Mists, Mellow Fruitfulness, & Remembrance:
A HISTORY HARVEST FOR NOVEMBER 2010
Welcome to the 92nd History Carnival (aka HC92)! Thank you to all who sent nominations for this Carnival. I have elected to use all of the nominations received over the last month. I’ve also added a few gems (admittedly mostly early modern!) which caught my eye throughout October.
The History Carnival is for all eras of history so the links below travel beyond this site’s usual focus on the early modern period. There is plenty of history to enjoy beyond c. 1450-1815 as I hope you’ll agree!
ALL SOULS, THE MACABRE, & A SAINT
With Halloween just gone it seems sensible to start with mysterious deeds, tales of tombs, and vile behaviour.
Yesterday’s Papers asks Who murdered Eliza Grimwood? in an exploration of the Waterloo Road Murder of 1838. Was it a fiend in human form that did the deed? Or merely a mortal foreigner? And what of poor Eliza Davies killed a year before? Was a serial killer at work on the streets of London?
A Fortean in the Archives takes pickaxe in hand to explore the Erotic Secrets of Lord Byron’s tomb. Dare you look inside? (I strongly recommend that you do! Byron’s notorious success with the ladies may be explain’d therein….)
Zenobia: Empress of the East‘s tomb tale is far less erotic but possibly more exotic. Queen Helena Returns to Jerusalem celebrates the arrival of Helena of Adiabene’s sarcophagus at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem on 21 September 2010 on special loan from the Louvre Museum and tells the story of the queen and her tomb over centuries.
But today is All Saints’ Day so it’s not all ghastly or ghostly. Our saint is none other than Charles Darwin who opposed experimental vivisection of animals. Darwin’s declaration that ‘It deserves detestation and abhorrence’ helped the Cruelty to Animals Act of 1876 become law. Read the full story at The Dispersal of Darwin‘s Guest Post – Defending the Sensible: Charles Darwin and the Anti-Vivisection Controversy.
SCIENCE, MATHS, & HISTORY?
The Birkbeck Early Modern Society is a multi-disciplinary group so I was delighted to receive some nominations which highlight approaches to history from other disiplines.
Jost A Mon considers the medieval and Renaissance mathematical obsession with Squaring the Circle as practiced by Albert of Saxony and Leonardo da Vinci (who thought he’d achieved the feat on St Andrew’s Day in 1503 – November again!).
Frog In A Well: Japan warns us that the images we rely on in texts may not always be accurate in Data Visualization and Data Quality. There’s a great image relating to early modern Japan to examine and its faults are given in clear – and amusing – detail.
Punctuated Equilibrium‘s blog on genetic history and a DNA study also made me smile. Many of us know about the foundation stallions of thoroughbred horses (in my case from one of my favourite books from childhood, King of the Wind by Marguerite Henry, which tells the story of the Goldophin Arabian’s arrival in England). But what about the mares who were undoubtedly involved in the process of establishing a new breed? Who’s Your Momma? British and Irish mares made significant contribution to thoroughbred breed has a look at what science can offer history. You might be quite surprised to find that thoroughbreds’ closest genetic equine relations are not Arabian horses….
Skulls in the Stars considers the facts and fiction of Benjamin Franklin’s studies of electricy in the lively (and well-referenced) Benjamin Franklin Shocks the World.
Whewell’s Ghost looks at the uses – and misuses – of history in political discourse in David Willetts and the History of Science which also features some follow-up links and an interesting comments thread.
November is, of course, also a season of remembrance. Three nominations addressed issues relating to the First World War from North American perspectives.
At Soldiers Mail: Letters Home 1916-1919‘s Somewhere in the lines near Mamelle 11/15/1918, Sgt. Sam Avery of the Massachusetts Brigade is concerned for those at home during the ‘flu epidemic and is wishing he could ‘be with you and help eat that Thanksgiving Dinner this year’ (a November link).
Meanwhile à la mode de les Muses (so good it was nominated twice! [except it wasn’t – see comments – ‘could have been tho’!) explores ‘ethnic unity in American popular song during the Great War’ and American identity in We’re All Americans Now!
A Canadian Lefty in Occupied Land also addresses First World War themes – and demands revision – in a review of Geoffrey Hayes, Andrew Iarocci, Mike Bechtold (eds.), Vimy Ridge: A Canadian Reassessment (Waterloo: Wilfred Laurier University Press, 2007) at Review: Vimy Ridge. (Some interesting comments there, too.)
HISTORY & MEMORY
My Burgundy Your Burgundy wonders ‘What did a Druid look like?’ during a visit to
The Gaulish Head Exhibition at Bibracte (“Les Gaulois font la tête”) and also ponders the Celtic fascination with all things to do with heads.
Black History Month may be over (in the UK) but it’s not too late to visit Women’s History Network Blog‘s two part introduction to the history of British Caribben and Asian women. Part 1 is here: On the margins?, pt 1 and Part 2 is here: On the Margins, pt 2.
In a very big post (six parts!) Chaosbogey takes on the history of the Reformation throughout early modern Europe in The Cult of the Big Book. Chaosbogey’s ‘monster post’ was inspired by and is a response to The Reformation by Diarmaid MacCulloch.
Books can provide clues to their owners’ thoughts in markings and marginalia. Mercurius Politicus looks at the ways in which private individuals reacted to the events of their times in It was Necessary to Deface the Book to Save it.
LANDSCAPE & ARCHITECTURE
Res Obscura takes us to the lost land of Trebizond in Vanished Civilizations III with some beautiful illustrations.
London – the place and its people – inspired some great blogging last month.
Alsatia: Liberties and Sanctuaries of London is both a blog post about language in London and the launch of an exciting new project. This is a real ‘watch this space’ nomination! See The Language of Alsatia: Cant, Analogy and Toponyms for a taste of things to come.
A new exhibition at the Foundling Museum (Threads of Feeling which displays the tokens left by mothers who left their children to be cared for by that institution) inspired London Historians team writer EJ Brand’s thoughtful post on Foundlings, Families, & Fledgling Charities.
Spitalfields Life looks at William Hogarth’s contribution to the decoration of St Bartholomew’s Hospital in graphic detail in Hogarth at St Bartholomew’s Hospital. Hogarth’s painting depicts the various ailments that the hospital expected to treat.
Two offerings (by two different authors) from Georgian London explore some of London’s people. Emma & Nelson: The Birth of Modern Celebrity looks at the history of the idea of ‘celebrity’ from the medieval era to the early eighteenth century. Meanwhile, Philanthropy, Umbrellas, & Tea takes a look at the much less known figure of Jonas Hanway (1712–1786), the first man in London to carry an umbrella (among other things).
Finally, t’would be remiss of me to fail to mention the wonderful Cogitations of Read which recounts the adventures of the artist D. C. Read, Esq. (deceased). Start here for Read’s latest visit to London. (‘Tis quite fanciful but there is sound art history – and a meeting with Dr Johnson – too.) [The] Reads Progress Part 5 (pun very much intended!).
TO CONCLUDE: TWO ANNOUNCEMENTS
Do you know of more great history writing that needs recognition? Nominations for the annual Cliopatria Awards for the best in history blogging are now open at Cliopatria (http://hnn.us/blogs/2.html and will remain open throughout the month. Nominations for the Best Post, Best Series of Posts, Best Writer, Best Individual Blog, Best New Blog, and Best Group Blog are welcome. Judging of the nominations takes place in December and the winners are announced in conjunction with the American Historical Association convention in early January.