Most readers think of a written work as producing its meaning through the words it contains. But what is the significance of the detailed and beautiful illuminations on a medieval manuscript? Of the deliberately chosen typefaces in a book of poems by Yeats? Of the design and layout of text in an electronic format? How does the material form of a work shape its understanding in a particular historical moment, in a particular culture?
The material features of texts as physical artifacts--their "bibliographic codes" --have over the last decade excited increasing interest in a variety of disciplines. The Iconic Page in Manuscript, Print, and Digital Culture gathers essays by an extraordinarily distinguished group of scholars to offer the most comprehensive examination of these issues yet, drawing on examples from literature, history, the fine arts, and philosophy.
Fittingly, the volume contains over two dozen illustrations that display the iconic features of the works analyzed--from Alfred the Great's Boethius through medieval manuscripts to the philosophy of C. S. Peirce and the dustjackets on works by F. Scott Fitzgerald and William Styron.
The Iconic Page in Manuscript, Print, and Digital Culture will be groundbreaking reading for scholars in a wide range of fields.
George Bornstein is C. A. Patrides Professor of English, University of Michigan. Theresa Tinkle is Associate Professor of English, University of Michigan.
With the introduction of the printing press in England in 1476, a struggle over its control--and its potential for interrupting power--was joined. The written word, once the domain of the upper levels of society that controlled politics, economics, and religion, could be seen passing into the hands of anyone throughout the social strata who wished to voice opinions on any topic of interest or importance. How the advent of printing led to the idea of a free press is the story told by David Copeland in this book, which traces a confrontation that began with issues of religion and gradually expanded into the realm of political freedom.
The rise of a free press was, in many ways, a legacy of the Reformation and Enlightenment. Copeland describes a discourse centered on questions of religion--a discussion that the government, with all its religious authority, could not suppress because of the belief that the ability to reason for oneself was God-given. In this account we see how the debate moved from religion to the purely political sphere, and how, through the increased use of the printing press, it was opened to a multiplicity of voices and opinions. Spanning nearly four centuries in Britain and America, Copeland's book reveals how the tension between government control and the right to debate public affairs openly ultimately led to the idea of a free press; in doing so, it documents an intellectual development of unparalleled relevance and importance to the history of journalism.
While the Victorian novel famously describes, catalogs, and inundates the reader with things, the protocols for reading it have long enjoined readers not to interpret most of what crowds its pages. The Ideas in Things explores apparently inconsequential objects in popular Victorian texts to make contact with their fugitive meanings. Developing an innovative approach to analyzing nineteenth-century fiction, Elaine Freedgood here reconnects the things readers unwittingly ignore to the stories they tell.
Building her case around objects from three well-known Victorian novels—the mahogany furniture in Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre, the calico curtains in Elizabeth Gaskell’s Mary Barton, and “Negro head” tobacco in Charles Dickens’s Great Expectations—Freedgood argues that these things are connected to histories that the novels barely acknowledge, generating darker meanings outside the novels’ symbolic systems. A valuable contribution to the new field of object studies in the humanities, The Ideas in Things pushes readers’ thinking about things beyond established concepts of commodity and fetish.
A rare combination of documented fact and good storytelling, Ill-Starred General is the biography of a much maligned man from one of history's most vital eras. The career of Edward Braddock began during the court intrigues of Queen Anne and George I, gained momentum in continental military campaigns in the early 1750s, and ended abruptly in the rout of his American army near present-day Pittsburgh in 1755. This highly acclaimed biography reveals the man--and the politics--behind his defeat, one of the major setbacks to British imperial power in the American colonies.
This book presents the first comprehensive treatment of Anglo-American rivalry over Latin America in the late nineteenth century, who battled for economic and political influence in the region from the Civil War until 1895, when the Venezuelan boundary dispute came to a head and the Monroe Doctrine was finally recognized by the British. Yet author Joseph Smith posits that this was only an illusion of conflict, that the two major powers has shared objectives all along in the region.
In Image Matters, Tina M. Campt traces the emergence of a black European subject by examining how specific black European communities used family photography to create forms of identification and community. At the heart of Campt's study are two photographic archives, one composed primarily of snapshots of black German families taken between 1900 and 1945, and the other assembled from studio portraits of West Indian migrants to Birmingham, England, taken between 1948 and 1960. Campt shows how these photographs conveyed profound aspirations to forms of national and cultural belonging. In the process, she engages a host of contemporary issues, including the recoverability of non-stereotypical life stories of black people, especially in Europe, and their impact on our understanding of difference within diaspora; the relevance and theoretical approachability of domestic, vernacular photography; and the relationship between affect and photography. Campt places special emphasis on the tactile and sonic registers of family photographs, and she uses them to read the complexity of "race" in visual signs and to highlight the inseparability of gender and sexuality from any analysis of race and class. Image Matters is an extraordinary reflection on what vernacular photography enabled black Europeans to say about themselves and their communities.
Imagination has long been regarded as central to C. S. Lewis's life and to his creative and critical works, but this is the first study to provide a thorough analysis of his theory of imagination, including the different ways he used the word and how those uses relate to each other. Peter Schakel begins by concentrating on the way reading or engaging with the other arts is an imaginative activity. He focuses on three books in which imagination is the central theme—Surprised by Joy, An Experiment in Criticism, and The Discarded Image—and shows the important role of imagination in Lewis's theory of education.
He then examines imagination and reading in Lewis's fiction, concentrating specifically on the Chronicles of Narnia, the most imaginative of his works. He looks at how the imaginative experience of reading the Chronicles is affected by the physical texture of the books, the illustrations, revisions of the texts, the order in which the books are read, and their narrative "voice," the "storyteller" who becomes almost a character in the stories.
Imagination and the Arts in C. S. Lewis also explores Lewis's ideas about imagination in the nonliterary arts. Although Lewis regarded engagement with the arts as essential to a well- rounded and satisfying life, critics of his work and even biographers have given little attention to this aspect of his life. Schakel reviews the place of music, dance, art, and architecture in Lewis's life, the ways in which he uses them as content in his poems and stories, and how he develops some of the deepest, most significant themes of his stories through them.
Schakel concludes by analyzing the uses and abuses of imagination. He looks first at "moral imagination." Although Lewis did not use this term, Schakel shows how Lewis developed the concept in That Hideous Strength and The Abolition of Man long before it became popularized in the 1980s and 1990s. While readers often concentrate on the Christian dimension of Lewis's works, equally or more important to him was their moral dimension.
