African Studies, contrary to some accounts, is not a separate continent in the world of American higher education. Its intellectual borders touch those of economics, literature, history, philosophy, and art; its history is the story of the world, both ancient and modern. This is the clear conclusion of Africa and the Disciplines, a book that addresses the question: Why should Africa be studied in the American university?
This question was put to distinguished scholars in the social sciences and humanities, prominent Africanists who are also leaders in their various disciplines. Their responses make a strong and enlightening case for the importance of research on Africa to the academy.
Paul Collier's essay, for example, shows how studies of African economies have clarified our understanding of the small open economies, and contributed to the theory of repressed inflation and to a number of areas in microeconomics as well. Art historian Suzanne Blier uses the terms and concepts that her discipline has applied to Africa to analyze the habits of mind and social practice of her own field. Christopher L. Miller describes the confounding and enriching impact of Africa on European and American literary theory. Political scientist Richard Sklar outlines Africa's contributions to the study of political modernization, pluralism, and rational choice. These essays, together with others from scholars in history, anthropology, philosophy, and comparative literature, attest to the influence of African research throughout the curriculum.
For many, knowledge from Africa seems distant and exotic. These powerful essays suggest the contrary: that such knowledge has shaped the way in which scholars in various disciplines understand their worlds. Eloquent testimony to Africa's necessary place in the mainstream of American education, this book should alter the academy's understanding of the significance of African research, its definition of core and periphery in human knowledge.
"These essays are at once exceptionally thoughtful and remarkably comprehensive. Not only do they offer an unusually interesting overview of African studies; they are also striking for the depth and freshness of their insights. This is the sort of volume from which both seasoned regional experts and students stand to learn an enormous amount."—John Comaroff, University of Chicago
"These essays provide an important perspective on the evolution of African studies and offer insights into what Africa can mean for the different humanistic and social science disciplines. Many show in ingenious and subtle ways the enormous potential that the study of Africa has for confounding the main tenets of established fields. One could only hope that the strictures expressed here would be taken to heart in the scholarly world."—Robert L. Tignor, Princeton University
This groundbreaking volume establishes new perspectives on black history--its scholarship and pedagogy, scholars and interpreters, and evolution as a profession.
Pero Gaglo Dagbovie discusses a wide range of issues and themes for understanding and analyzing African American history, the twentieth century black historical enterprise, and the teaching of African American history for the twenty-first century. Additional topics include the hip-hop generation's relationship to and interpretations of African American history; past, present, and future approaches to the subject; and the social construct of knowledge in African American historiography. An examination of definitions of black history from W. E. B. Du Bois's The Souls of Black Folk and a survey of early black women historians lend further dimension and authenticity to the volume. A bold contribution to the growing fields of African American historiography and the philosophy of black history, African American History Reconsidered offers numerous analytical frameworks for understanding and delving into a variety of dimensions of the African American historical experience.
Of the almost 11 million Africans who came to the Americas between 1500 and 1870, two-thirds came to Spanish America and Brazil. Over four centuries, Africans and their descendants—both free and enslaved—participated in the political, social, and cultural movements that indelibly shaped their countries’ colonial and post-independence pasts. Yet until very recently Afro-Latin Americans were conspicuously excluded from narratives of their hemisphere’s history.
George Reid Andrews seeks to redress this damaging omission by making visible the past and present lives and labors of black Latin Americans in their New World home. He cogently reconstructs the Afro-Latin heritage from the paper trail of slavery and freedom, from the testimonies of individual black men and women, from the writings of visiting African-Americans, and from the efforts of activists and scholars of the twentieth century to bring the Afro-Latin heritage fully into public view.
While most Latin American countries have acknowledged the legacy of slavery, the story still told throughout the region is one of “racial democracy”—the supposedly successful integration and acceptance of African descendants into society. From the 1970s to today, black civil rights movements have challenged that narrative and demanded that its promises of racial equality be made real. They have also called for fuller acknowledgment of Afro-Latin Americans’ centrality in their countries’ national histories. Afro-Latin America brings that story up to the present, examining debates currently taking place throughout the region on how best to achieve genuine racial equality.
