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Double Doctrine

Colin Kidd: The Enlightenment, 5 December 2013

The Enlightenment and Why It Still Matters 
by Anthony Pagden.
Oxford, 436 pp., £20, May 2013, 978 0 19 966093 3
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... atheism. In the same vein, one of Williams’s recent predecessors as archbishop, the late Robert Runcie, described the ethos of the Anglican training college he ran at Cuddesdon in the 1960s as one of ‘detached, slightly amused liberalism’, an echo of the ironic, minimalist churchmanship which so exasperated po-faced orthodoxy during the age of ...

Barbie Gets a Life

Lorna Scott Fox, 20 July 1995

Barbie’s Queer Accessories 
by Erica Rand.
Duke, 213 pp., £43.50, July 1995, 0 8223 1604 8
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The Art of Barbie: Artists Celebrate the World’s Favourite Doll 
edited by Craig Yoe.
Workman, 149 pp., £14.99, October 1994, 1 56305 751 4
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... Barthes’s Mythologies, brilliantly expanded by off-beat, speculative historical adventurers like Robert Darnton, and narrowed by most contemporary researchers to the study of products of mass consumption. Foucault obscurely meditated about authority or confinement or sex; Erica Rand can make equally weighty points with the aid of Ken’s crotch. Part of ...

When in Bed

David Blackbourn, 19 October 1995

Reflections on a Life 
by Norbert Elias.
Polity, 166 pp., £35, October 1994, 0 7456 1383 7
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The Civilising Process 
by Norbert Elias.
Blackwell, 558 pp., £50, March 1994, 0 631 19222 0
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... Elias wrote about the invention of childhood before Philippe Ariès, about cat-massacres before Robert Darnton. Countless virgin territories that he mapped out have since been thickly settled. His analysis of court life and the ‘royal mechanism’, further elaborated in a later book on The Court Society(1969), remains fruitful not only to those ...

Further, Father, Further!

David A. Bell: ‘The Wanton Jesuit’, 17 November 2016

The Wanton Jesuit and the Wayward Saint: A Tale of Sex, Religion and Politics in 18th-Century France 
by Mita Choudhury.
Penn State, 234 pp., £43.95, December 2015, 978 0 271 07081 0
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... More recently, the case has attracted attention from historians of illicit literature such as Robert Darnton, interested in explaining the success of Thérèse philosophe, and from historians of medicine fascinated by Cadière’s visions and trances. An article on it even appeared in the journal Epilepsy and Behaviour. Scientists, ignoring the long ...

Spinoza got it

Margaret Jacob: Radical Enlightenment, 8 November 2012

A Revolution of the Mind: Radical Enlightenment and the Intellectual Origins of Modern Democracy 
by Jonathan Israel.
Princeton, 276 pp., £13.95, September 2011, 978 0 691 15260 8
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... the Enlightenment as described by historians such as Cassirer, Gay, Daniel Mornet, Franco Venturi, Robert Darnton, John Marshall (and myself) – dissolves in Israel’s dialectical thinking. Israel sees two Enlightenments, one radical and good, the other moderate and of mixed value at best. Born and educated in Britain, now teaching in the United ...

Fatal Non-Readers

Hilary Mantel: Marie-Antoinette, 30 September 1999

The Wicked Queen: The Origins of the Myth of Marie-Antoinette 
by Chantal Thomas, translated by Julie Rose.
Zone, 255 pp., £17.95, June 1999, 0 942299 39 6
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... Thomas is not interested primarily in the source of the pamphlets or how they were distributed. Robert Darnton and Daniel Roche, among others, have made extensive studies of the underground press, of the mechanics of clandestine production and distribution. Some of the pamphlets are translated here for the first time, but of course there is nothing new ...

Brutish Babies

David Wootton: Witchcraft, 11 November 1999

Shaman of Oberstdorf: Chonrad Stoeckhlin and the Phantoms of the Night 
by Wolfgang Behringer, translated by H.C.Erik Midelfort.
Virginia, 203 pp., £14.50, September 1998, 0 8139 1853 7
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Thinking with Demons: The Idea of Witchcraft in Early Modern Europe 
by Stuart Clark.
Oxford, 845 pp., £25, October 1999, 0 19 820001 3
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Witchcraft in Tudor and Stuart England 
by Alan Macfarlane.
Routledge, 368 pp., £55, April 1999, 0 415 19611 6
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The Bewitching of Anne Gunter: A Horrible and True Story of Football, Witchcraft, Murder and the King of England 
by James Sharpe.
Profile, 256 pp., £16.99, November 1999, 9781861970480
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... 1975), and in English by Natalie Zemon Davis (The Return of Martin Guerre, 1983) and Robert Darnton (The Great Cat Massacre, 1984), involves giving a detailed description of events in the lives of ordinary people and is almost always based on court records – A Trial of Witches is a good, The Bewitching of Anne Gunter a fine, and Shaman of ...

