripts from the collection that would later become the heart of Venice’s famous Marciana library: Proclus on Platonic Theology, and The Commentary of Hierocles on the Golden Verses of Pythagoras.
The Cry of the Renegade begins with the ending of the story. The book starts by mapping the procession that took place on 1 October 1920, when thousands took to the streets to pay their respects and say farewell to José Domingo Gómez Rojas, a poet, university student, and municipal clerk. In his narrative of the procession, Raymond B.
The aim to cover, in a single monograph, patterns and trends in memory across early modern Europe is an ambitious one. Yet if anyone could achieve this it would be Judith Pollmann. This is an ambitious book in its chronological and geographical scope, but is also pioneering in providing a meta-narrative of continuity and change in early modern memory practices.
Survivor Café: The Legacy of Trauma and the Labyrinth of Memory is novelist Elizabeth Rosner’s first foray into non-fiction.
The Birth of Modern Belief is seriously good. It is erudite, insightful, and cogent; but, above all, it enables us to think hard about the relationship between our past and our present.
Mark Goldie has been one of the most influential interrogators of England in the later 17th and early 18th centuries.
How did the world of nation-states come about? What happened to the world of empires that preceded it? How did the transition take place and how inevitable was it? These may seem (and indeed are) old questions.