Mark Jackson

This chapter investigates how the conjunction of socio-economic, cultural and political contexts made the midlife crisis – as both concept and experience – possible. By juxtaposing advice literature on healthy ageing in America, the work of marriage guidance counsellors in Britain, as well as cinematic and literary representations of the ‘emotional typhoon’ experienced during midlife transitions, it argues that the popularity of the term ‘midlife crisis’ lay in its resonance with growing concerns about the collapse of the American dream and post-Second World War anxieties about threats to the stability of the nuclear family. In both cases, notions of emotional balance were reconfigured by obsessions with the autonomous individual and the gospel of consumption. The belief that life could begin again at 40 was used to restabilise a seemingly unbalanced Western capitalist economy that could only be sustained by prolonging productivity and encouraging spending across the whole life course.

in Balancing the self
Diplomacy, cross-border patronage, and the negotiation of subsidy alliances in the north-western part of the Holy Roman Empire (late seventeenth century)
Tilman Haug

The chapter focuses on the practices of diplomacy and various cross-border negotiations concerning the formation of foreign subsidy alliances on different levels in the north-western periphery of the Holy Roman Empire in the first decades after the Peace of Westphalia. This field of inquiry is explored in three case studies: (1) the attempt of the duke of Neuburg to use subsidies to recruit and equip substantial military forces and the career of Georg Christian von Hessen-Homburg as negotiator and struggling military entrepreneur, (2) Münster’s prince-bishop Christoph Bernhard von Galen and his English subsidy alliance in 1665/1666 directed against the Republic of the Netherlands, and (3) the involvement of German princes in the Dutch War of 1672 and Wilhelm von Fürstenberg’s diplomatic role in the formation of a subsidy alliance. It argues that subsidy alliances not only provided major European powers with boots on the ground and the necessary infrastructure for pursuing military campaigns; they also afforded minor princes the chance to promote their interests in territorial security, expansion, as well as a military asset of symbolic value to enhance their status on the larger European stage.

in Subsidies, diplomacy, and state formation in Europe, 1494–1789
Economies of allegiance

French subsidies played a central role in European politics from Charles VIII’s invasion of Italy in 1494 until the French Revolution. French kings attempted to frustrate what they viewed as a Habsburg bid to pursue universal monarchy. During the seventeenth century, the French monarchy would embrace the payment of subsidies on a different scale than previously, using alliances in which subsidies played a prominent role to pursue crucial aspects of royal policy. Louis XIII made alliances promising subsidies to support the United Provinces’ resumed war against the king of Spain, and for the Danish, Swedish, and various German princes to fight against the Holy Roman Emperor. Louis XIV continued some of these subsidies and used subsidies as a tool in order to implement his own politics. When Louis XIV appeared to Dutch and some English statesmen as aspiring to Universal monarchy, the Dutch and particularly the English used the tool of subsidies to frustrate the French monarch. During the eighteenth century, principally the French and the British, but also the Austrians, used subsidies to procure allies and attempt to maintain the balance of power. The subsidy system prompted significant debates about the legal, political, and moral implications, and was sometimes a source of political conflict between competing power groupings within states. The book argues that participation in the French system of subsidies neither necessarily accelerated nor necessarily retarded state development; but such participation could undoubtedly change political dynamics, the creation of institutions, and the form of states that would emerge.

The example of the German principality of Waldeck
Andreas Flurschütz da Cruz

This chapter studies the principality of Waldeck, one of the smallest German principalities to receive subsidies during the early modern era. It focuses on troop-leasing contracts as a specific form of subsidy treaty and seeks to identify the key players and their motives for either hiring or leasing large contingents of soldiers, often entire regiments, from or to other states. Focusing on the case of Waldeck, it sets out to clarify whether the frequently criticized ‘soldier trade’ (‘Soldatenhandel’) between German princes and foreign powers was just a way for lower-ranking rulers to make money or whether these projects had other aims as well.

in Subsidies, diplomacy, and state formation in Europe, 1494–1789
German reception of French subsidies in the Thirty Years’ War
Tryntje Helfferich

This chapter focus on the German understanding of French moneys and what this can teach us about the Thirty Years’ War. Subsidies were primarily seen and described as functional, as a means by which the German princes could levy troops, manage their supply and maintenance, and employ them in the fight to preserve princely liberties from what they saw as Habsburg tyranny. French subsidies were also freighted with additional, and often contradictory, meanings. On the one hand the German subsidy-recipients described French moneys as beneficial, functional, and indeed necessary tools for the pursuit of their political and religious goals. On the other hand, those opposed to French involvement in the war complained that such subsidy agreements were not helpful but foolish, and damaging to the German liberties, in that they not only allowed a hostile foreign crown to meddle in imperial affairs but probably concealed sinister efforts by the French to weaken, conquer, or even dismember the empire.