Badia Ahad-Legardy mines literature, visual culture, performance, and culinary arts to form an archive of black historical joy for use by the African-descended. Her analysis reveals how contemporary black artists find more than trauma and subjugation within the historical past. Drawing on contemporary African American culture and recent psychological studies, she reveals nostalgia’s capacity to produce positive emotions. Afro-nostalgia emerges as an expression of black romantic recollection that creates and inspires good feelings even within our darkest moments.
Original and provocative, Afro-Nostalgia offers black historical pleasure as a remedy to contend with the disillusionment of the present and the traumas of the past.
Contributors synthesize these regional transformations and continuities in the lower Rio Verde Valley, the Valley of Oaxaca, and the Mixteca Alta. They provide data from material culture, architecture, codices, ethnohistoric documents, and ceramics, including a revised ceramic chronology from the Late Classic to the end of the Postclassic that will be crucial to future investigations. After Monte Albán establishes Postclassic Oaxaca's central place in the study of Mesoamerican antiquity.
Contributors include Jeffrey P. Blomster, Bruce E. Byland, Gerardo Gutierrez, Byron Ellsworth Hamann, Arthur A. Joyce, Stacie M. King, Michael D. Lind, Robert Markens, Cira Martínez López, Michel R. Oudijk, and Marcus Winter.
Challenging the universalizing tendencies of postcolonial theory as it has developed in the Anglophone academy, the contributors are attentive to the crucial ways in which the histories of Latin American countries—with their creole elites, hybrid middle classes, subordinated ethnic groups, and complicated historical relationships with Spain and the United States—differ from those of other former colonies in the southern hemisphere. Yet, while acknowledging such differences, the volume suggests a host of provocative, critical connections to colonial and postcolonial histories around the world.
After Testimony: The Ethics and Aesthetics of Holocaust Narrative for the Future collects sixteen essays written with the awareness that we are on the verge of a historical shift in our relation to the Third Reich’s programmatic genocide. Soon there will be no living survivors of the Holocaust, and therefore people not directly connected to the event must assume the full responsibility for representing it. The contributors believe that this shift has broad consequences for narratives of the Holocaust. By virtue of being “after” the accounts of survivors, storytellers must find their own ways of coming to terms with the historical reality that those testimonies have tried to communicate. The ethical and aesthetic dimensions of these stories will be especially crucial to their effectiveness. Guided by these principles and employing the tools of contemporary narrative theory, the contributors analyze a wide range of Holocaust narratives—fictional and nonfictional, literary and filmic—for the dual purpose of offering fresh insights and identifying issues and strategies likely to be significant in the future. In addition to the editors, the contributors are Daphna Erdinast-Vulcan, Sidra DeKoven Ezrahi, Anniken Greve, Jeremy Hawthorn, Marianne Hirsch, Irene Kacandes, Phillipe Mesnard, J. Hillis Miller, Michael Rothberg, Beatrice Sandberg, Anette H. Storeide, Anne Thelle, and Janet Walker.
This first focused analysis of veterans’ experiences in ancient Greece offers a fresh, “bottom-up” perspective on important military and political aspects of early Hellenistic history.
Runner-up, PROSE Award, Classics and Ancient History, 2013
From antiquity until now, most writers who have chronicled the events following the death of Alexander the Great have viewed this history through the careers, ambitions, and perspectives of Alexander’s elite successors. Few historians have probed the experiences and attitudes of the ordinary soldiers who followed Alexander on his campaigns and who were divided among his successors as they fought for control of his empire after his death. Yet the veterans played an important role in helping to shape the character and contours of the Hellenistic world.
This pathfinding book offers the first in-depth investigation of the Macedonian veterans’ experience during a crucial turning point in Greek history (323–316 BCE). Joseph Roisman discusses the military, social, and political circumstances that shaped the history of Alexander’s veterans, giving special attention to issues such as the soldiers’ conduct on and off the battlefield, the army assemblies, the volatile relationship between the troops and their generals, and other related themes, all from the perspective of the rank-and-file. Roisman also reexamines the biases of the ancient sources and how they affected ancient and modern depictions of Alexander’s veterans, as well as Alexander’s conflicts with his army, the veterans’ motives and goals, and their political contributions to Hellenistic history. He pays special attention to the Silver Shields, a group of Macedonian veterans famous for their invincibility and martial prowess, and assesses whether or not they deserved their formidable reputation.
