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The introduction explores the reasons why eighteenth-century authors decided to revise their novels and examines the trope of revision alongside advances in digital humanities, manuscript culture, novel studies, and actor-network theory. It opens with a discussion of Frances Burney’s Cecilia manuscript and the revelatory possibilities of revision, leading to a discussion of the novel genre during the eighteenth century as it was conceived by novelists themselves and the novel’s indebtedness to the dramatic and scholarly prose genres. The final section of the introduction applies Bruno Latour’s actor-network theory to delineate a model of eighteenth-century novel authorship that I term “networked authorship,” in which novelists, members of their literary and familial circles, reviewers, and their previous selves participate in the creation of a text.
Richard Kerridge describes the literary, cultural and scientific context of Plath’s interest in wild animals, landscape, climate and pollution. The letters and journals show that this interest was intense, but also that it was not scientific or systematic, even in a rudimentary way. Plath’s strategy was to preserve the dramatic immediacy of unexpected encounters with wildlife, rather than frame those encounters with scientific information. Nevertheless, an emergent ecological consciousness and environmental concern are evident in her writing. Kerridge provides the historical and scientific background for this concern, by outlining the major conceptual shifts that were taking place in ecological science, the recent history of wild nature in literature, and some of the changing popular attitudes in Britain and the USA.
This chapter examines the European colonization of Muslim lands. It emphasizes that what made this colonization possible was not simply European military superiority but also the gap between Europeans and Muslims in terms of the levels of economic, technological, and educational development. The chapter explores the belated establishment of printing presses in Muslim societies, which kept literacy rates very low, as well as the ways the ulema hindered the translation of the Quran into vernacular languages, which perpetuated the ulema's religious monopoly. It also analyzes the reform attempts by some Muslim rulers and the new Muslim intellectuals, as well as explaining why these attempts mostly failed.
This chapter begins by examining Muslims’ military, commercial, and intellectual achievements between the seventh and eleventh centuries. At that time, most of Islamic scholars (ulema) were funded by commerce, while only a few of them served the state. The merchants flourished as an influential class. The chapter goes on to analyze the beginning of the intellectual and economic stagnation in Muslim lands in the eleventh century. It explains how, gradually, the ulema became a state-servant class and the military state came to dominate the economy. The alliance between the ulema and the military state diminished the influence of philosophers and merchants. This changing distribution of authority led to the long-term stagnation, if not the decline, of Muslim intellectual and economic life. This gradual process began in the eleventh century and continued for centuries, as subsequent chapters elaborate.
The identification of weights and weight-regulated artefacts is of primary importance for confirming the existence of European Bronze Age value ratios and exchange systems. Until recently, however, no such Bronze Age artefacts had been identified in Britain. Here, statistical analysis identifies—for the first time—Middle and Late Bronze Age balance weights and weight-regulated gold objects from Britain, Ireland and Atlantic France. These finds allow for new interpretations concerning modes of exchange and their significance in Atlantic Europe, further underlining a Continental—and possibly Mediterranean—influence on Britain during the late second and early first millennia BC.
It is often claimed that the mortuary traditions that appeared in lowland Britain in the fifth century AD are an expression of new forms of ethnic identity, based on the putative memorialisation of a ‘Germanic’ heritage. This article considers the empirical basis for this assertion and evaluates it in the light of previously proposed ethnic constructivist approaches. No sound basis for such claims is identified, and the article calls for the development of new interpretative approaches for the study of early medieval mortuary archaeology in Britain.
In 1921, the United States introduced national immigration quotas. Although designed to curb the arrival of ‘undesirables’ from south-east Europe, this quota system also applied to Britain and its white Dominions. By 1929, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa were each allocated 100 quota places per annum. The British quota was far greater, but still struggled to meet demand. Through a focus on the Australian example, this article investigates how an immigration regime intended to bolster America’s ‘Anglo-Saxon’ identity also exposed the limits of Anglospheric kinship by closing the gates to white Britons. Although the quotas had a comparatively minor impact on Britons, their exclusion held great significance in the context of Anglo-American relations, where the rhetoric of transnational white solidarity produced expectations of unqualified welcome in the United States. After 1921, as such welcome disappeared and then failed to rematerialize, the global community of white men’s countries was shaken and remade.
The Must Farm pile-dwelling site is an extraordinarily well-preserved Late Bronze Age settlement in Cambridgeshire, UK. The authors present the site's contextual setting, from its construction, occupation and subsequent destruction by fire in relatively quick succession. A slow-flowing watercourse beneath the pile-dwellings provided a benign burial environment for preserving the debris of construction, use and collapse, while the catastrophic manner of destruction introduced a definitive timeframe. The scale of its occupation speaks to the site's exceptional nature, enabling the authors to deduce the everyday flow and use of things in a prehistoric domestic setting.