in Subsidies, diplomacy, and state formation in Europe, 1494–1789
Svante Norrhem

This chapter discusses, through a detailed study of three periods – 1632, 1675–1677, and 1727–1729 – the wider effects of French subsidies on Swedish society as well as the nature of dependency between Sweden and France. For long periods during both the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, Sweden was dependent on foreign subsidies: in 1631–1680, it needed financial support to uphold its armies in occupied territories in northern Europe; and from the 1720s onwards, it needed subsidies to secure its own territory as well. With subsidies periodically amounting to from 5 to over 20 per cent of state revenue, in a country with very limited resources otherwise, they offered opportunities for careers and social climbing, as well as financial profit.

in Subsidies, diplomacy, and state formation in Europe, 1494–1789
Open Access (free)
Teaching ‘relaxed living’ in post-war Britain
Ayesha Nathoo

Therapeutic relaxation techniques proliferated in the twentieth century, designed to counteract the myriad maladies popularly associated with the pace and pressures of modern Western living. Practitioners advocated forms of neuromuscular relaxation as safe, effective, drug-free therapies for conditions ranging from high blood pressure to migraine, labour pain and anxiety. However, the therapeutic efficacy of relaxation techniques relied on them being expertly taught, conscientiously learned and persistently practised. This chapter focuses on the pedagogy of twentieth-century therapeutic relaxation methods in Britain, paying particular attention to their material and audio-visual culture. Relaxation instruction and ideology were communicated through numerous channels including self-help books, group classes, correspondence courses, the mass media, teacher training forums, cassettes and biofeedback equipment. As the chapter makes clear, efforts to construct the self-balancing individual were deeply enmeshed with specific modes, processes and networks of communication. By considering the localised, socio-cultural specificities of relaxation therapies, it is possible to move beyond governmentality frameworks and develop more nuanced and culturally informed considerations of health education, health management and expertise of balance in the post-war period.

in Balancing the self
Ghosts and the busy nothing in Footfalls
Stephen Thomson

The approach to nothing that is to be produced in performance operates not by the simple removal of things but by their interaction, their 'busy life', even by their addition. This chapter explores these twin headings, of schematic purity that may seem to point towards philosophy, and the clutter of incident and speech that is conventionally the province of literature, and ultimately explains how the two are related in Samuel Beckett's Footfalls. Ruby Cohn refers to the plays of the 1970s as the 'post-death plays'. The text of Footfalls seems to authorise this identification by introducing a thoroughly anecdotal ghost in May's little tale of her 'semblance' Amy. For, as in the example of 'lacrosse', a poise between the glamour of the transcendental, and the derisory materiality of rags and wicker rackets, is what Footfalls cultivates.

in Beckett and nothing
Open Access (free)
Trying to understand Beckett
Editor: Daniela Caselli

Nothing' has been at the centre of Samuel Beckett's reception and scholarship from its inception. This book explains how the Beckett oeuvre, through its paradoxical fidelity to nothing, produces critical approaches which aspire to putting an end to interpretation: in this instance, the issues of authority, intertextuality and context, which this book tackles via 'nothing'. By retracing the history of Beckett studies through 'nothing', it theorises a future for the study of Beckett's legacies and is interested in the constant problem of value in the oeuvre. Through the relation between Beckett and nothing, the relation between voice and stone in Jean-Paul Sartre and Beckett, we are reminded precisely of the importance of the history of an idea, even the ideas of context, influence, and history. The book looks at something that has remained a 'nothing' within the Beckett canon so far: his doodles as they appear in the Human Wishes manuscript. It also looks at the material history of televisual production and places the aesthetic concerns of Beckett's television plays. The book then discusses the nexus between nothing and silence in order to analyse the specific relations between music, sound, and hearing. It talks about the history of materiality through that of neurology and brings the two into a dialogue sustained by Beckett texts, letters and notebooks. The book investigates the role of nothing through three works called neither and Neither: Beckett's short text, Morton Feldman's opera, and Doris Salcedo's sculptural installation.

Catherine Laws

As Carla Locatelli perceives, silence becomes integral to Samuel Beckett's radical interrogation of language. His voices move beyond the Western cultural and philosophical positing of silence only as a lack, breaking through 'this farrago of silence and words of silence that is not silence'. In Beckett's early positing of Beethoven's ruptured music as a possible model for his own work, silence is composed in, defined still in terms of the cessation of sound, objectified for cognition, and evoked only by the act of listening for it. In some of Beckett's later texts, the picking away at the relationship between sound and silence leads to an alternative proposition: unheard sound. In late Beckett texts, silence is neither produced or banished intentionally; 'no sound' is not necessarily indicative of silence and meaninglessness, and the relationship between the presence of sound and its perception is uncertain.

in Beckett and nothing