on culturalhistory, as an exploration of beliefs and values, rather than what might be better described as the history of culture. Having made the distinction, though, it has to be acknowledged that beliefs are often embodied in works of art of whatever kind. In Britain, this approach was pioneered by the Marxist historians associated with the Communist Party Historians’ Group and their work will form the central focus of this chapter. It will, however, also consider the earlier approaches to culturalhistory, as influences on the Group, and the development of
A chess-player is not simply one who plays chess just as a chess piece is not simply a wooden block. Shaped by expectations and imaginations, the figure occupies the centre of a web of a thousand radiations where logic meets dream, and reason meets play. This book aspires to a novel reading of the figure as both a flickering beacon of reason and a sign of monstrosity. It is underpinned by the idea that the chess-player is a pluralistic subject used to articulate a number of anxieties pertaining to themes of mind, machine, and monster. The history of the cultural chess-player is a spectacle, a collision of tradition and recycling, which rejects the idea of the statuesque chess-player. The book considers three lives of the chess-player. The first as sinner (concerning behavioural and locational contexts), as a melancholic (concerning mind-bending and affective contexts), and as animal (concerning cognitive aspects and the idea of human-ness) from the medieval to the early-modern within non-fiction. The book then considers the role of the chess-player in detective fiction from Edgar Allan Poe to Raymond Chandler, contrasting the perceived relative intellectual reputation and social utility of the chess-player and the literary detective. IBM's late-twentieth-century supercomputer Deep Blue, Wolfgang von Kempelen's 1769 Automaton Chess-Player and Garry Kasparov's 1997 defeat are then examined. The book examines portrayals of the chess-player within comic-books of the mid-twentieth century, considering themes of monstrous bodies, masculinities, and moralities. It focuses on the concepts of the child prodigy, superhero, and transhuman.
This study brings out the norms and culturally dependent values that formed the
basis of the theoretical regulation and the practical handling of incest cases
in Sweden 1680–1940, situating this development in a wider European context. It
discusses a broad variety of general human subjects that are as important today
as they were hundreds of years ago, such as love, death, family relations,
religion, crimes, and punishments. By analysing criminal-case material and
applications for dispensation, as well as political and legislative sources, the
incest phenomenon is explored from different perspectives over a long time
period. It turns out that although the incest debate has been dominated by
religious, moral, and later medical beliefs, ideas about love, age, and family
hierarchies often influenced the assessment of individual incest cases. These
unspoken values could be decisive – sometimes life-determining – for the outcome
of various incest cases. The book will interest scholars from several
different fields of historical research, such as cultural history, the history
of crime and of sexuality, family history, history of kinship, and historical
marriage patterns. The long time period also broadens the number of potential
readers. Since the subject concerns general human issues that are as current
today as they were three centuries ago, the topic will also appeal to a
This book collects eleven original essays in the cultural history of the British Empire since the eighteenth century. It is geographically capacious, taking in the United Kingdom, India, West Africa, Hong Kong, and Australia, as well as sites of informal British influence such as the Ottoman Empire and southern China. The book considers the ways in which British culture circulated within what John Darwin has called the British “world system”. In this, the book builds on existing imperial scholarship while innovating in several ways: it focuses on the movement of ideas and cultural praxis, whereas Darwin has focused mostly on imperial structures —financial, demographic, and military. The book examines the transmission, reception, and adaptation of British culture in the Metropole, the empire and informal colonial spaces, whereas many recent scholars have considered British imperial influence on the Metropole alone. It examines Britain's Atlantic and Asian imperial experiences from the eighteenth to the twentieth century together. Through focusing on political ideology, literary movements, material culture, marriage, and the construction of national identities, the essays demonstrate the salience of culture in making a “British World”.
This book presents a study that is an attempt to understand the phenomenal
increase in the production and demand for stained glass between about 1835 and
1860. The book provides both history and context for thousands of Victorian
stained-glass windows that exist in churches across the country. It aims to: ask
why people became interested in stained glass; examine how glass-painters set up
their studios; and understand how they interacted with each other and their
patrons. To understand why so many windows were commissioned and made in the
Victorian period, readers need to understand how buying a stained-glass window
became a relatively ordinary thing to do. In order to examine this, the book
focuses on those who wrote or spoke about stained glass in the formative years
of the revival. It is important to look at the production of stained glass as a
cultural exchange: a negotiation in both financial and cultural terms that was
profitable for both glass-painter and patron. The history of Victorian stained
glass allows an examination of many other areas of nineteenth-century cultural
history. Readers can learn a lot about the aesthetics of the Gothic Revival,
ecclesiology, the relationship between 'fine' and
'decorative' art, and the circulation of art history in the 1840s.
While many interesting glass-painters have necessarily been omitted, the author
hopes that the case studies in the book will provide a point of reference for
the research of future scholars.
This essay interweaves an analysis of Raymond Depardons short documentary film, 10
minutes de silence pour John Lennon (1980), with some broader reflections on time,
cultural history, and silence. Shot in a single take, the film records the
expressions, movements, and reactions of some of 200,000 mourners who gathered in
Central Park to commemorate Lennons life six days after his death in December, 1980.
Despite its observational form and aesthetic reticence, 10 minutes de silence renders
unexpected coincidences of colour, perspective, gesture, and noise, spontaneous
formations and patterns that resonate beyond the films actual moment and journalistic
The Self, the Social Order and the Trouble with Sympathy in the Romantic and Post-Modern Gothic
This essay is about the figure of the double in Romantic and post-modern Gothic literature and film. Most criticism of the double interprets this figure from the perspective of psychoanalysis. In contrast, this essay embeds the double in cultural history. In discussions of eighteenth- and early-nineteenth-century discourses of ‘possessive individualism’, nationalism, and sexuality, this essay contends that the eighteenth century and the Romantic Period became dissatisfied with sympathy: with its inability to unify the social order without dissolving the crucial differences that distinguish one person from another. In response, Gothic literature invented the double to represent an extreme moment when two characters think, act, and feel so much alike that they can no longer be distinguished from each other. The essay offers two examples: Mary Shelley‘s Frankenstein and Ridley Scott‘s Blade Runner.
Violence and Miscegenation in Jean Toomer‘s ‘Blood- Burning Moon’
Jean Toomer‘s Cane (1923) has long been considered a signature text of both avant-garde Modernism and the Harlem Renaissance. While Gothic tropes and imagery lurk throughout Toomer‘s collection of poetry and prose, Anglo-American Gothic conventions come to the foreground in the story ‘Blood-Burning Moon’. The story‘s interracial love triangle provides a locus of conflict between the post-Reconstruction American South and the haunting economic logic of slavery. Though the three characters each aspire to new racial, sexual and economic identities, they are terrorized by a society where employer-employee relations cannot escape the violence of the master-slave dialectic. Toomer does not relinquish his aesthetic experimentation and political radicalism to the Anglo-American Gothic, but instead engages the Gothic form in order to critique the violent racism of American capitalism. In this way, Toomer positions the Gothic centrally within African-American literary and cultural history.