American Historical Explanations was first published in 1980. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.
In this new edition of American Historical Explanations,Gene Wise expands his examination of historical thinking to include the latest work in American Studies, the new social history, ethnography, and psychohistory. Wise asserts that historians address their subjects through an intervening set of assumptions, or what he calls "explanation forms," similar to the philosophical paradigms that Thomas Kuhn has found in scientific inquiry. Through analysis of historical-cultural texts (including the work of V. L. Parrington, Lionel Trilling, and Perry Miller) he defines the forms used by several groups of American historians and traces the process by which an old form breaks down and is replaced by a new set of assumptions. Throughout, he aims to study the process of change in the history of ideas. His conclusions extend beyond historiography and will be useful for those interested in literature, social sciences, and the arts.
American History Now collects eighteen original historiographic essays that survey recent scholarship in American history and trace the shifting lines of interpretation and debate in the field. Building on the legacy of two previous editions of The New American History, this volume presents an entirely new group of contributors and a reconceptualized table of contents.
The new generation of historians showcased in American History Now have asked new questions and developed new approaches to scholarship to revise the prevailing interpretations of the chronological periods from the Colonial era to the Reagan years. Covering the established subfields of women's history, African American history, and immigration history, the book also considers the history of capitalism, Native American history, environmental history, religious history, cultural history, and the history of "the United States in the world."
American History Now provides an indispensible summation of the state of the field for those interested in the study and teaching of the American past.
“The ghosts of the Civil War never leave us, as David Blight knows perhaps better than anyone, and in this superb book he masterfully unites two distant but inextricably bound events.”―Ken Burns
Standing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on August 28, 1963, a century after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, Martin Luther King, Jr., declared, “One hundred years later, the Negro still is not free.” He delivered this speech just three years after the Virginia Civil War Commission published a guide proclaiming that “the Centennial is no time for finding fault or placing blame or fighting the issues all over again.”
David Blight takes his readers back to the centennial celebration to determine how Americans then made sense of the suffering, loss, and liberation that had wracked the United States a century earlier. Amid cold war politics and civil rights protest, four of America’s most incisive writers explored the gulf between remembrance and reality. Robert Penn Warren, the southern-reared poet-novelist who recanted his support of segregation; Bruce Catton, the journalist and U.S. Navy officer who became a popular Civil War historian; Edmund Wilson, the century’s preeminent literary critic; and James Baldwin, the searing African-American essayist and activist—each exposed America’s triumphalist memory of the war. And each, in his own way, demanded a reckoning with the tragic consequences it spawned.
Blight illuminates not only mid-twentieth-century America’s sense of itself but also the dynamic, ever-changing nature of Civil War memory. On the eve of the 150th anniversary of the war, we have an invaluable perspective on how this conflict continues to shape the country’s political debates, national identity, and sense of purpose.
“I have read all of Daniel Aaron’s books, and admired them, but in The Americanist I believe he has composed an intellectual and social memoir for which he will be remembered. His self-portrait is marked by personal tact and admirable restraint: he is and is not its subject. The Americanist is a vision of otherness: literary and academic friends and acquaintances, here and abroad. Eloquently phrased and free of nostalgia, it catches a lost world that yet engendered much of our own.”
“The Americanist is the absorbing intellectual autobiography of Daniel Aaron, who is the leading proponent and practitioner of American Studies. Written with grace and wit, it skillfully blends Daniel Aaron’s personal story with the history of the field he has done so much to create. This is a first-rate book by a first-rate scholar.”
—David Herbert Donald, Professor Emeritus, Harvard University
The Americanist is author and critic Daniel Aaron’s anthem to nearly a century of public and private life in America and abroad. Aaron, who is widely regarded as one of the founders of American Studies, graduated from the University of Michigan, received his Ph.D. from Harvard, and taught for over three decades each at Smith College and Harvard.
