This is a wonderful book. It invites a range of responses: from engaged discussion, heated argument to personal reminiscences.
The dust-jacket of this book defines Diane Purkiss as a Lecturer in English; within its pages she prefers to describe herself as a feminist literary critic. It is a potent combination, and has resulted in a thoroughly individual and very important book.
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!
'We historians are dull creatures', A.J.P. Taylor once wrote, 'and women sometimes notice this.' One woman who obviously thought Taylor far from dull was Kathy Burk, the last of his postgraduate students.
This book is committed to two main propositions, one general and one more particular.
Historians and their publics: a consideration of Ludmilla Jordanova
In 1841, having unsuccessfully contested the Professorship of Natural History at University College London, W. S. Farquharson wrote to the College authorities as follows:
At a time when, particularly in the new universities and colleges of higher education, historians feel themselves in danger of being swept away by the advancing tide of vocationalism, any attempt to uphold the importance of the subject to the life of the nation is, one might think, to be welcomed.
Trauma has become a burning topic in Western cultures of late. Traumatic events and debates over how they are remembered by individuals and memorialised by cultures are important for lots of different constituencies.
This book can be viewed in several ways. Each of its ten chapters by a different author deals with a discrete topic (women, gender, public opinion, photography and food supply) without any pretence of thematic unity.
'It is not necessary to be dull to write about history', Ged Martin remarks (p. 8). One suspects that many historians would add, 'but it helps'. This book is a wonderful antidote to that excessive seriousness. The style is crisp, paradox and aphorism abound – 'historians love paradoxes', Martin says (p.