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.
The Uses of the Bible in Crusader Sources makes an important and timely intervention in the field of crusader studies.
Survivor Café: The Legacy of Trauma and the Labyrinth of Memory is novelist Elizabeth Rosner’s first foray into non-fiction.
Ark of Civilization: Refugee Scholars and Oxford University, 1930-1945 / Sally Crawford, Jas Elsner, Katharina Ulmschneider
We are all familiar with modern debates in the media regarding the politics of refugee rescue and arguments surrounding which immigrants should be prioritised for rescue and aid.
Inspiration and Authority in the Middle Ages: Prophets and their Critics from Scholasticism to Humanism / Brian Fitzgerald
Brian Fitzgerald begins this timely, useful and extremely interesting book by stating what should be pretty obvious to scholars of medieval prophetic texts; that prophecy in the Middle Ages took a wide variety of forms, right across Europe and beyond.
Ask a historian of demonology to review a biography of an astrologer. It seemed like a good idea when the invitation arrived, and I happily consented. What could possibly go wrong? The subject seemed interesting.
Work on the European revolutions of 1848 has rolled out at an accelerated rate since their 150th anniversary two decades ago. Much of this newer research has looked at previously unheralded social and cultural dimensions of the revolutionary conjuncture, but politics has remained, necessarily, at the centre of the literature.
Thomas Paine, the most widely read political thinker in the late 18th century, played a notable role in the American Revolution, in the development of popular radicalism in Britain, and in the French Revolution.
Taming Capitalism Before its Triumph: Public Service, Distrust, & ‘Projecting’ in Early Modern England / Koji Yamamoto
It is hard to tell a non-deterministic story about the shift from early modern to modern economic practices: the terms we use (‘modernity’, ‘capitalism’, ‘economic’), the questions we ask, and the conclusions we draw are all inevitably weighed down by what we think or know about economic life today.