Aaron writes with unsentimental nostalgia about his childhood in Los Angeles and Chicago and his later academic career, which took him around the globe, often in the role of America’s accidental yet impartial critic. When Walt Whitman, whom Aaron frequently cites as a touchstone, wrote, “I am large, I contain multitudes,” he could have been describing Daniel Aaron—the consummate erudite and Renaissance individual whose allegiance to the truth always outweighs mere partisan loyalty.
Not only should Aaron’s book stand as a resplendent and summative work from one of the finest thinkers of the last hundred years, it also succeeds on its own as a first-rate piece of literature, on a par with the writings of any of its subjects. The Americanist is a veritable Who’s Who of twentieth-century writers Aaron interviewed, interacted with, or otherwise encountered throughout his life: Ralph Ellison, Robert Frost, Lillian Hellman, Richard Hofstadter, Alfred Kazin, Sinclair Lewis, Malcolm Muggeridge, John Crowe Ransom, Upton Sinclair, Edmund Wilson, Leonard Woolf, and W. B. Yeats, to name only a few.
Aaron’s frank and personal observations of these literary lights make for lively reading. As well, scattered throughout The Americanist are illuminating portraits of American presidents living and passed—miniature masterworks of astute political observation that offer dazzlingly fresh approaches to well-trod subjects.
Rescuing the premodern family from the grim picture many historians have given us of life in early Europe, Ancestors offers a major reassessment of a crucial aspect of European history--and tells a story of age-old domesticity inextricably linked, and surprisingly similar, to our own.
An elegant summa on family life in Europe past, this compact and powerful book extends and completes a project begun with Steven Ozment's When Fathers Ruled: Family Life in Reformation Europe (Harvard). Here Ozment, the leading historian of the family in the middle centuries, replaces the often miserable depiction of premodern family relations with a delicately nuanced portrait of a vibrant and loving social group. Mining the records of families' private lives--from diaries and letters to fiction and woodcuts--Ozment shows us a preindustrial family not very different from the later family of high industry that is generally viewed as the precursor to the sentimental nuclear family of today.
In Ancestors, we see the familiar pattern of a domestic wife and working father in a home in which spousal and parental love were amply present: parents cherished their children, wives were helpmeets in providing for the family, and the genders were nearly equal. Contrary to the abstractions of history, parents then--as now--were sensitive to the emotional and psychological needs of their children, treated them with affection, and gave them a secure early life and caring preparation for adulthood.
As it recasts familial history, Ancestors resonates beyond its time, revealing how much the story of the premodern family has to say to a modern society that finds itself in the throes of a family crisis.
Stretching back to the 1950s, interdisciplinary work between anthropology and history has taken diverse expressions. Yet it has developed with more coherence since the 1980s, largely in response to the declining promise of global modernity and the rise of poststructuralism and deconstructionism. Through a critical and contemporary engagement with this wave of scholarship, this volume challenges readers to think of work at the crossroads of anthropology and history as transdisciplinary and anthrohistorical, moving beyond a partial integration of the disciplines as it critically evaluates their assumptions and trajectories.
This approach permits Anthrohistory: Unsettling Knowledge, Questioning Discipline to present a broader perspective that unsettles the constraints of existing academic practice. The volume does not offer a blueprint for fulfilling this goal, but rather a variety of positions taken by anthrohistorians who work in diverse contexts. Adopting an innovative and accessible style, Anthrohistory opens a provocative window into broader questions of interdisciplinarity, representation, epistemology, methodology, and social commitment.
Edward Murphy is Assistant Professor of History and Global Urban Studies at Michigan State University.
David William Cohen is Professor Emeritus of Anthropology and Professor Emeritus of History, College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, University of Michigan.
Chandra D. Bhimull is Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology and the African-American Studies Program at Colby College.
Fernando Coronil is Presidential Professor at the Graduate Center at the City University of New York and Professor Emeritus of Anthropology and Professor Emeritus of History, College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, University of Michigan.