Many influential theorists of nationalism see war as a social conflict that to a great extent homogenizes and unifies the nation. Nowhere is that unity more clearly expressed than in war memorials and cemeteries. This article considers the examples of Britain and the USA during the aftermath of World War I in order to examine how the state legitimized its ownership of the bodies of its dead soldiers. It argues first that in an internal dispute, when all sides share a normative ideology, nationalism cannot offer an effective basis for legitimacy. Second, it shows that during the aftermath of World War I, the bodies of dead soldiers were not symbols. This article concludes that in order to transform a dead body into a symbol, the body first has to be “de-individualized.”
The Avebury henge is one of the famous megalithic monuments of the European Neolithic, yet much remains unknown about the detail and chronology of its construction. Here, the results of a new geophysical survey and re-examination of earlier excavation records illuminate the earliest beginnings of the monument. The authors suggest that Avebury's Southern Inner Circle was constructed to memorialise and monumentalise the site of a much earlier ‘foundational’ house. The significance here resides in the way that traces of habitation may take on special social and historical value, leading to their marking and commemoration through major acts of monument building.
The birth of Louise Brown, the world’s first ‘test-tube baby’, has come to signify the moment at which technologically assisted human reproduction became a re ality. This was a highly mediated and visible reality, as this article explores through the example of a British television documentary about Louise Brown broadcast when she was just six weeks old, ‘To Mrs Brown… A Daughter’ (Thames Television, 1978). In the article, I discuss the programme alongside data from an interview with its producer, Peter Williams. Williams sought to convince the public that IVF was morally acceptable and to cultivate sympathy for the infertile through this film. I will consider how he went about this by focusing on the programme’s visual presentation of Louise Brown, Peter Williams’ aims in making the film and his sympathetic relationship with the ‘pioneers’ of IVF, gynaecologist Patrick Steptoe and physiologist Robert Edwards. I will conclude with a discussion of the political implications of this film and how it contributed to the normalisation of IVF at a pivotal moment in its history.
Geologists and archaeologists have long known that the bluestones of Stonehenge came from the Preseli Hills of west Wales, 230km away, but only recently have some of their exact geological sources been identified. Two of these quarries—Carn Goedog and Craig Rhos-y-felin—have now been excavated to reveal evidence of megalith quarrying around 3000 BC—the same period as the first stage of the construction of Stonehenge. The authors present evidence for the extraction of the stone pillars and consider how they were transported, including the possibility that they were erected in a temporary monument close to the quarries, before completing their journey to Stonehenge.
Archaeologists have more opportunities than ever to disseminate their research widely—and the public more opportunities to engage and respond. This has led to the increasing mobilisation of archaeological data and interpretations within the discourses of nationalism and identity politics. This debate piece introduces the Brexit hypothesis, the proposition that any archaeological discovery in Europe can—and probably will—be exploited to argue in support of, or against, Brexit. Examples demonstrate how archaeological and ancient DNA studies are appropriated for political ends, and a series of recommendations and strategies for combatting such exploitation are proposed by the author.
Marshaling an array of travelogues from British adventurers who visited the Russian-Ottoman-Persian borderlands during the first half of the 19th century, it is clear that the Armenian Question arose in the British consciousness earlier than previously thought. Influenced by their origins and the political circumstances of the countries through which they journeyed, British travelers highlighted in their narratives the political status of the Armenians and the trends affecting them throughout the borderlands. Ethnoreligious and socioeconomic strife between Armenians and other various groups remained a persistent theme that linked the disparate accounts and authors. Frequently overlooking core religious, cultural, political, and social factors and identities that distinguished the Turks, Persians, and Kurds, British travelers issued essentialized explanations for Armenian struggles that highlighted their status as a religious minority surrounded by ostensibly hostile majorities. Well before the outbreak of the Crimean War, British adventurers contextualized Armenian misery within the British-Russian geopolitical rivalry. Thus, early British adventurers established the cultural and political groundwork for the more famous discussions of the Armenian Question during the last decades of the 1800s.
There has been a long-standing debate on the global importance of the African external slave trades. While many scholars believe these to have been detrimental to African development, they were clearly a determining factor in the development of the Americas. What role they played for the European colonial powers is, however, hotly debated. This article contributes to the debate by estimating value added in the Triangular Trade and the American plantation complex. The article empirically studies the case of British connections to the African slave trade and the American plantation complex during the eighteenth century, since these have been the focus of much previous scholarly debate. The estimates suggest that these trades grew substantially over the period, reaching a magnitude equivalent to about 11% of the British economy by the early nineteenth century.