Imagination and the Arts in C. S. Lewis will appeal to students and teachers of both children's literature and twentieth-century British writers. It will also be of value to readers who wish to compare Lewis's creations with more recent imaginative works such as the Harry Potter series.
This collection of essays shifts the focus of scholarly debate away from the themes that have traditionally dominated the study of Edmund Burke. In the past, largely ideology-based or highly textual studies have tended to paint Burke as a “prophet” or “precursor” of movements as diverse as conservatism, political pragmatism, and romanticism. In contrast, these essays address prominent issues in contemporary society—multiculturalism, the impact of postmodern and relativist methodologies, the boundaries of state-church relationships, and religious tolerance in modern societies—by emphasizing Burke’s earlier career and writings and focusing on his position on historiography, moral philosophy, jurisprudence, aesthetics, and philosophical skepticism.
The essays in this collection, written by some of today’s most renowned Burke scholars, will radically challenge our deeply rooted assumptions about Burke, his thought, and his place in the history of Western political philosophy.
Imagining Politics critically examines two interpretations of government. The first comes from pop culture fictions about politics, the second from academic political science. Stephen Benedict Dyson argues that televised political fictions and political science theories are attempts at meaning-making, reflecting and shaping how a society thinks about its politics.
By taking fiction seriously, and by arguing that political science theory is homologous to fiction, the book offers a fresh perspective on both, using fictions such as The West Wing, House of Cards, Borgen, Black Mirror, and Scandal to challenge the assumptions that construct the discipline of political science itself.
Imagining Politics is also about a political moment in the West. Two great political shocks—Brexit and the election of Donald Trump—are set in a new context here. Dyson traces how Brexit and Trump campaigned against our image of politics as usual, and won.
The South African War (1899–1902), also called the Boer War and Anglo-Boer War, began as a conventional conflict. It escalated into a savage irregular war fought between the two Boer republics and a British imperial force that adopted a scorched-earth policy and used concentration camps to break the will of Afrikaner patriots and Boer guerrillas. In An Imperfect Occupation , John Boje delves into the agonizing choices faced by Winburg district residents during the British occupation. Afrikaner men fought or evaded combat or collaborated; Afrikaner women fled over the veld or submitted to life in the camps; and black Africans weighed the life or death consequences of taking sides. Boje's sensitive analysis showcases the motives, actions, and reactions of Boers and Africans alike as initial British accommodation gave way to ruthlessness. Challenging notions of Boer unity and homogeneity, Boje illustrates the precarious tightrope of resistance, neutrality, and collaboration walked by people on all sides. He also reveals how the repercussions of the war's transformative effect on Afrikaner identity plays out in today's South Africa. Readable and compassionate, An Imperfect Occupation provides a dramatic account of the often overlooked aspects of one of the first "modern" wars.
Illuminates the intersections between colonial thought and homosexuality.
An exploration of the intersection of colonialism and homosexuality in fiction and travel writing from Robinson Crusoe to the present, this volume brings together two dynamic fields of academic inquiry: colonial discourse analysis, which considers literary texts as expressions of colonial power; and queer theory, which interrogates the representation, enforcement, and subversions of sexualities in literature and culture.
These writers reexamine the work of Kipling, Conrad, Forster, Lessing, and others, ranging from male adventure stories to postcolonial novels. This volume will provoke and inform readers concerned with gender and sexuality, colonial history and literature, or with any of the works and authors revisited-and reexperienced-here.
Contributors: Anjali Arondekar, John C. Beynon, Joseph A. Boone, Sarah Cole, Lois Cucullu, Maria Davidis, Dennis Denisoff, Mark Forrester, Terry Goldie, Christopher Lane, Tim Middleton, Hans Turley.
Philip Holden is assistant professor of English at the National University of Singapore. Richard J. Ruppel is professor and chair in the Department of English at Viterbo University.
Peder ANKER Harvard University Press, 2001 Library of Congress GF551.A65 2001 | Dewey Decimal 304.209041
From 1895 to the founding of the United Nations in 1945, the promising new science of ecology flourished in the British Empire. Peder Anker asks why ecology expanded so rapidly and how a handful of influential scientists and politicians established a tripartite ecology of nature, knowledge, and society.
Patrons in the northern and southern extremes of the Empire, he argues, urgently needed tools for understanding environmental history as well as human relations to nature and society in order to set policies for the management of natural resources and to effect social control of natives and white settlement. Holists such as Jan Christian Smuts and mechanists such as Arthur George Tansley vied for the right to control and carry out ecological research throughout the British Empire and to lay a foundation of economic and social policy that extended from Spitsbergen to Cape Town.
The enlargement of the field from botany to human ecology required a broader methodological base, and ecologists drew especially on psychology and economy. They incorporated those methodologies and created a new ecological order for environmental, economic, and social management of the Empire.
Table of Contents:
From Social Psychology to Imperial Ecology General Smuts's Politics of Holism and Patronage of Ecology The Oxford School of Imperial Ecology Holism and the Ecosystem Controversy The Politics of Holism, Ecology, and Human Rights Planning a New Human Ecology
Conclusion: A World without History An Ecology of Ecologists
Notes Sources Index
Reviews of this book: Peder Anker's Imperial Ecology is the unexpected story of how late-imperial British ecologists took their arcane studies of marine life off Spitzbergen or the game of southern Africa and brought them to bear on very different areas of interest. These ecologists fashioned from their studies a view of human ecology broad enough, in this telling, to embrace cycles of sexual activity in Japanese brothels, famine in central Asia, the building blocks for national economic planning and the cultural underpinnings of Nazism. An eye-opener. --Fred Pearce, New Scientist
Reviews of this book: Few books are truly original; however, Anker...puts an original perspective on the history of ecology, linking two major schools of thought...to the imperial aspirations of Great Britain. The UK provided patronage (grants) to support ecologists who in turn provided important concepts strengthening Britain's imperial grip by enhancing resource management and incorporating human ecology into colonial ecosystems...This thought-provoking book provides many new insights into the history of a discipline. It will be news to most ecologists, whose knowledge of their own history is often sketchy at best. --J. Burger, Choice
Anker has written a ruthlessly honest political and cultural history of ecology, setting it firmly in the world of nineteenth-century colonialism. Illusions vanish here: turn of the century ecology did not stand for a pure pacifism or an eden of natural harmony. Instead, we find that both the liberal mechanism of British ecologist Arthur George Tansley and the holistic ecology of South African statesman Jan Christian Smuts were both firmly built upon nationalism--and a nationalism that mattered a great deal, militarily, racially, and socially. This is important work and a riveting read. --Peter Galison, Harvard University
Joseph Dalton Hooker (1817–1911) was an internationally renowned botanist, a close friend and early supporter of Charles Darwin, and one of the first—and most successful—British men of science to become a full-time professional. He was also, Jim Endersby argues, the perfect embodiment of Victorian science. A vivid picture of the complex interrelationships of scientific work and scientific ideas, Imperial Nature gracefully uses one individual’s career to illustrate the changing world of science in the Victorian era.