Monica Eileen Patterson is Postdoctoral Fellow at the Centre for Ethnographic Research and Exhibition in the Aftermath of Violence at Concordia University in Montreal.
Julie Skurski is Distinguished Lecturer in Anthropology at the Graduate Center at the City University of New York.
Cover art: Paul Klee, Tightrope Walker (1923), © Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn
This book is a project in comparative history, but along two distinct axes, one historical and the other historiographical. Its purpose is to constructively juxtapose the early modern European and Chinese approaches to historical study that have been called "antiquarian." As an exercise in historical recovery, the essays in this volume amass new information about the range of antiquarian-type scholarship on the past, on nature, and on peoples undertaken at either end of the Eurasian landmass between 1500 and 1800. As a historiographical project, the book challenges the received---and often very much under conceptualized---use of the term "antiquarian" in both European and Chinese contexts. Readers will not only learn more about the range of European and Chinese scholarship on the past---and especially the material past---but they will also be able to integrate some of the historiographical observations and corrections into new ways of conceiving of the history of historical scholarship in Europe since the Renaissance, and to reflect on the impact of these European terms on Chinese approaches to the Chinese past. This comparison is a two-way street, with the European tradition clarified by knowledge of Chinese practices, and Chinese approaches better understood when placed alongside the European ones.
Archive Stories brings together ethnographies of the archival world, most of which are written by historians. Some contributors recount their own experiences. One offers a moving reflection on how the relative wealth and prestige of Western researchers can gain them entry to collections such as Uzbekistan’s newly formed Central State Archive, which severely limits the access of Uzbek researchers. Others explore the genealogies of specific archives, from one of the most influential archival institutions in the modern West, the Archives nationales in Paris, to the significant archives of the Bakunin family in Russia, which were saved largely through the efforts of one family member. Still others explore the impact of current events on the analysis of particular archives. A contributor tells of researching the 1976 Soweto riots in the politically charged atmosphere of the early 1990s, just as apartheid in South Africa was coming to an end. A number of the essays question what counts as an archive—and what counts as history—as they consider oral histories, cyberspace, fiction, and plans for streets and buildings that were never built, for histories that never materialized.
Contributors. Tony Ballantyne, Marilyn Booth, Antoinette Burton, Ann Curthoys, Peter Fritzsche, Durba Ghosh, Laura Mayhall, Jennifer S. Milligan, Kathryn J. Oberdeck, Adele Perry, Helena Pohlandt-McCormick, John Randolph, Craig Robertson, Horacio N. Roque Ramírez, Jeff Sahadeo, Reneé Sentilles
During the first centuries of the Roman Empire, Greek intellectuals wrote a great many texts modeled on the dialect and literature of Classical Athens, some 500 years prior. Among the most successful of these literary figures were sophists, whose highly influential display oratory has been the prevailing focus of scholarship on Roman Greece over the past fifty years. Often overlooked are the period’s historians, who spurned sophistic oral performance in favor of written accounts. One such author is Arrian of Nicomedia.
Daniel W. Leon examines the works of Arrian to show how the era's historians responded to their sophistic peers’ claims of authority and played a crucial role in theorizing the past at a time when knowledge of history was central to defining Greek cultural identity. Best known for his history of Alexander the Great, Arrian articulated a methodical approach to the study of the past and a notion of historical progress that established a continuous line of human activity leading to his present and imparting moral and political lessons. Using Arrian as a case study in Greek historiography, Leon demonstrates how the genre functioned during the Imperial Period and what it brings to the study of the Roman world in the second century.
The author of this book examines the origin, elements, and evolving significance of the “tides” in his discourse of Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr.
Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., is a historian and political advocate whose ideas and activities have significantly influenced the shape and direction of American liberalism during the past fifty years. A central feature of Schlesinger’s ideological perspective is his belief that American history has been marked by alternating periods of conservative and liberal dominance, which he has termed the “tides of national politics.” Throughout his career, Schlesinger has used the “tides of national politics” to defend the legitimacy and superiority of active liberal government and leadership.
