This book investigates the ways in which the crusades have been observed by historians from the 1090s to the present day. Especial emphasis is placed on the academic after-life of the crusades from the sixteenth to twenty-first centuries. The use of the crusade and its history, by humanists and other contemporary writers, occupied a world of polemic, serving parochial religious, cultural and political functions. Since the Renaissance humanists and Reformation controversialists, one attraction of the crusades had lain in their scope: recruited from all western nations, motivated by apparently transcendent belief systems and fought across three continents. From the perspective of western Europe's engagement with the rest of the globe from the sixteenth century, the crusades provided the only post-classical example to hand of an ideological and military world war. Remarkably, the patterns of analysis of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century have scarcely gone away: empathy; disapproval; relevance; the role of religion; materialist reductionism. Despite the explosion of literary attention, behind the empathetic romanticism of Michaud or the criticism of Mills and Scott, the themes identified by Thomas Fuller, Claude Fleury, David Hume, Edward Gibbon and William Robertson persisted. The idea of the crusades as explicit precursors to modern events, either as features of teleological historical progress or as parallels to modern actions remains potent. The combination of ideology, action, change, European conquest and religious fanaticism acted as a contrast or a comparison with the tone of revolutionary and reactionary politics.
world no one who reads can doubt.’56 Tension between material, sentimental, religious and political interpretations ensured intellectual and popular debate, while current affairs suggested a spurious continuing relevance. Academic and pseudo-academic commentators, novelists, polemicists, religious homilists and politicians all derived useful material. Remarkably, the patterns of analysis of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century have scarcely gone away: empathy; disapproval; relevance; the role of religion; materialist reductionism. Despite the explosion of
. This is a fundamentally different argument from Wark, who proposes that the abolition of capital would not automatically solve all of our problems since we would still need to ‘provide energy and shelter and food for seven billion people without completely destabilizing planetary metabolic systems.’ 12 From this perspective, the question of alienation is posed in terms of a materialist reduction to questions of survival and necessity, bypassing the terms of analysis that Žižek is noted to have introduced in such texts as For They Know Not What They Do: Enjoyment
interpretation of contrasting dreams which Lucretius was endeavouring to challenge. She goes on to insist that God and sometimes Satan communicate through dreams, and entirely drops the materialist reduction underpinning Lucretius’s dream discussion.63 Her satirical redeployment of Lucretius, moreover, is contained within a moralised rhetorical framework borrowed not from the De Rerum Natura, but Virgil. The passage’s opening salute to those, like Jacob, deprived of shelter but blessed by calming dreams, ‘O how are mean men, if they know it, blessed!’ (19:9), alludes clearly