René Descartes is best known as the man who coined the phrase “I think, therefore I am.” But though he is remembered most as a thinker, Descartes, the man, was no disembodied mind, theorizing at great remove from the worldly affairs and concerns of his time. Far from it. As a young nobleman, Descartes was a soldier and courtier who took part in some of the greatest events of his generation—a man who would not seem out of place in the pages of The Three Musketeers.
In The Young Descartes, Harold J. Cook tells the story of a man who did not set out to become an author or philosopher—Descartes began publishing only after the age of forty. Rather, for years he traveled throughout Europe in diplomacy and at war. He was present at the opening events of the Thirty Years' War in Central Europe and Northern Italy, and was also later involved in struggles within France. Enduring exile, scandals, and courtly intrigue, on his journeys Descartes associated with many of the most innovative free thinkers and poets of his day, as well as great noblemen, noblewomen, and charismatic religious reformers. In his personal life, he expressed love for men as well as women and was accused of libertinism by his adversaries.
These early years on the move, in touch with powerful people and great events, and his experiences with military engineering and philosophical materialism all shaped the thinker and philosopher Descartes became in exile, where he would begin to write and publish, with purpose. But though it is these writings that made ultimately made him famous, The Young Descartes shows that this story of his early life and the tumultuous times that molded him is sure to spark a reappraisal of his philosophy and legacy.
Paul and Marie Pireaud, a young peasant couple from southwest France, were newlyweds when World War I erupted. With Paul in the army from 1914 through 1919, they were forced to conduct their marriage mostly by correspondence. Drawing upon the hundreds of letters they wrote, Martha Hanna tells their moving story and reveals a powerful and personal perspective on war.
Civilians and combatants alike maintained bonds of emotional commitment and suffered the inevitable miseries of extended absence. While under direct fire at Verdun, Paul wrote with equal intensity and poetic clarity of the brutality of battle and the dietary needs (as he understood them) of his pregnant wife. Marie, in turn, described the difficulties of working the family farm and caring for a sick infant, lamented the deaths of local men, and longed for the safe return of her husband. Through intimate avowals and careful observations, their letters reveal how war transformed their lives, reinforced their love, and permanently altered the character of rural France.
Overwhelmed by one of the most tumultuous upheavals of the modern age, Paul and Marie found solace in family and strength in passion. Theirs is a human story of loneliness and longing, fear in the face of death, and the consolations of love. Your Death Would Be Mine is a poignant tale of ordinary people coping with the trauma of war.
Through fifteen essays that work from a rich array of primary sources, this collection makes the novel claim that early modern European women, like men, had a youth. European culture recognised that, between childhood and full adulthood, early modern women experienced distinctive physiological, social, and psychological transformations. Drawing on two mutually shaped layers of inquiry — cultural constructions of youth and lived experiences — these essays exploit a wide variety of sources, including literary and autobiographical works, conduct literature, judicial and asylum records, drawings, and material culture. The geographical and temporal ranges traverse England, Ireland, Italy, France, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Spain, and Mexico from the sixteenth to the eighteenth century. This volume brings fresh attention to representations of female youth, their own life writings, young women’s training for adulthood, courtship, and the emergent sexual lives of young unmarried women.
Defying Stalin and his brand of communism, Tito's Yugoslavia developed a unique kind of socialism that combined one-party rule with an economic system of workers' self-management that aroused intense interest throughout the Cold War. As a member of the American Universities Field Staff, Dennison Rusinow became a long-time resident and frequent visitor to Yugoslavia. This volume presents the most significant of his refreshingly immediate and well-informed reports on life in Yugoslavia and the country's major political developments.
Rusinow's essays explore such diverse topics as the first American-style supermarket and its challenge to traditional outdoor markets; the lessons of a Serbian holiday feast (Slava); the resignation of vice president Rankovic; the Croatian Spring of 1971; ethnic divides and the rise of nationalism throughout the country; the tension between conservative and liberal forces in Yugoslav politics; and the student revolt at Belgrade University in 1968. Rusinow's final report in 1991 examines the serious challenges to the nation's future even as it collapsed.