History Carnival CXXV

Roll up, roll up, for the 125th history carnival! Here we have a selection, a variety, a tasting of blogs on all matters historical from the past month to delight and divert all and everyone. So, without further fake circus patter (which I’m not very good at anyway), on to the blogs.

With the new academic year just begun or seriously looming, depending on where you are, it seems fitting to start with posts aimed at history students in general. H. E. History Hub is a new blog run by Sara Barker and Claire McCallum explaining university history to new students; their latest post is on ‘who’s who in a history department’. W. Caleb McDaniel gives us a range of questions to pose when reading historical books and discussing them in seminars. While both are aimed at undergraduate students, they are well worth reading if you teach, too (especially if you are new to it!). At postgraduate level, Coral Stoakes reflects on the ‘baby steps’ of starting a Ph.D., and facing the ‘big girl task’ of a book review, and Julie Somers provides guidance on medieval manuscripts in the USA, in case you’re thinking of research in that direction. More generally, Sharon Howard has put together a really helpful list of digital history blogs, while Katherine Pickering Antonova and Phil of the Reckless Historians offer some thoughts on just what being a historian involves.

Next to some posts dealing with what I will call, loosely, ‘public manners’ throughout history. Nick Poyntz of Mercurius Politicus looks at rules of speech in the House of Lords from the seventeenth to the twentieth century. Abraham Alcock describes the life and training of itinerant performers in the eighteenth century, and Julia Armfield traces the decline of wigs from fashionable items to secret shames during the Victorian period. Simon Abernethy shows that buskers on public transport are not a new phenomenon (and neither are complaints about them). For the more contemporary historians amongst you, Sara Goek takes Dónall Mac Amhlaigh’s writings of the 1970s, drawing out his thoughts on the experience and integration of Irish emigrants in later-twentieth-century England.

This brings me to the next big theme, literature and history. Callan Davies encourages students to keep a Renaissance-style commonplace book, and DrRoy at the Early Modern Whale delves into Thomas Peyton’s seventeenth-century, and very personal, retelling of the Adam & Eve story (was the forbidden fruit in fact a banana?). Tine Hreno looks at Oscar Wilde’s editorial role at Woman’s World Magazine. Over at Medievally Speaking, Leila Norako reviews Pixar’s Brave (2012) and compares its mixture of accuracy and anachronism, folklore and history with medieval literature. For an older film but more recent history, Sarah Miller Walters revisits Carry On Nurse (1959) with some thoughts on gender roles. In another slightly different definition of ‘literature and history’, at Gentlemen and Tarpaulins J D Davies muses on who you should dedicate your books to.

Warfare in history gets its share of attention, and especially war’s legacies. Alan Flower examines the ongoing archaeological work on the Lusitania, torpedoed in 1915 and used widely as propaganda by the British, but which was actually carrying ammunition; were civilian passengers covering military traffic? Kelly Hignett visits Warsaw, where memories of the 1944 Uprising are becoming more public in a number of different ways. Alexis Coe narrates the postwar efforts of spy mistress Vera Atkins to find her missing agents, often with movingly tragic conclusions. Stepping a little further back, Never Felt Better offers a detailed account of campaigns in Scotland during the 1640s, involving both Irish and Scottish soldiers.

A couple of posts take us to a more intimate level of conflict and violence. In Scotland in the same civil war period, as Chris Langley shows at Early Modern Medicine, the church’s programme to impose a strict moral code through punishment relied upon informal networks, especially midwives, to reveal transgressors. Joanne Bailey’s ongoing series reveals an abusive eighteenth-century marriage: the latest post considers violent fatherhood.

Quite a few blog posts think about what we should do with all this history. New blogger Mike Ashby writes about heritage, historical buildings, and Durham Castle – interesting to read alongside Mike Patterson’s visit to Hanwell Asylum, still operating under the NHS. At the University of Sheffield’s History Matters blog, Elizabeth Norton compares popular and academic history; also on History Matters, Mary Beard shares her experiences of making Classics TV, and Thony at Renaissance Mathematicus interviews Lisa Jardine about her Seven Ages of Science radio programme. Also, if you’ve been watching The White Queen, Elizabeth Kerri Mahon has a series on ‘the women of the white queen’ – here’s a post on Marguerite of Anjou.

My last two features are not strictly speaking blog posts, but never mind. Right back at the start of August Fern Riddell delivered a brilliant twitter feat with her ’12 women 12 hours’ showcase of inspirational women from history: here is the storify. The Many-Headed Monster’s online symposium on ‘history from below’ started in July, and featured in the last carnival, but Part II happened in August and it really is worth mentioning again, not just for the posts included but because it would be great to see more online symposiums like it. You can find the whole thing here.

So thanks to everyone who sent in nominations! It’s been great fun reading blogs I’ve never seen before, and revealed something of my own reading habits. I hope my early modern leanings haven’t shown too much, while I am a bit worried about the absence of non-European history amongst my regular reads, and will have to do something about that. If you haven’t hosted the carnival, you really should. Get in touch with the good people who run it. Edition 126 will be hosted by The View East.


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