The author of this book examines the origin, elements, and evolving significance of the “tides” in his discourse of Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. The study investigates how the “tides” concept has functioned in both Schlesinger’s historical scholarship and his partisan political discourse. Depoe also explores the ways in which the “tides” concept has shaped and channeled Schlesinger’s political thought over time, leading him toward certain definitions of situations and away from others.
Finally, Depoe offers Schlesinger’s life and work as a case study of the highs and lows of postwar American liberalism. By tracing Schlesinger’s responses to Eisenhower-era conservatism, Kennedy’s New Frontier, and the problems of Vietnam and violence during the 1960s, and the gradual delegitimation of liberalism from the 1970s to the present, this book offers a road map that can guide the reader toward a better understanding of the past, present, and future of liberalism in America.
Aspects of History and Epic in Ancient Iran focuses on the content of one of the most important inscriptions of the Ancient Near East: the Bisotun inscription of the Achaemenid king Darius I (6th century bce), which in essence reports on a suspicious fratricide and subsequent coup d’état. Moreover, the study shows how the inscription’s narrative would decisively influence the Iranian epic, epigraphic, and historiographical traditions well into the Sasanian and early Islamic periods.
Intriguingly, our assessment of the impact of the Bisotun narrative on later literary traditions—in particular, the inscription of the Sasanian king Narseh at Paikuli (3rd–4th centuries ce)—necessarily relies on the reception of the oral rendition of the Bisotun story captured by Greek historians. As Rahim Shayegan argues, this oral tradition had an immeasurable impact upon the historiographical writings and epic compositions of later Iranian empires. It would have otherwise remained unknown to modern scholars, had it not been partially preserved and recorded by Hellanicus of Lesbos, Herodotus, Ctesias, and other Greek authors. The elucidation of Bisotun’s thematic composition therefore not only allows us to solve an ancient murder but also to reevaluate pre-Thucydidean Greek historiography as one of the most important repositories of Iranian epic themes.
The Celtic peoples hold a fundamental place in the British national conscious-ness. In this book Simon James surveys ancient and modern ideas of the Celts and challenges them in the light of revolutionary new thinking on the Iron Age peoples of Britain. Examining how ethnic and national identities are constructed, he presents an alternative history of the British Isles, proposing that the idea of insular Celtic identity is really a product of the rise of nationalism in the eighteenth century. He considers whether the “Celticness” of the British Isles is a romantic, even politically dangerous, falsification of history, with implications for the debate on self-government for the Celtic regions of the United Kingdom.
Atlantic history is a newly and rapidly developing field of historical study. Bringing together elements of early modern European, African, and American history--their common, comparative, and interactive aspects--Atlantic history embraces essentials of Western civilization, from the first contacts of Europe with the Western Hemisphere to the independence movements and the globalizing industrial revolution. In these probing essays, Bernard Bailyn explores the origins of the subject, its rapid development, and its impact on historical study.
He first considers Atlantic history as a subject of historical inquiry--how it evolved as a product of both the pressures of post-World War II politics and the internal forces of scholarship itself. He then outlines major themes in the subject over the three centuries following the European discoveries. The vast contribution of the African people to all regions of the West, the westward migration of Europeans, pan-Atlantic commerce and its role in developing economies, racial and ethnic relations, the spread of Enlightenment ideas--all are Atlantic phenomena.
In examining both the historiographical and historical dimensions of this developing subject, Bailyn illuminates the dynamics of history as a discipline.
Few places in the world carry as heavy a burden of history as Auschwitz. Recognized and remembered as the most prominent site of Nazi crimes, Auschwitz has had tremendous symbolic weight in the postwar world.
Auschwitz, Poland, and the Politics of Commemoration is a history of the Auschwitz memorial site in the years of the Polish People’s Republic. Since 1945, Auschwitz has functioned as a memorial and museum. Its monuments, exhibitions, and public spaces have attracted politicians, pilgrims, and countless participants in public demonstrations and commemorative events.
Jonathan Huener’s study begins with the liberation of the camp and traces the history of the State Museum at Auschwitz from its origins immediately after the war until the 1980s, analyzing the landscape, exhibitions, and public events at the site.
