In The Ethnographic State: France and the Invention of Moroccan Islam, Edmund Burke does the important work of historicizing colonial-era research on Morocco and Moroccans.
In Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canon’s Yeoman’s Prologue and Tale, the phrase ‘ignotum per ignocius’ is used in connection with the so-called ‘sliding science’ at which the would-be alchemists of the tale labour so diligently.(1) The phrase means to explain the unknown by the more unknown.
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.
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.