By analyzing Hooker’s career, Endersby offers vivid insights into the everyday activities of nineteenth-century naturalists, considering matters as diverse as botanical illustration and microscopy, classification, and specimen transportation and storage, to reveal what they actually did, how they earned a living, and what drove their scientific theories. What emerges is a rare glimpse of Victorian scientific practices in action. By focusing on science’s material practices and one of its foremost practitioners, Endersby ably links concerns about empire, professionalism, and philosophical practices to the forging of a nineteenth-century scientific identity.
Radhika Mohanram shows not just how British imperial culture shaped the colonies, but how the imperial rule of colonies shifted—and gave new meanings to—what it meant to be British.
Imperial White looks at literary, social, and cultural texts on the racialization of the British body and investigates British whiteness in the colonies to address such questions as: How was the whiteness in Britishness constructed by the presence of Empire? How was whiteness incorporated into the idea of masculinity? Does heterosexuality have a color? And does domestic race differ from colonial race? In addition to these inquiries on the issues of race, class, and sexuality, Mohanram effectively applies the methods of whiteness studies to British imperial material culture to critically racialize the relationship between the metropole and the peripheral colonies.
Considering whether whiteness, like theory, can travel, Mohanram also provides a new perspective on white diaspora, a phenomenon of the nineteenth century that has been largely absent in diaspora studies, ultimately rereading—and rethinking—British imperial whiteness.
Radhika Mohanram teaches postcolonial cultural studies in the School of English, Communication and Philosophy at Cardiff University, Wales. She is the author of Black Body: Women, Colonialism, Space (Minnesota, 1999) and edits the journal Social Semiotics.
Using black feminist theory and African American studies to read Victorian culture, Impossible Purities looks at the construction of “Englishness” as white, masculine, and pure and “Americanness” as black, feminine, and impure. Brody’s readings of Victorian novels, plays, paintings, and science fiction reveal the impossibility of purity and the inevitability of hybridity in representations of ethnicity, sexuality, gender, and race. She amasses a considerable amount of evidence to show that Victorian culture was bound inextricably to various forms and figures of blackness. Opening with a reading of Daniel Defoe’s “A True-Born Englishman,” which posits the mixed origins of English identity, Brody goes on to analyze mulattas typified by Rhoda Swartz in William Thackeray’s Vanity Fair, whose mixed-race status reveals the “unseemly origins of English imperial power.” Examining Victorian stage productions from blackface minstrel shows to performances of The Octoroon and Uncle Tom’s Cabin, she explains how such productions depended upon feminized, “black” figures in order to reproduce Englishmen as masculine white subjects. She also discusses H.G. Wells’s The Island of Dr. Moreau in the context of debates about the “new woman,” slavery, and fears of the monstrous degeneration of English gentleman. Impossible Purities concludes with a discussion of Bram Stoker’s novella, “The Lair of the White Worm,” which brings together the book’s concerns with changing racial representations on both sides of the Atlantic. This book will be of interest to scholars in Victorian studies, literary theory, African American studies, and cultural criticism.
Exploring the intersection of ideas about woman, subjectivity, and literary authority, Impressionist Subjects reveals the female subject as crucial in framing contradictions central to modernism, particularly the tension between modernism's claim to timeless art and its critique of historical conditions.
Against the backdrop of the New Woman movement of the 1890s, Tamar Katz establishes literary impressionism as integral to modernist form and to the modernist project of investigating the nature and function of subjectivity. Focusing on a duality common to impressionism and contemporary ideas of feminine subjectivity, Katz shows how the New Woman reconciled the paradox of a subject at once immersed in the world and securely enclosed in a mysterious interiority.
Katz reads Walter Pater's aestheticism in the context of Victorian domestic ideology, a world split between safe interiors and risky exteriors. She uses some of the central debates of the 1890s on women's knowledge and interiority to illuminate fiction by George Egerton, Sarah Grand, and Henry James. She looks at how Lord Jim and The Good Soldier project a universalized masculine narrator against a vision of female subjectivity that is too close for comfort. She also considers Dorothy Richardson's Pilgrimage and Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway and The Waves /i> as impressionist experiments that explore the complexity of the connection between modernist abstraction and feminine subjectivity.
Sophisticated and tightly argued, Impressionist Subjects is a substantial contribution to the reassessment and expansion of the modernist fiction canon.
Keith Thomas’s earlier studies in the ethnography of early modern England, Religion and the Decline of Magic, Man and the Natural World, and The Ends of Life, were all attempts to explore beliefs, values, and social practices in the centuries from 1500 to 1800. In Pursuit of Civility continues this quest by examining what English people thought it meant to be “civilized” and how that condition differed from being “barbarous” or “savage.” Thomas shows that the upper ranks of society sought to distinguish themselves from their social inferiors by distinctive ways of moving, speaking, and comporting themselves, and that the common people developed their own form of civility. The belief of the English in their superior civility shaped their relations with the Welsh, the Scots, and the Irish, and was fundamental to their dealings with the native peoples of North America, India, and Australia. Yet not everyone shared this belief in the superiority of Western civilization; the book sheds light on the origins of both anticolonialism and cultural relativism. Thomas has written an accessible history based on wide reading, abounding in fresh insights, and illustrated by many striking quotations and anecdotes from contemporary sources.
The Victorian era was characterized by great scientific curiosity—as exemplified by the publication of Darwin’s Descent of Man—as well as by new questions regarding the place of women in society. Patricia Murphy now explores the tenuous interplay of gender and science to show how the era’s literature both challenged and reinforced a constrictive role for Victorian women. Focusing on a specific body of literature involving women intensely associated with scientific pursuits, and examining selected noncanonical writings—both fictional and nonfictional representations of scientific women—Murphy demonstrates how these works informed the “Woman Question” by reinforcing or rejecting presumed truths about gender and science.