Based on extensive research and illustrated with archival photographs, Auschwitz, Poland, and the Politics of Commemoration accounts for the development and durability of a Polish commemorative idiom at Auschwitz. Emphasis on Polish national “martyrdom” at Auschwitz, neglect of the Shoah as the most prominent element of the camp’s history, political instrumentalization of the grounds and exhibitions—these were some of the more controversial aspects of the camp’s postwar landscape.
Professor Huener locates these and other public manifestations of memory at Auschwitz in the broad scope of Polish history, in the specific context of postwar Polish politics and culture, and against the background of Polish-Jewish relations. Auschwitz, Poland, and the Politics of Commemoration will be of interest to scholars, students, and general readers of the history of modern Poland and the Holocaust.
This comprehensive study of the Russian literary travelogue, a genre that blossomed in the early nineteenth century, sheds new light on Russian literature and culture of the period.
In the decades before and during the rise of the Russian novel, a new form of prose writing took hold in Russia: travel accounts, often fictional, marked by a fully developed narrator's voice, interpretive impressions, scenic descriptions, and extended narrative. Prompted in part by the growth of leisure travel and in part by publication of Western European examples of travel writing, the genre attracted the talents of numerous writers, including Radishchev, Karamzin, and Pushkin. In illuminating analyses of major texts as well as lesser known but influential works, Andreas Schönle surveys the literary travelogue from its emergence in Russia to the end of the Romantic era. His study offers new insight on the construction of the authorial persona and on the emergence of fiction in a culture that valued nonfiction writing.
Authoring the Past surveys medieval Catalan historiography, shedding light on the emergence and evolution of historical writing and autobiography in the Middle Ages, on questions of authority and authorship, and on the links between history and politics during the period. Jaume Aurell examines texts from the late twelfth to the late fourteenth century—including the Latin Gesta comitum Barcinonensium and four texts in medieval Catalan: James I’s Llibre dels fets, the Crònica of Bernat Desclot, the Crònica of Ramon Muntaner, and the Crònica of Peter the Ceremonious—and outlines the different motivations for the writing of each.
For Aurell, these chronicles are not mere archaeological artifacts but rather documents that speak to their writers’ specific contemporary social and political purposes. He argues that these Catalonian counts and Aragonese kings were attempting to use their role as authors to legitimize their monarchical status, their growing political and economic power, and their aggressive expansionist policies in the Mediterranean. By analyzing these texts alongside one another, Aurell demonstrates the shifting contexts in which chronicles were conceived, written, and read throughout the Middle Ages.
The first study of its kind to make medieval Catalonian writings available to English-speaking audiences, Authoring the Past will be of interest to scholars of history and comparative literature, students of Hispanic and Romance medieval studies, and medievalists who study the chronicle tradition in other languages.
The Avignon papacy (1309–1377) represented the zenith of papal power in Europe. The Roman curia’s move to southern France enlarged its bureaucracy, centralized its authority, and initiated closer contact with secular institutions. The pope’s presence also attracted leading minds to Avignon, transforming a modest city into a cosmopolitan center of learning. But a crisis of legitimacy was brewing among leading thinkers of the day. The Avignon Papacy Contested considers the work of six fourteenth-century writers who waged literary war against the Catholic Church’s increasing claims of supremacy over secular rulers—a conflict that engaged contemporary critics from every corner of Europe.
Unn Falkeid uncovers the dispute’s origins in Dante’s Paradiso and Monarchia, where she identifies a sophisticated argument for the separation of church and state. In Petrarch’s writings she traces growing concern about papal authority, precipitated by the curia’s exile from Rome. Marsilius of Padua’s theory of citizen agency indicates a resistance to the pope’s encroaching power, which finds richer expression in William of Ockham’s philosophy of individual liberty. Both men were branded as heretics. The mystical writings of Birgitta of Sweden and Catherine of Siena, in Falkeid’s reading, contain cloaked confrontations over papal ethics and church governance even though these women were later canonized.
While each of the six writers responded creatively to the implications of the Avignon papacy, they shared a concern for the breakdown of secular order implied by the expansion of papal power and a willingness to speak their minds.
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