Do Not Scribble

Amanda Vickery: Letter-Writing, 4 November 2010

The Pen and the People: English Letter-Writers 1660-1800 
by Susan Whyman.
Oxford, 400 pp., £30, October 2009, 978 0 19 953244 5
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Becoming a Woman in the Age of Letters 
by Dena Goodman.
Cornell, 408 pp., £24.50, June 2009, 978 0 8014 7545 0
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... return. The demands of courtship were changed irrevocably by the rise of letter-writing. As Robert Darnton has argued, ‘living cannot be distinguished from reading, nor loving from the writing of love letters.’ Today, extramarital affairs are most likely to be discovered by reading a partner’s emails or texts. In fact, having an affair and ...

Walking in high places

Michael Neve, 21 October 1982

The Ferment of Knowledge: Studies in the Historiography of 18th-Century Science 
edited by G.S. Rousseau and R.S. Porter.
Cambridge, 500 pp., £25, November 1980, 9780521225991
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Romanticism and the Forms of Ruin 
by Thomas McFarland.
Princeton, 432 pp., £24.60, February 1981, 0 691 06437 7
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Poetry realised in Nature: Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Early 19th-Century Science 
by Trevor Levere.
Cambridge, 271 pp., £22.50, October 1981, 0 521 23920 6
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by Richard Holmes.
Oxford, 102 pp., £1.25, March 1982, 0 19 287591 4
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Young Charles Lamb 1775-1802 
by Winifred Courtney.
Macmillan, 411 pp., £25, July 1982, 0 333 31534 0
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... European culture – and as part of ‘high culture’, in ways outlined by Peter Burke and Robert Darnton. Science and technology can then be distinguished, and theoretical advances, in, say, the earth sciences, are not assumed always to have produced great practical breakthroughs. As one of the contributors, Steven Shapin, neatly turns it, Was ...

The Brothers Koerbagh

Jonathan Rée: The Enlightenment, 14 January 2002

Radical Enlightenment: Philosophy and the Making of Modernity 1650-1750 
by Jonathan Israel.
Oxford, 810 pp., £30, February 2001, 0 19 820608 9
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... endowed them. Before long Gay’s scrupulous historical habits began to spread, and by 1979, when Robert Darnton investigated the relationship between the Encyclopédie and the book trade in The Business of Enlightenment, it was clear that the study of 18th-century thought was changing out of recognition. From now on it would belong to professional ...

Kill a Pig, roast a Prussian

Michael Burns, 19 November 1992

The Village of Cannibals: Rage and Murder in France, 1870 
by Alain Corbin, translated by Arthur Goldhammer.
Polity, 164 pp., £25, July 1992, 0 7456 0895 7
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... the ‘last outburst of peasant rage to result in murder’. The Village of Cannibals, like Robert Darnton’s Great Cat Massacre, confirms the degree to which social historians, building on the Annales tradition, have embraced cultural anthropology and the study of popular political language over time. ...

History as a Bunch of Flowers

James Davidson: Jacob Burckhardt, 20 August 1998

The Greeks and Greek Civilisation 
by Jacob Burckhardt, edited by Oswyn Murray, translated by Sheila Stern.
HarperCollins, 449 pp., £24.99, May 1998, 0 00 255855 6
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... Historians do not really belong to separate species and the best cultural historians, Schama, Robert Darnton, Natalie Davis, Greenblatt etc share much with Burckhardt, not least an exceptional talent for history, but the difference, in most cases, is more than one of narrative order. There is a satisfaction, a feeling of truth in the posing and ...

The Old, Bad Civilisation

Arnold Rattenbury: Second World War poetry, 4 October 2001

Selected Poems 
by Randall Swingler, edited by Andy Croft.
Trent, 113 pp., £7.99, October 2000, 1 84233 014 4
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British Writing of the Second World War 
by Mark Rawlinson.
Oxford, 256 pp., £35, June 2000, 0 19 818456 5
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... Poems (1932), Reconstruction (1933) – as Georgian, countryside-centred and influenced by Robert Bridges, changing swiftly to Auden’s ‘manifesto manner’ for Difficult Morning (also 1933). I am not sure about this, especially the implicit conflict between country and town: Swingler always seems to inhabit either with ease. Certainly, he inclined ...

The Tangible Page

Leah Price: Books as Things, 31 October 2002

The Book History Reader 
edited by David Finkelstein and Alistair McCleery.
Routledge, 390 pp., £17.99, November 2001, 0 415 22658 9
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Making Meaning: ‘Printers of the Mind’ and Other Essays 
by D.F. McKenzie, edited by Peter D. McDonald and Michael F. Suarez.
Massachusetts, 296 pp., £20.95, June 2002, 1 55849 336 0
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... Galaxy), dictionaries (John Sutherland’s Longman Companion to Victorian Fiction), biographies (Robert Patten’s Charles Dickens and His Publishers), memoirs (Francis Spufford’s The Child that Books Built), compendia of anecdotes (Alberto Manguel’s History of Reading), exhibition catalogues (the Folger Library’s The Reader Revealed) and maps (Franco ...

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