The Middle Bronze Age (c. 1600–1150 cal bc) in Britain is traditionally understood to represent a major funerary transition. This is a transformation from a heterogeneous funerary rite, largely encompassing inhumations and cremations in burial mounds and often accompanied by grave goods, to a homogeneous and unadorned cremation-based practice. Despite a huge expansion in the number of well excavated, radiocarbon dated, and osteologically analysed sites in the last three decades, current interpretations of Middle Bronze Age cremation burials still rely upon a seminal paper by Ellison (1980), which proposed that they comprise and represent an entire community. This paper analyses 378 cremation sites containing at least 3133 burials which represent all those that can be confidently dated to the Middle Bronze Age in Britain. The new analysis demonstrates that relatively few sites can be characterised as community cemeteries and that there are substantially more contemporary settlement sites, though few contemporary settlements are in close proximity to the cemeteries. The identifiable characteristics of cremation-based funerary practices are consistent across Britain with little evidence for social differentiation at the point of burial. It is also evident that only a minority of the population received a cremation burial. There is a substantial decrease in archaeologically visible funerary activity from the preceding Early Bronze Age (c. 2200–1600 cal bc) and a further decrease in the proceeding Late Bronze Age (c. 1150–800 cal bc) in Britain. This is comparable in form, and partially in sequence, to Bronze Age funerary practices in Ireland and several regions in North-west Europe.
The nature of landscape use and residence patterns during the British earlier Neolithic has often been debated. Here we use strontium and oxygen isotope analysis of tooth enamel, from individuals buried at the Hambledon Hill causewayed enclosure monument complex in Dorset, England to evaluate patterns of landscape use during the earlier Neolithic. Previous analysis suggests that a significant proportion of the artefacts found at the site may originate from lithology of Eocene and Upper to Middle Jurassic age that the enclosures overlook to the immediate west and south. The excavators therefore argued that the sector of landscape visible from Hambledon Hill provides an approximate index for the catchment occupied by the communities that it served. Most of the burial population exhibit isotope ratios that could be consistent with this argument. Connections between Hambledon Hill and regions much further afield are also hypothesised, based on the presence of artefacts within the assemblage that could have been sourced from lithology in Somerset, Devon, and Cornwall in south-west England. However, few of the sampled individuals have strontium isotope ratios consistent with having obtained the majority of their diet from such areas during childhood. The individuals who exhibit the highest strontium isotope ratios are all adult males, whom the excavators suggest to have died during one or more episodes of conflict, following the burning and destruction of surrounding defensive outworks built during the 36th century bc. At least one of these individuals, who was found with an arrowhead amongst his ribs, did not obtain his childhood diet locally and has 87Sr/86Sr values that could be comparable to those bioavailable in the south-west peninsula.
Department stores are often seen as transformative of both retail and wider social practices. This article offers a comparative analysis of department stores in early twentieth-century Britain and Japan to assess the extent to which there were universal qualities defining the operation, practices, and experience of department stores and to explore the ways in which they might be seen as transforming retailing in the two countries. Despite similarities in their origin, organization, and service to customers, we highlight the greater diversity of British department stores and their incremental development. Japanese stores were a far more powerful force for change because they formed part of a concerted and conscious program of modernization.
The long-distance transport of the Stonehenge bluestones from the Mynydd Preseli area of north Pembrokeshire was first proposed by geologist H.H. Thomas in 1923. For over 80 years, his work on the provenancing of the Stonehenge bluestones from locations in Mynydd Preseli in south Wales has been accepted at face value. New analytical techniques, alongside transmitted and reflected light microscopy, have recently prompted renewed scrutiny of Thomas's work. While respectable for its time, the results of these new analyses, combined with a thorough checking of the archived samples consulted by Thomas, reveal that key locations long believed to be sources for the Stonehenge bluestones can be discounted in favour of newly identified locations at Craig-Rhos-y-felin and Carn Goedog.
Through the framework of “friendship” defined by Judith Butler, Leela Gandhi, and Vanessa Smith, this essay tracks the relationship between Trailokya Nath Chakrabarty, a Bengali revolutionary terrorist who spent three decades in British jails in colonial India and Francis Lowman, a police officer who was responsible for his imprisonment. Informed by Chakrabarty’s autobiography, the essay shows that terrorism and intimacy were closely linked. Even though the revolutionary terrorist and jailor opposed one another in violent ways, these relationships were grounded in mutual recognition and built on what (following Butler) is called the “fundamental sociality of colonialism.”