Must We Divide History Into Periods? [EPUB]

Must We Divide History Into Periods? [EPUB]
Must We Divide History Into Periods by Jacques Le Goff
2016 | EPUB | 1.78MB

We have long thought of the Renaissance as a luminous era that marked a decisive break with the past, but the idea of the Renaissance as a distinct period arose only during the nineteenth century. Though the view of the Middle Ages as a dark age of unreason has softened somewhat, we still locate the advent of modern rationality in the Italian thought and culture of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.

Jacques Le Goff pleads for a strikingly different view. In this, his last book, he argues persuasively that many of the innovations we associate with the Renaissance have medieval roots, and that many of the most deplorable aspects of medieval society continued to flourish during the Renaissance. We should instead view Western civilization as undergoing several "renaissances" following the fall of Rome, over the course of a long Middle Ages that lasted until the mid-eighteenth century.

While it is indeed necessary to divide history into periods, Le Goff maintains, the meaningful continuities of human development only become clear when historians adopt a long perspective. Genuine revolutions—the shifts that signal the end of one period and the beginning of the next—are much rarer than we think.

Communities of Violence: Persecution of Minorities in the Middle Ages [EPUB]

Communities of Violence: Persecution of Minorities in the Middle Ages [EPUB]
Communities of Violence: Persecution of Minorities in the Middle Ages by David Nirenberg
2016 | EPUB | 2.41MB

In the wake of modern genocide, we tend to think of violence against minorities as a sign of intolerance, or, even worse, a prelude to extermination. Violence in the Middle Ages, however, functioned differently, according to David Nirenberg. In this provocative book, he focuses on specific attacks against minorities in fourteenth-century France and the Crown of Aragon (Aragon, Catalonia, and Valencia). He argues that these attacks--ranging from massacres to verbal assaults against Jews, Muslims, lepers, and prostitutes--were often perpetrated not by irrational masses laboring under inherited ideologies and prejudices, but by groups that manipulated and reshaped the available discourses on minorities. Nirenberg shows that their use of violence expressed complex beliefs about topics as diverse as divine history, kinship, sex, money, and disease, and that their actions were frequently contested by competing groups within their own society.

Nirenberg's readings of archival and literary sources demonstrates how violence set the terms and limits of coexistence for medieval minorities. The particular and contingent nature of this coexistence is underscored by the book's juxtapositions--some systematic (for example, that of the Crown of Aragon with France, Jew with Muslim, medieval with modern), and some suggestive (such as African ritual rebellion with Catalan riots). Throughout, the book questions the applicability of dichotomies like tolerance versus intolerance to the Middle Ages, and suggests the limitations of those analyses that look for the origins of modern European persecutory violence in the medieval past.

Chinese History and Culture, Volume 1: Sixth Century B.C.E. to Seventeenth Century [EPUB]

Chinese History and Culture, Volume 1: Sixth Century B.C.E. to Seventeenth Century [EPUB]
Chinese History and Culture, Volume 1: Sixth Century BCE to Seventeenth Century by Ying-shih Yü
2016 | EPUB | 1.61MB

The recipient of the Kluge Prize for lifetime achievement in the humanities and the Tang Prize for "revolutionary research" in Sinology, Ying-shih Yü is a premier scholar of Chinese studies. Chinese History and Culture volumes 1 and 2 bring his extraordinary oeuvre to English-speaking readers. Spanning two thousand years of social, intellectual, and political change, the essays in these volumes investigate two central questions through all aspects of Chinese life: what core values sustained this ancient civilization through centuries of upheaval, and in what ways did these values survive in modern times?

From Yü Ying-shih's perspective, the Dao, or the Way, constitutes the inner core of Chinese civilization. His work explores the unique dynamics between Chinese intellectuals' discourse on the Dao, or moral principles for a symbolized ideal world order, and their criticism of contemporary reality throughout Chinese history. Volume 1 of Chinese History and Culture explores how the Dao was reformulated, expanded, defended, and preserved by Chinese intellectuals up to the seventeenth century, guiding them through history's darkest turns. Essays incorporate the evolving conception of the soul and the afterlife in pre- and post-Buddhist China, the significance of eating practices and social etiquette, the move toward greater individualism, the rise of the Neo-Daoist movement, the spread of Confucian ethics, and the growth of merchant culture and capitalism. A true panorama of Chinese culture's continuities and transition, Yü Ying-shih's two-volume Chinese History and Culture gives readers of all backgrounds a unique education in the meaning of Chinese civilization.

Chinese History and Culture, Volume 2: Seventeenth Century Through Twentieth Century [EPUB]

Chinese History and Culture, Volume 2: Seventeenth Century Through Twentieth Century [EPUB]
Chinese History and Culture, Volume 2: Seventeenth Century Through Twentieth Century by Ying-shih Yü
2016 | EPUB | 1.72MB

The recipient of the Kluge Prize for lifetime achievement in the humanities and the Tang Prize for "revolutionary research" in Sinology, Ying-shih Yü is a premier scholar of Chinese studies. Chinese History and Culture volumes 1 and 2 bring his extraordinary oeuvre to English-speaking readers. Spanning two thousand years of social, intellectual, and political change, the essays in these volumes investigate two central questions through all aspects of Chinese life: what core values sustained this ancient civilization through centuries of upheaval, and in what ways did these values survive in modern times?