Some of these texts offer lucid insights into the ways in which women were defined, marginalized, and excluded. In his novel Two on a Tower, Thomas Hardy presented science as a masculine realm threatened by female intrusion, while Wilkie Collins in Heart and Science depicted a woman interested in science as a villainous schemer who falls far short of the Victorian ideal of femininity. And although Charles Reade’s novel A Woman-Hater was more sympathetic in its portrayal of a female physician, it continued to reinforce Victorian stereotypes.
In contrast, Murphy also shows us the poetry of science enthusiast Constance Naden, who used the language of the discipline to reflect its marginalization of women. Murphy also uses the travel memoirs of botanical painter Marianne North, which reveal her attempts to achieve a gender-neutral voice to position her work within the Victorian scientific realm. Through the words of these women, Murphy shows how popular notions of women’s inferiority and marginality were internalized and addressed.
These close readings further elucidate the status of women in late-nineteenth-century England and show how prejudices about women’s intellectual inferiority infiltrated popular culture. In Science’s Shadow makes new inroads in the study of gendered scientific discourse while introducing readers to some little-known, but most revealing, literary works
In the Nineties
John Stokes University of Chicago Press, 1990 Library of Congress DA560.S76 1989 | Dewey Decimal 941.081
John Stokes's lively study is an exercise in interdisciplinary criticism inspired by the decade it observes, the decade of Wilde, Shaw, Beardsley, and Sickert. No longer dismissed as merely transitional between the Victorian and the Modern, the 1890s have now come to be recognized as unique—a period of dramatic engagement between high culture and popular forms, one medium and another, art and life.
Spurning fixed boundaries, Stokes relates the controversial topics of the day—the status of the "New Journalism," the "degenerative" influence of Impressionist painting, the dubious morality of the music hall, the urgent need for prison reform, and the prevalence of suicide—to primary literary texts, such as The Ballad of Reading Gaol, The Importance of Being Earnest, Jude the Obscure, and Portrait of a Lady. And in the process, he explores crucial areas of sociological and psychological interest: criminality, sexuality, madness, and "morbidity."
Each of the book's six chapters opens with a look at the correspondence columns of daily newspapers and goes on, with a keen eye for the hidden link, to pursue a particular theme. Locations shift from Leicester Square and the Thames embankment to the Normandy coast and the Paris morgue and feature, along with famous names, a lesser known company of acrobats, convicts, aesthetes, "philistines," and mysterious suicides.
Nearly a century later, John Stokes's unrivalled knowledge of how the arts actually functioned in the nineties makes this book a major contribution to modern cultural studies.
One of the most memorable images of the British women’s suffrage movement occurred on June 4, Derby Day, 1913. As the field of horses approached a turning at Epsom, militant suffragette Emily Wilding Davison ducked out from under the railing and ran onto the track, reaching for the bridle of the King’s horse, and was killed in the collision. While her death transformed her into a heroine, it all but erased her identity. To identify what impelled Davison to suffer multiple imprisonments, to experience the torture of force-feedings and the insults of hostile members of the crowds who came to hear her speak, Carolyn P. Collette explores a largely ignored source—the writing to which Davison dedicated so much time and effort during the years from 1908 to 1913. Davison’s writing is an implicit apologia for why she lived the life of a militant suffragette and where she continually revisits and restates the principles that guided her: that woman suffrage was necessary to improve the lives of men, women, and children; that the freedom and justice women sought was sanctioned by God and unjustly withheld by humans whose opposition constituted a tyranny that had to be opposed; and that the evolution of human progress demanded that women become fully equal citizens of their nation in every respect— politically, economically, and culturally.
In the Thick of the Fight makes available for the first time the archive of published and unpublished writings of Emily Wilding Davison. Collette reorients both scholarly and public attention away from a single, defining event to the complexity of Davison’s contributions to modern feminist discourse, giving the reader a sense of the vibrancy and diversity of Davison’s suffrage writings.
Incest and Influence
Adam Kuper Harvard University Press, 2009 Library of Congress HQ1026.K87 2009 | Dewey Decimal 306.850862209421
Like many gentlemen of his time, Charles Darwin married his first cousin. In fact, marriages between close relatives were commonplace in nineteenth-century England, and Adam Kuper argues that they played a crucial role in the rise of the bourgeoisie. This groundbreaking study brings out the connection between private lives, public fortunes, and the history of imperial Britain.
A wide-ranging study of the ideology of population control in early modern England.
Across the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, a growing notion of the value of a large populace created a sense of urgency about reproduction; accordingly, a wide array of English writers of the time voiced the need not merely to add more people but also to ensure that England had an abundance of the right kinds of people. This need, in turn, called for a variety of institutions to train-and thus make, through a kind of nonbiological procreation-pious, enterprising, and dutiful subjects. In Increase and Multiply, David Glimp examines previously unexplored links between this emergent demographic mentality and Renaissance literature.
Glimp's analysis centers on humanist pedagogy as a mechanism for creating people capable of governing both themselves and others. Acknowledging the ways in which authors such as Sidney, Shakespeare, and Milton advance their own work by appealing to this vision, Glimp argues that their texts allow us to read the scope and limits of this generative ideal, its capacity to reinforce order and to become excessive and destabilizing. His work provides unprecedented insight into the role of fantasies of nonbiological reproduction in early modern political theory, government practice, and literary production.
David Glimp is assistant professor of English at the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida.
Indian Captive, Indian King
Timothy J. Shannon Harvard University Press, 2018 Library of Congress E87.W77S53 2018 | Dewey Decimal 970.00497
In 1758 Peter Williamson, dressed as an Indian, peddled a tale in Scotland about being kidnapped as a young boy, sold into slavery and servitude, captured by Indians, and made a prisoner of war. Separating fact from fiction, Timothy Shannon illuminates the curiosity about America among working-class people on the margins of empire.
A commercial company established in 1600 to monopolize trade between England and the Far East, the East India Company grew to govern an Indian empire. Exploring the relationship between power and knowledge in European engagement with Asia, Indian Ink examines the Company at work and reveals how writing and print shaped authority on a global scale in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
Tracing the history of the Company from its first tentative trading voyages in the early seventeenth century to the foundation of an empire in Bengal in the late eighteenth century, Miles Ogborn takes readers into the scriptoria, ships, offices, print shops, coffeehouses, and palaces to investigate the forms of writing needed to exert power and extract profit in the mercantile and imperial worlds. Interpreting the making and use of a variety of forms of writing in script and print, Ogborn argues that material and political circumstances always undermined attempts at domination through the power of the written word.
