Simon Schama’s choice of “Story” in place of “History” in the title of this impressive new work is fitting, for the history he recounts is not history conceived of as a chronicle of important events, but rather as a compendium of thematically linked stories told throughout the ages by, and about, the lived experience of real people—and of a people.Read more
When we bemoan some bureaucratic atrocity—and the paperwork in which it so often finds tangible expression—we are likely to do so with world-weary, unreflective resignation. A well-known passage from Edna St. Vincent Millay comes to mind: So it is, and so it will be, for so it has been, time out of mind.Read more
Although the definition of Romanticism has been much debated, it is not an exaggeration to claim that the generations spanning the period from the mid-18th through the mid-19th centuries were witness to a transformation in the literary, artistic, and intellectual life of Europe so radical as to be regarded as revolutionary. As Tim Blanning puts it in this condensed, well-crafted volume, “the rule book of the classical past was torn up,” and there ensued “a radically different approach to artistic creation that has provided the aesthetic axioms of the modern world, even if a definition of Romanticism has proved elusive.Read more
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