From Ying-shih Yü's perspective, the Dao, or the Way, constitutes the inner core of Chinese civilization. His work explores the unique dynamics between Chinese intellectuals' discourse on the Dao, or moral principles for a symbolized ideal world order, and their criticism of contemporary reality throughout Chinese history. Volume 2 of Chinese History and Culture completes Ying-shih Yü's systematic reconstruction and exploration of Chinese thought over two millennia and its impact on Chinese identity. Essays address the rise of Qing Confucianism, the development of the Dai Zhen and Zhu Xi traditions, and the response of the historian Zhang Xuecheng to the Dai Zhen approach. They take stock of the thematic importance of Cao Xueqin's eighteenth-century masterpiece Honglou meng (Dream of the Red Chamber) and the influence of Sun Yat-sen's Three Principles of the People, as well as the radicalization of China in the twentieth century and the fundamental upheavals of modernization and revolution. Ying-shih Yü also discusses the decline of elite culture in modern China, the relationships among democracy, human rights, and Confucianism, and changing conceptions of national history. He reflects on the Chinese approach to history in general and the larger political and cultural function of chronological biographies. By situating China's modern encounter with the West in a wider historical frame, this second volume of Chinese History and Culture clarifies its more curious turns and contemplates the importance of a renewed interest in the traditional Chinese values recognizing common humanity and human dignity.

The House of the Dead: Siberian Exile Under the Tsars [EPUB]

The House of the Dead: Siberian Exile Under the Tsars [EPUB]
The House of the Dead: Siberian Exile Under the Tsars by Daniel Beer
2017 | EPUB | 95.73MB

A visceral, hundred-year history of the vast Russian penal colony.

It was known as 'the vast prison without a roof.' From the beginning of the nineteenth century until the Russian Revolution, the tsars exiled more than one million prisoners and their families beyond the Ural Mountains to Siberia. Daniel Beer illuminates both the brutal realities of this inhuman system and the tragic and inspiring fates of those who endured it. Here are the vividly told stories of petty criminals and mass murderers, bookish radicals and violent terrorists, fugitives and bounty hunters, and the innocent women and children who followed their husbands and fathers into exile.

Siberia was intended to serve not only as a dumping ground for criminals but also as a colony. Just as exile would purge Russia of its villains so too would it purge villains of their vices. In theory, Russia’s most unruly criminals would be transformed into hardy frontiersmen and settlers. But in reality, the system peopled Siberia with an army of destitute and desperate vagabonds who visited a plague of crime on the indigenous population. Even the aim of securing law and order in the rest of the Empire met with disaster: Expecting Siberia also to provide the ultimate quarantine against rebellion, the tsars condemned generations of republicans, nationalists and socialists to oblivion thousands of kilometers from Moscow. Over the nineteenth century, however, these political exiles transformed Siberia's mines, settlements and penal forts into a virtual laboratory of revolution. Exile became the defining experience for the men and women who would one day rule the Soviet Union.

Unearthing a treasure trove of new archival evidence, this masterly and original work tells the epic story of Russia's struggle to govern its prison continent and Siberia's own decisive influence on the political forces of the modern world. In The House of the Dead, Daniel Beer brings to light a dark and gripping reality of mythic proportions.

Van Gogh's Ear: The True Story [EPUB]

Van Gogh's Ear: The True Story [EPUB]
Van Gogh's Ear: The True Story by Bernadette Murphy
2016 | EPUB | 12.86MB

On a dark night in Provence in December 1888 Vincent van Gogh cut off his ear. It is an act that has come to define him. Yet for more than a century biographers and histo­rians seeking definitive facts about what happened that night have been left with more questions than answers.

In Van Gogh’s Ear Bernadette Murphy sets out to discover exactly what happened that night in Arles. Why would an artist at the height of his powers commit such a brutal act of self-harm? Was it just his lobe, or did Van Gogh really cut off his entire ear? Who was the mysterious “Rachel” to whom he presented his macabre gift? Murphy’s investi­gation takes us from major museums to the moldering contents of forgotten archives, vividly reconstructing the world in which Van Gogh moved—the madams and prostitutes, café patrons and police inspectors, his beloved brother, Theo, and his fellow artist and house guest Paul Gauguin. With exclusive revela­tions and new research about the ear and about Rachel, Bernadette Murphy proposes a bold new hypothesis about what was occur­ring in Van Gogh’s heart and mind as he made a mysterious delivery to a woman’s doorstep that fateful night.

Van Gogh’s Ear is a compelling detective story and a journey of discovery. It is also a portrait of a painter creating his most iconic and revolutionary work, pushing himself ever closer to greatness even as he edged towards madness—and the one fateful sweep of the blade that would resonate through the ages.