Navigating the juncture of imperial history and the history of the book, Indian Ink uncovers the intellectual and political legacies of early modern trade and empire and charts a new understanding of the geography of print culture.
How did states come to monopolize control over migration? What do the processes that produced this monopoly tell us about the modern state? In Indian Migration and Empire Radhika Mongia provocatively argues that the formation of colonial migration regulations was dependent upon, accompanied by, and generative of profound changes in normative conceptions of the modern state. Focused on state regulation of colonial Indian migration between 1834 and 1917, Mongia illuminates the genesis of central techniques of migration control. She shows how important elements of current migration regimes, including the notion of state sovereignty as embodying the authority to control migration, the distinction between free and forced migration, the emergence of passports, the formation of migration bureaucracies, and the incorporation of kinship relations into migration logics, are the product of complex debates that attended colonial migrations. By charting how state control of migration was critical to the transformation of a world dominated by empire-states into a world dominated by nation-states, Mongia challenges positions that posit a stark distinction between the colonial state and the modern state to trace aspects of their entanglements.
Edward John Thompson—novelist, poet, journalist, and historian of India—was a liberal advocate for Indian culture and political self-determination at a time when Indian affairs were of little general interest in England. As a friend of Nehru, Gandhi, and other Congress Party leaders, Thompson had contacts that many English officials did not have and did not know how to get. Thus, he was an excellent channel for interpreting India to England and England to India.
Thompson first went to India in 1910 as a Methodist missionary to teach English literature at Bankura Wesleyan College. It was there that he cultivated the literary circle of Rabindranath Tagore, as yet little known in England, and there Thompson learned of the political contradictions and deficiencies of India's educational system. His major conflict, personal and professional, was the lingering influence of Victorian Wesleyanism. In 1923, Thompson resigned and returned to teach at Oxford.
Interest in South Asia studies was minimal at Oxford, and Thompson turned increasingly to writing Indian history. That work, and his unique account of his experiences in the Mesopotamian campaign in World War I, supply a viewpoint found nowhere else, as well as personal views of literary figures such as Robert Graves and Robert Bridges. Thompson was also a major influence on the work of his son, E. P. Thompson, a modern historian of eighteenth-century England.
This important biography covers politically significant events between Thompson's arrival in India and up to his death, and casts considerable light on Thompson and his struggles with his religion and his relationship with India. The first biography of E. J. Thompson, "India's Prisoner" will have widespread appeal, especially to those interested in South Asian and English history, literature, and cultural history.
*Infanticide in Tudor and Stuart England* explores one of society’s darkest crimes using archival sources and discussing its representation in the drama, pamphlets and broadside ballads of the early modern period. It takes the reader on a journey through the streets and taverns where street literature was hawked, to the playhouses where the crime was dramatized, and the courts where it was tried and punished. Using a regional microstudy of coroners’ inquests and churchwardens’ presentments, coupled with theories of liminality, marginality and rites of passage, it reveals complex and contradictory attitudes to infants, women and the crime. As well as considering unwed women, the most common perpetrators of infanticide, the study shows that married women, men and the local community were also culpable, and the many reasons for this. Infanticide in Tudor and Stuart England is set in its European and historical contexts, revealing surprising continuities across time.
Few events in the history of humanity rival the Industrial Revolution. Following its onset in eighteenth-century Britain, sweeping changes in agriculture, manufacturing, transportation, and technology began to gain unstoppable momentum throughout Europe, North America, and eventually much of the world—with profound effects on socioeconomic and cultural conditions.
In The Institutional Revolution, Douglas W. Allen offers a thought-provoking account of another, quieter revolution that took place at the end of the eighteenth century and allowed for the full exploitation of the many new technological innovations. Fundamental to this shift were dramatic changes in institutions, or the rules that govern society, which reflected significant improvements in the ability to measure performance—whether of government officials, laborers, or naval officers—thereby reducing the role of nature and the hazards of variance in daily affairs. Along the way, Allen provides readers with a fascinating explanation of the critical roles played by seemingly bizarre institutions, from dueling to the purchase of one’s rank in the British Army.
Engagingly written, The Institutional Revolution traces the dramatic shift from premodern institutions based on patronage, purchase, and personal ties toward modern institutions based on standardization, merit, and wage labor—a shift which was crucial to the explosive economic growth of the Industrial Revolution.
This biography of statesman Edmund Burke (1729-1797), covering three decades, is the first to attend to the complexity of Burke's thought as it emerges in both the major writings and private correspondence. David Bromwich reads Burke's career as an imperfect attempt to organize an honorable life in the dense medium he knew politics to be.
This fully revised and updated edition of Intellectual Property Rights for Engineers addresses recent developments in the area. The book explains the general principles behind the law protecting innovation, quoting cases from the engineering domain in order to clarify legal issues. Chapters outline the basic rights through automatic protection (copyright, design right) and registration systems (patent, registered design, trade mark), and also discusses the issues surrounding confidential information. The book clarifies precisely who owns the rights and how their use is constrained by EC law, and goes on to explain how to license or even litigate when necessary. Finally, strategic aspects for decision-making and management are discussed.
Nineteenth-century Britain did not invent chronic illness, but its social climate allowed hundreds of men and women, from intellectuals to factory workers, to assume the identity of "invalid." Whether they suffered from a temporary condition or an incurable disease, many wrote about their experiences, leaving behind an astonishingly rich and varied record of disability in Victorian Britain.
Using an array of primary sources, Maria Frawley here constructs a cultural history of invalidism. She describes the ways that Evangelicalism, industrialization, and changing patterns of doctor/patient relationships all converged to allow a culture of invalidism to flourish, and explores what it meant for a person to be designated—or to deem oneself—an invalid. Highlighting how different types of invalids developed distinct rhetorical strategies, her absorbing account reveals that, contrary to popular belief, many of the period's most prominent and prolific invalids were men, while many women found invalidism an unexpected opportunity for authority.
In uncovering the wide range of cultural and social responses to notions of incapacity, Frawley sheds light on our own historical moment, similarly fraught with equally complicated attitudes toward mental and physical disorder.
Inventing Edward Lear
Sara Lodge Harvard University Press, 2019 Library of Congress PR4879.L2Z75 2019 | Dewey Decimal 700.92
Edward Lear—the father of nonsense—wrote some of the best-loved poems in English. He was also admired as a naturalist, landscape painter, travel writer, and composer. Awkward but funny, absurdly sympathetic, Lear invented himself as a Victorian character. Sara Lodge offers a moving account of one of the era’s most influential creative figures.
