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Gender, writing and the life of the mind in early modern England

Women of Letters writes a new history of English women’s intellectual worlds using their private letters as evidence of hidden networks of creative exchange. This is the first detailed study to situate correspondence as the central social practice in the development of female intellectual thought in the period c.1650-1750. The main argument of the book is that many women of this period engaged with a life of the mind through reading and writing letters. Until now, it has been assumed that women’s intellectual opportunities were curtailed by their confinement in the home. Women of Letters illuminates the household as a vibrant site of intellectual thought and expression. By using an original definition of ‘intellectual’, the book offers a new and inclusive view of intellectual life: one that embraces a broad range of informal writing and critical discourse and abandons the elitism of traditional definitions of scholarly achievement. Amidst the catalogue of day-to-day news in women’s letters, are lines of ink dedicated to the discussion of books, plays and ideas. Through these personal epistles, Women of Letters offers a fresh interpretation of intellectual life in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, one that champions the ephemeral and the fleeting in order to rediscover women’s lives and minds.

Open Access (free)
James Baldwin, William F. Buckley, Jr., and the Civil Rights Revolution
Nicholas Buccola

Born in New York City only fifteen months apart, the Harlem-raised James Baldwin and the privileged William F. Buckley, Jr. could not have been more different, but they both rose to the height of American intellectual life during the civil rights movement. By the time they met in February 1965 to debate race and the American Dream at the Cambridge Union, Buckley—a founding father of the American conservative movement—was determined to sound the alarm about a man he considered an “eloquent menace.” For his part, Baldwin viewed Buckley as a deluded reactionary whose popularity revealed the sickness of the American soul. The stage was set for an epic confrontation that pitted Baldwin’s call for a moral revolution in race relations against Buckley’s unabashed elitism and implicit commitment to white supremacy. In this article I introduce readers to the story at the heart of my new book about Baldwin and Buckley, The Fire Is Upon Us.

James Baldwin Review
D.G. Paz

This article addresses three topics. It describes Chartisms creation of a ‘peoples history’ as an alternative to middle-class history, whether Whig or Tory. It locates the sources, most of which have not been noticed before, for the Chartist narrative of the English Reformation. William Cobbetts reinterpretation of the English Reformation is well known as a source for the working-class narrative; William Howitts much less familiar but more important source, antedating Cobbetts History of the Protestant Reformation in England, is used for the first time. The article reconstructs that narrative using printed and manuscript lectures and published interpretations dating from the first discussions of the Peoples Charter in 1836 to the last Chartist Convention in 1858. The manuscript lectures of Thomas Cooper are an essential but little-used source. The article contributes to historical understanding of the intellectual life of the English working class.

Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
Bodies and environments in Italy and England

This book explores whether early modern people cared about their health, and what did it mean to lead a healthy life in Italy and England. According to the Galenic-Hippocratic tradition, 'preservative' medicine was one of the three central pillars of the physician's art. Through a range of textual evidence, images and material artefacts, the book documents the profound impact which ideas about healthy living had on daily practices as well as on intellectual life and the material world in Italy and England. Staying healthy and health conservation was understood as depending on the careful management of the six 'Non-Naturals': the air one breathed, food and drink, excretions, sleep, exercise and repose, and the 'passions of the soul'. The book provides fresh evidence about the centrality of the Non-Naturals in relation to groups whose health has not yet been investigated in works about prevention: babies, women and convalescents. Pregnancy constituted a frequent physical state for many women of the early modern European aristocracy. The emphasis on motion and rest, cleansing the body, and improving the mental and spiritual states made a difference for the aristocratic woman's success in the trade of frequent pregnancy and childbirth. Preventive advice was not undifferentiated, nor simply articulated by individual complexion. Examining the roles of the Non-Naturals, the book provides a more holistic view of convalescent care. It also deals with the paradoxical nature of perceptions about the Neapolitan environment and the way in which its airs were seen to affect human bodies and health.

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Tomás Finn

this period. The lack of literature on intellectuals in ireland extends to most fields. There are, for example, few irish memoirs, autobiographies and ‘letters’ by leading figures in the political or intellectual life of modern ireland; distinguished contributions are fewer still.7 ireland’s political culture, which political scientists have claimed includes anti-intellectualism and a pressure to conform,8 combined with significant deficiencies in strategic thinking, and the quality of ideas has been a factor in informing a dismissive attitude towards intellectuals

in Tuairim, intellectual debate and policy formulation
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Roger Spalding
Christopher Parker

the historian works, and this ensures the relevance of history and keeps it dynamic. Equally, historians should not resign from their task of interpreting the history of human actions. If they do not do this, others will and without the scholarly ambition to treat the evidence with honesty. 7 Of course history is about the past, but historiography is always responsive to present interest and needs. It is a human artefact, so inevitably it is a part of the intellectual life of the society that produces it. Ever-changing, it is always open to criticism and amendment

in Historiography
The emergence and characteristics of modern scholarly personae in China, 1900–30
Q. Edward Wang

Outline History of Northeast China, which he seldom mentioned later, was nonetheless quite telling; it epitomised the change of intellectual life in 1930s China. After the Mukden Incident, Japan continued to nibble at China’s territory until it embarked on a full-scale invasion in July 1937, which started World War II in Asia. The escalation of the tension between China and Japan, which to some extent had begun as early as the late 1920s, contributed considerably to altering the direction of China’s intellectual life and the valuation of sociopolitical goods cherished

in How to be a historian
Abstract only
Michael D. Leigh

are still keenly debated in hundreds of ‘local tea shops’ across Upper Burma. 35 Charney is right to identify Buddhist monks as the custodians of ‘Burmese tradition and the core of Burmese intellectual life’. Buddhism was the giant and Methodism the midget. Nevertheless, the midget succeeded in weaving colourful and resilient strands into the warp and weft of a national discourse. 36 Notes 1 See Donald M. Seekins, The Disorder in Order: The Army-state in Burma since 1962 , Bangkok, White

in Conflict, politics and proselytism
Open Access (free)
Hamlet, adaptation and the work of following
John J. Joughin

idealisation of Hamlet during modernity as a nonrecuperable figure itself also caters to this nostalgia. In the process, ‘Shakespeare’s Hamlet’ eventually emerges as a simplifying synecdoche for ‘Shakespeare’s genius’, and by a further act of association quickly becomes the most readily identifiable representation of the liberal intellectual ‘paralysed in will and incapable of action’, yet still somehow possessing Hamlet’s ‘generalising habit’ and thereby occupying the ethical and cultural high ground.62 In short, we are presented with a version of intellectual life at a

in The new aestheticism
Felicity Loughlin

theological concerns continued to occupy a central place in contemporary debates. 83 Indeed, the Scots’ histories of paganism reveal that a commitment to Christian supernaturalism remained a vital force in the intellectual life of the Scottish Enlightenment. Notes * I would like to thank Professor Thomas Ahnert, Professor Stewart J. Brown, Professor Colin Kidd and Dr Felicity Green for stimulating discussions on this topic. 1 Brian Hillyard , ‘The Glasgow Homer’ , in Stephen W. Brown and Warren McDougall (eds), The Edinburgh History of the Book in

in The supernatural in early modern Scotland