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Tim William Machan

for individuals to test themselves – and succeed – physically and spiritually. 9 It is a place and direction that function, Davidson suggests, as almost a cross-cultural metonymy for self-discovery. Indeed, the fundamental cultural dynamic in Europe, from the antique to the centuries I consider, was not the east–west split of the Cold War but a north–south one. It is this dynamic, Peter Fjågesund has argued, that organised not only geography and natural history but also ‘ideas, perceptions and views of Self and Other’. 10 Particularly since the late

in Northern memories and the English Middle Ages
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The counterfactual lessons of Gilote et Johane
Daniel Birkholz

Epitomizing the academic side of the phenomenon is Niall Ferguson’s Virtual History (1997), the book jacket of which asks: ‘What if Britain had stayed out of the First World War? What if Hitler had invaded Britain? What if the Russians had won the Cold War?’ and so on. Citing as its legitimating basis ‘our predisposition to think counterfactually’, Ferguson’s collection looks to ‘compare … actual outcomes’ with ‘conceivable outcomes’. 16 Yet counterfactual history ‘[tends] to discredit itself’, Ferguson laments, via ‘implausible’ questions or ‘whimsical’ answers, based

in Harley manuscript geographies