Inventing Film Studies
Lee Grieveson and Haidee Wasson, eds. Duke University Press, 2008 Library of Congress PN1993.8.U5G75 2008 | Dewey Decimal 791.43071073
Inventing Film Studies offers original and provocative insights into the institutional and intellectual foundations of cinema studies. Many scholars have linked the origins of the discipline to late-1960s developments in the academy such as structuralist theory and student protest. Yet this collection reveals the broader material and institutional forces—both inside and outside of the university—that have long shaped the field. Beginning with the first investigations of cinema in the early twentieth century, this volume provides detailed examinations of the varied social, political, and intellectual milieus in which knowledge of cinema has been generated. The contributors explain how multiple instantiations of film study have had a tremendous influence on the methodologies, curricula, modes of publication, and professional organizations that now constitute the university-based discipline. Extending the historical insights into the present, contributors also consider the directions film study might take in changing technological and cultural environments.
Inventing Film Studies shows how the study of cinema has developed in relation to a constellation of institutions, technologies, practices, individuals, films, books, government agencies, pedagogies, and theories. Contributors illuminate the connections between early cinema and the social sciences, between film programs and nation-building efforts, and between universities and U.S. avant-garde filmmakers. They analyze the evolution of film studies in relation to the Museum of Modern Art, the American Film Council movement of the 1940s and 1950s, the British Film Institute, influential journals, cinephilia, and technological innovations past and present. Taken together, the essays in this collection reveal the rich history and contemporary vitality of film studies.
Contributors: Charles R. Acland, Mark Lynn Anderson, Mark Betz, Zoë Druick, Lee Grieveson, Stephen Groening, Haden Guest, Amelie Hastie, Lynne Joyrich, Laura Mulvey, Dana Polan, D. N. Rodowick, Philip Rosen, Alison Trope, Haidee Wasson, Patricia White, Sharon Willis, Peter Wollen, Michael Zryd
Going as far back as the thirteenth century, Britons mined and burned coal. Britain’s supremacy in the nineteenth century depended in large part on its vast deposits of coal, which powered industry, warmed homes, and cooked food. As coal consumption skyrocketed, the air in Britain's cities and towns filled with ever-greater and denser clouds of smoke. Yet, for much of the nineteenth century, few people in Britain even considered coal smoke to be pollution.
Inventing Pollution examines the radically new understanding of pollution that emerged in the late nineteenth century, one that centered not on organic decay but on coal combustion. This change, as Peter Thorsheim argues, gave birth to the smoke-abatement movement and to new ways of thinking about the relationships among humanity, technology, and the environment.
Even as coal production in Britain has plummeted in recent decades, it has surged in other countries. This reissue of Thorsheim’s far-reaching study includes a new preface that reveals the book’s relevance to the contentious national and international debates—which aren’t going away anytime soon—around coal, air pollution more generally, and the grave threat of human-induced climate change.
Britain's supremacy in the nineteenth century depended in large part on its vast deposits of coal. This coal not only powered steam engines in factories, ships, and railway locomotives but also warmed homes and cooked food. As coal consumption skyrocketed, the air in Britain's cities and towns became filled with ever-greater and denser clouds of smoke.
In this far-reaching study, Peter Thorsheim explains that, for much of the nineteenth century, few people in Britain even considered coal smoke to be pollution. To them, pollution meant miasma: invisible gases generated by decomposing plant and animal matter. Far from viewing coal smoke as pollution, most people considered smoke to be a valuable disinfectant, for its carbon and sulfur were thought capable of rendering miasma harmless.
Inventing Pollution examines the radically new understanding of pollution that emerged in the late nineteenth century, one that centered not on organic decay but on coal combustion. This change, as Peter Thorsheim argues, gave birth to the smoke-abatement movement and to new ways of thinking about the relationships among humanity, technology, and the environment.
Jane Ellen Harrison (1850-1928) is the most famous female Classicist in history, the author of books that revolutionized our understanding of Greek culture and religion. A star in the British academic world, she became the quintessential Cambridge woman--as Virginia Woolf suggested when, in A Room of One's Own, she claims to have glimpsed Harrison's ghost in the college gardens.
This lively and innovative portrayal of a fascinating woman raises the question of who wins (and how) in the competition for academic fame. Mary Beard captures Harrison's ability to create her own image. And she contrasts her story with that of Eug'nie Sellers Strong, a younger contemporary and onetime intimate, the author of major work on Roman art and once a glittering figure at the British School in Rome--but who lost the race for renown. The setting for the story of Harrison's career is Classical scholarship in this period--its internal arguments and allegiances and especially the influence of the anthropological strain most strikingly exemplified by Sir James Frazer. Questioning the common criteria for identifying intellectual 'influence' and 'movements,' Beard exposes the mythology that is embedded in the history of Classics. At the same time she provides a vivid picture of a sparkling intellectual scene. The Invention of Jane Harrison offers shrewd history and undiluted fun.
Table of Contents:
Foreword Preface Illustrations
1. Prolegomena 2. Mrs. Arthur Strong: Apotheosis and After Life 3. Unanimism 4. Myths of the Odyssey in Art and Literature 5. Introductory Studies in Greek Art 6. Alpha and Omega 7. Ancient Art and Ritual 8. Hellas at Cambridge 9. Pandora's Box 10. Epilegomena
Lifelines Notes Major Archival Sources Bibliography Index
Reviews of this book: "Here is an anti-biography, which confronts previous versions of Harrison's life...Reluctant to offer an alternative myth, yet anxious to avoid already trampled ground, Beard instead explains Harrison's formative years in London, and asks, rather than answers, a series of key questions...The result is an amusing, engaging and opinionated book that looks behind the scenes to find out how biography is invented." --Julia Briggs, London Review of Books
Reviews of this book: "[A] provocative biography...Among the many questions which Mary Beard asks is why Harrison was singled out for celebrity...[Beard] has filled a gap, and in vivacious style." --The Economist
Reviews of this book: "Anyone climbing aboard this careering mystery tour of a book should be prepared to be taken for a ride. It looks like a biography: faded snapshots, footnotes, gossip around the famous...But this is no biography to any orthodox sense. On the contrary, it is a cluster of didactic essays which amusingly but relentlessly insist that orthodox biography is a fraud, that its claims to uncover the truth are delusory." --Oliver Taplin, The Independent
Reviews of this book: In her new, invigorating study of the pioneering Cambridge archaeologist Jane Harrison, biographer Mary Beard quarrels with those who believe they can reconstruct the private life of Harrison with any sort of certainty...The Invention of Jane Harrison shows its seams proudly. Indeed, it calls into question the whole idea of seamless biography, offering instead one more construction, one more invention of a Cambridge myth and idol. But in examining closely previously neglected period in the formation of Harrison and Sellers), Beard illuminates the hidden forces at play in the process of hagiography: how undercurrents of sexuality, passion, jealousy, even love, are suppressed in the re-writing (or even the non-writing or the de-writing) of a life. Felicitously composed and exhaustively documented, this quirky biography demonstrates as well the verve and invention of Mary Beard. --Thomas Jenkins, Boston Book Review
Reviews of this book: This book is an intriguing read, giving fascinating insight into Harrison's early days and into the intellectual scene of Classics a century ago. --Classical Association News
Just as today’s embrace of the digital has sparked interest in the history of print culture, so in eighteenth-century Britain the dramatic proliferation of print gave rise to urgent efforts to historicize different media forms and to understand their unique powers. And so it was, Paula McDowell argues, that our modern concepts of oral culture and print culture began to crystallize, and authors and intellectuals drew on older theological notion of oral tradition to forge the modern secular notion of oral tradition that we know today.