The Annals: The Reigns of Tiberius, Claudius, and Nero (Oxford World's Classics) [EPUB]

The Annals: The Reigns of Tiberius, Claudius, and Nero (Oxford World's Classics) [EPUB]
The Annals: The Reigns of Tiberius, Claudius, and Nero (Oxford World's Classics) by Cornelius Tacitus
2008 | EPUB | 2.4MB

Here is a lively new translation of Cornelius Tacitus' timeless history of three of Rome's most memorable emperors. Tacitus, who condemns the depravity of these rulers, which he saw as proof of the corrupting force of absolute power, writes caustically of the brutal and lecherous Tiberius, the weak and cuckolded Claudius, and "the artist" Nero. In particular, his gripping account of the bloody reigns of Tiberius and Nero brims with plots, murder, poisoning, suicide, uprisings, death, and destruction.

The Annals also provides a vivid account of the violent suppression of the revolt led by Boudicca in Britain, the great fire of Rome under Nero, and the subsequent bloody persecution of the Christians. J. C. Yardley's translation is vivid without sacrificing accuracy, and is based on the recent Latin Heubner text, with variations noted in an appendix. Anthony A. Barrett's introduction and notes provide invaluable historical and cultural context. This superb edition also includes maps, a glossary of Roman terms and place names, and a full index of names and places.

The History of the Rebellion: A New Selection (Oxford World's Classics) [EPUB]

The History of the Rebellion: A New Selection (Oxford World's Classics) [EPUB]
The History of the Rebellion: A New Selection (Oxford World's Classics) by Edward Hyde, Earl of Clarendon
2009 | EPUB | 2.27MB

'I am doing your Majesty some service here, whilst I am preparing the story of your sufferings; that posterity may know by whose default the nation was even overwhelmed with calamities, and by whose virtue it was redeemed.'

Clarendon's massive History has since its first publication in 1702-4 dominated our images of the English Civil War. Written by a man who for over a quarter of a century was one of the closest advisers to Charles I and Charles II, it contains a remarkably frank account of the inadequacies of royalist policy-making as well as an astute analysis of the principles and practice of government. Clarendon chronicles in absorbing detail the factions and intrigues, the rise of Cromwell and the death of Charles I, the bloody battles and the eventual Restoration of the monarchy in 1660 after the Interregnum. He brings to life the key players in a series of brilliant character portraits, and his account is admired as much for its literary quality as its historical value.

This new selection conveys a strong sense of the narrative, and contains passages from Clarendon's autobiography, The Life, including the important description of the intellectual coterie at Great Tew in the 1630s.

Foxe's Book of Martyrs: Select Narratives (Oxford World's Classics) [EPUB]

Foxe's Book of Martyrs: Select Narratives (Oxford World's Classics) [EPUB]
Foxe's Book of Martyrs: Select Narratives (Oxford World's Classics) by John Foxe
2009 | EPUB | 18.93MB

'Be of good comfort, Master Ridley, and play the man: we shall this day light such a candle by God's grace in England, as, I trust, shall never be put out.'

Hugh Latimer's famous words of consolation to Nicholas Ridley as they are both about to be burnt alive for heresy come from John Foxe's magisterial Acts and Monuments, popularly known as the Book of Martyrs. This vast collection of unforgettable accounts of religious persecution exerted as great an influence on early modern England and New England as the Bible and the Book of Common Prayer. It contains many stirring stories of the apprehension, interrogation, imprisonment, and execution of alleged heretics. The narratives not only attest to the fortitude of individuals who suffered for their faith not many years before the birth of Shakespeare, but they also constitute exciting tales filled with graphic details and verbal wit.

This modernized selection also includes some of the famous woodcuts that illustrated the original text, as well as providing a comprehensive introduction to Foxe's life and times and the martyrology narrative.

Courtesans and Fishcakes: The Consuming Passions of Classical Athens [EPUB]

Courtesans and Fishcakes: The Consuming Passions of Classical Athens [EPUB]
Courtesans and Fishcakes: The Consuming Passions of Classical Athens by James Davidson
2016 | EPUB | 1.66MB

The lifestyle of the classical Greeks often seems disappointingly modest when compared to those of other legendary civilizations. Where are the marble floors, the pillared halls, the gilden rooms? Even the Athenians, the richest and most poweful of the Greeks, were said by one contemporary to dress no better than slaves.

Athenians, however, were as skilled at spending as their playwrights were at devising tragedies. Vast estates vanished overnight, squandered not on material luxury but on eating, drinking, and sex--ephemeral pleasures that left no monuments but are recounted in numerous ancient texts.

Much of what they describe seems familiar--the pleasures of wine, the dangers of seduction, a mouthwatering plate of squid--but some stories are more puzzling: savages on the shores of the Persian Gulf who live off bread made of fish-flour; Alexander the Great drinks a toast that kills him; Socrates interrogates a beautiful woman who lives in luxury with no obvious means of support.

James Davidson masterfully unravels these strange anecdotes, casting new light not only on ancient pleasures but on the Ancient World as a whole. Full of intriguing detail and perspicacious insight, Courtesans and Fishcakes takes swipe at the old scholarship (Freud, Nietzsche, Foucault) and lays the groundwork for the new, delivering a fascinating and engagingly written study of the hedonism that ruled Athens.

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