Drawing on an impressive array of sources including travel narratives, elocution manuals, theological writings, ballad collections, and legal records, McDowell re-creates a world in which everyone from fishwives to philosophers, clergymen to street hucksters, competed for space and audiences in taverns, marketplaces, and the street. She argues that the earliest positive efforts to theorize "oral tradition," and to depict popular oral culture as a culture (rather than a lack of culture), were prompted less by any protodemocratic impulse than by a profound discomfort with new cultures of reading, writing, and even speaking shaped by print.
Challenging traditional models of oral versus literate societies and key assumptions about culture’s ties to the spoken and the written word, this landmark study reorients critical conversations across eighteenth-century studies, media and communications studies, the history of the book, and beyond.
The Critical Role of Espionage During the War of Independence and the Techniques Spies Used
During the American Revolution, espionage was critical to the successes and failures of both Continental and British efforts, and those employed in cloakand- dagger operations always risked death. While the most notorious episode of spying during the war—the Benedict Arnold affair—was a failure, most intelligence operations succeeded. Spycraft was no more wholly embraced than by the American commander-in-chief, George Washington. Washington relied on a vast spy network and personally designed sophisticated battle plan deceptions and counterintelligence efforts, some surprisingly modern in form. In Invisible Ink: Spycraft of the American Revolution, award-winning author John A. Nagy briefly traces the history of spy techniques from ancient China through Elizabethan England before embarking on the various techniques used by spies on both sides of the war to exchange secret information. These methods included dictionary codes, diplomatic ciphers, dead drops, hidden compartments (such as a hollowed-out bullet or a woman’s garter), and even musical notation, as well as efforts of counterintelligence, including “Black Chambers,” where postal correspondence was read by cryptologists. Throughout, the author provides examples of the various codes and ciphers employed, many of which have not been previously described. In addition, the author analyzes some of the key spy rings operating during the war, most notably the Culper ring that provided information to Washington from inside British-controlled New York City. Based on nearly two decades of primary research, including the author’s discovery of previously unrecognized spies and methods, Invisible Ink is a major contribution to the history of conflict and technology.
A Common Man’s Survival After Being Captured at the Battle of Dunbar and Sold into Servitude in America
In the winter of 1650–51, one hundred fifty ragged and hungry Scottish prisoners of war arrived at Massachusetts Bay Colony, where they were sold as indentured laborers for 20 to 30 pounds each. Among them was Thomas Doughty, a common foot soldier who had survived the Battle of Dunbar, a forced marched of 100 miles without food or water, imprisonment in Durham Cathedral, and a difficult Atlantic crossing. An ordinary individual who experienced extraordinary events, Doughty was among some 420 Scottish soldiers who were captured during the War of the Three Kingdoms, transported to America, and sold between 1650 and 1651. Their experiences offer a fresh perspective on seventeenth-century life. The Involuntary American: A Scottish Prisoner’s Journey to the New World by Carol Gardner describes Doughty’s life as a soldier, prisoner of war, exile, servant, lumberman, miller, and ultimately free landowner. It follows him and his peers through critical events: the apex of the Little Ice Age, the War of the Three Kingdoms, the colonization of New England, the burgeoning transatlantic trade in servants and slaves, King Philip’s and King William’s wars, and the Salem witch crisis. Firstperson accounts of individuals who lived through those events—Scottish, English, Puritan, Native American, wealthy, poor, working class, educated or not— provide rich period detail and a variety of perspectives. The Involuntary American demonstrates how even individuals of humble circumstances were swept into the maelstrom of the First Global Age. It expands our understanding of immigration to the colonies, colonial servitude, the linkages and tensions between Europe, Massachusetts Bay, and America’s northeastern frontier, and of New England society in the early colonial period.
This special issue of Radical History Review focuses on the “Irish question”—the historical role of British imperialism in Ireland and its legacies in the modern Republic of Ireland and in Northern Ireland. This collection of essays places Ireland in a comparative context, addressing the broader relevance of the Irish experience to questions of empire and colonialism worldwide. Examining how the Irish nationalist movement functioned for more than two centuries within the context of various forms of British imperialism, the issue analyzes the evolution of contemporary Ireland’s politics of race, immigration, and armed resistance.
One contributor addresses the issue of constitutional nationalism in late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century Ireland, while another looks at the recent history of Irish republicanism in relation to the peace process. Other essays examine Protestant society and Unionist hegemony in nineteenth-century Ulster, immigration and racism as the Irish experienced them in postwar Britain, and the historiography of race and racialization in Ireland. The historical adviser for the award-winning film The Wind That Shakes the Barley reflects on its portrayal of the period of the Irish War of Independence and Civil War and a photographic essay focuses on supporters of the modern Irish republican movement in the United States and Ireland.
Contributors. Kevin Bean, Pauline Collombier-Lakeman, Mary Conley, John Corbally, Steve Garner, Diane George, Van Gosse, Martin Hayes, Bill Kissane, Conor McGrady, Kerby Miller, Kevin Noble, Donal Ó Drisceoil
Isaac Rosenberg was among the greatest poets of the First World War. The British-born son of impoversihed Russian Jews, Rosenberg fought as a private in the trenches of the Great Was and died on the Western Front in 1918 as the age of 27. In Isaac Rosenberg, Wilson examines the influence of Rosenberg's class and heritage on his writings, as well as the development of his poetic technique. She traces his maturation from his childhood in Bristol and the Jewish East End of London to art school, his travels to South Africa, and finally his harrowing service as a private in the British Army.
Rosenberg was also a gifted painter and this beautifully illustrated volume oncludes some hitherto inseen self-portraits, along with photogrpahs of Rosenberg and his family. Wilson's biogrpahy brings together all known Rosenberg material with a mass of important new discoveries. Isaac Rosenberg is a long-overdue consideration of a remarkable war poet.
From a New York Times bestselling author, a gripping account of the slave rebellion that led to the abolition of slavery in the British Empire.
For five horrific weeks after Christmas in 1831, Jamaica was convulsed by an uprising of its enslaved people. What started as a peaceful labor strike quickly turned into a full-blown revolt, leaving hundreds of plantation houses in smoking ruins. By the time British troops had put down the rebels, more than a thousand Jamaicans lay dead from summary executions and extrajudicial murder.
While the rebels lost their military gamble, their sacrifice accelerated the larger struggle for freedom in the British Atlantic. The daring and suffering of the Jamaicans galvanized public opinion throughout the empire, triggering a decisive turn against slavery. For centuries bondage had fed Britain’s appetite for sugar. Within two years of the Christmas rebellion, slavery was formally abolished.
Island on Fire is a dramatic day-by-day account of this transformative uprising. A skillful storyteller, Tom Zoellner goes back to the primary sources to tell the intimate story of the men and women who rose up and tasted liberty for a few brief weeks. He provides the first full portrait of the rebellion's enigmatic leader, Samuel Sharpe, and gives us a poignant glimpse of the struggles and dreams of the many Jamaicans who died for liberty.
How did the British come to conquer South Asia in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries? Answers to this question usually start in northern India, neglecting the dramatic events that marked Britain’s contemporaneous subjugation of the island of Sri Lanka. In Islanded, Sujit Sivasundaram reconsiders the arrival of British rule in South Asia as a dynamic and unfinished process of territorialization and state building, revealing that the British colonial project was framed by the island’s traditions and maritime placement and built in part on the model they provided.
Using palm-leaf manuscripts from Sri Lanka to read the official colonial archive, Sivasundaram tells the story of two sets of islanders in combat and collaboration. He explores how the British organized the process of “islanding”: they aimed to create a separable unit of colonial governance and trade in keeping with conceptions of ethnology, culture, and geography. But rather than serving as a radical rupture, he reveals, islanding recycled traditions the British learned from Kandy, a kingdom in the Sri Lankan highlands whose customs—from strategies of war to views of nature—fascinated the British. Picking up a range of unusual themes, from migration, orientalism, and ethnography to botany, medicine, and education, Islanded is an engaging retelling of the advent of British rule.
Through the centuries, people from all walks of life have heard the siren call of a pilgrimage, the lure to journey away from the familiar in search of understanding. But is a pilgrimage even possible these days for city-dwellers enmeshed in the pressures of work and family life? Or is there a way to be a pilgrim without leaving one’s life behind? James Attlee answers these questions with Isolarion, a thoughtful, streetwise, and personal account of his pilgrimage to a place he thought he already knew—the Cowley Road in Oxford, right outside his door.
Isolarion takes its title from a type of fifteenth-century map that isolates an area in order to present it in detail, and that’s what Attlee, sharp-eyed and armed with tape recorder and notebook, provides for Cowley Road. The former site of a leper hospital, a workhouse, and a medieval well said to have miraculous healing powers, Cowley Road has little to do with the dreaming spires of the tourist’s or student’s Oxford. What Attlee presents instead is a thoroughly modern, impressively cosmopolitan, and utterly organic collection of shops, restaurants, pubs, and religious establishments teeming with life and reflecting the multicultural makeup of the surrounding neighborhood.
From a sojourn in a sensory-deprivation tank to a furtive visit to an unmarked pornography emporium, Attlee investigates every aspect of the Cowley Road’s appealingly eclectic culture, where halal shops jostle with craft jewelers and reggae clubs pulsate alongside quiet churchyards. But the very diversity that is, for Attlee, the essence of Cowley Road’s appeal is under attack from well-meaning city planners and predatory developers. His pilgrimage is thus invested with melancholy: will the messy glories of the Cowley Road be lost to creeping homogenization?
Drawing inspiration from sources ranging from Robert Burton’s The Anatomy of Melancholy to contemporary art, Attlee is a charming and companionable guide who revels in the extraordinary embedded in the everyday. Isolarion is at once a road movie, a quixotic stand against uniformity, and a rousing hymn in praise of the complex, invigorating nature of the twenty-first-century city.
Joseph Roach University of Michigan Press, 2007 Library of Congress PN2039.R63 2007 | Dewey Decimal 792.01
A consumer’s guide to iconic celebrity and ageless glamour
“Strikingly original, wickedly witty, and thoroughly learned, Roach’s anatomy of abnormally interesting people and the vicarious pleasure we take in our modern equivalents to gods and royals will captivate its readers from the first page. I dare you to read just one chapter!”
—Felicity Nussbaum, University of California, Los Angeles
“It considers the effect that arises when spectacularly compelling performers and cultural fantasy converge, as in the outpouring of public grief over the death of Princess Diana. . . . An important work of cultural history, full of metaphysical wit . . . It gives us a fresh vocabulary for interpreting how after-images endure in cultural memory.”
—Andrew Sofer, Boston College
“Joseph Roach’s enormous erudition, sharp wit, engaging style, and gift for finding the most telling historical detail or literary quote are here delightfully applied to the intriguing subject of why certain historical and theatrical figures have possessed a special power to fascinate their public.”
—Marvin Carlson, Graduate Center, City University of New York
That mysterious characteristic “It”—“the easily perceived but hard-to-define quality possessed by abnormally interesting people”—is the subject of Joseph Roach’s engrossing new book, which crisscrosses centuries and continents with a deep playfulness that entertains while it enlightens.
Roach traces the origins of “It” back to the period following the Restoration, persuasively linking the sex appeal of today’s celebrity figures with the attraction of those who lived centuries before. The book includes guest appearances by King Charles II, Samuel Pepys, Flo Ziegfeld, Johnny Depp, Elinor Glyn, Clara Bow, the Second Duke of Buckingham, John Dryden, Michael Jackson, and Lady Diana, among others.