New: LGBT Magazine Archive; Women and Social Movements, International; Trench Journals

I am delighted to announce that access to a number of major new eresouces is now available.

The Bodleian Libraries have committed substantial external funding to a one-off set of purchases of electronic research resources deemed to be important to researchers in the University. This follows a project to identify desiderata across all subjects and to list suggestions from readers.

The list of purchases of ProQuest eresources includes items which cannot easily be covered by recurrent budgets. Under the banner of diversity, we are particularly pleased to improve our resources useful for the study of gender, LGBTQ, women’s history and race.

The new acquisitions include:

  • Art and Architecture Archive (part 1)
  • Black Abolitionist Papers (1830-1865)
  • Die Deutsche Lyrik
  • Digitale Bibliothek Deutscher Klassiker
  • LGBT Magazine Archive
  • Trench Journals and Unit Magazines of the First World War
  • Twentieth Century Religious Thought III & IV
  • Women and Social Movements, International

Oxford researchers should use their SSO to gain remote access. The resources can be access via SOLO or Databases A-Z.

Art and Architecture Archive

Full-text archive of periodicals (cover-to-cover colour scans) in the fields of art and architecture. Date range: 19thC – 21stC. Subjects covered include fine art, decorative arts, architecture, interior design, industrial design, and photography worldwide.

Black Abolitionist Papers (1830-1865)

This collection covers a unique set of primary sources from African Americans actively involved in the movement to end slavery in the United States between 1830 and 1865. The content includes letters, speeches, editorials, newspaper articles, sermons, and essays from libraries and archives in England, Scotland, Ireland, Canada, and the United States. Over 15,000 items written by nearly 300 Black men and women are available for searching.

Die Deutsche Lyrik

Die Deutsche Lyrik in Reclams Universal-Bibliothek covers almost 500 years of German lyric poetry and includes the work of over 500 authors from the 15th to the 20th century. Published with the co-operation and support of Philipp Reclam jun., Stuttgart, it contains the complete text of each poem, including material such as dedications and authorial notes which are an essential part of the original volumes. Publisher’s prefaces and epilogues, introductions, editorial notes, biographies, glossaries and indices are not usually included.

Digitale Bibliothek Deutscher Klassiker

The Bibliothek Deutscher Klassiker series has been in print publication since 1981. Published with the cooperation and support of the publishers Deutscher Klassiker Verlag Frankfurt am Main, this database covers covers the works of major authors spanning eleven centuries and includes historical, philosophical, theological, political and art history texts. Collections of essays, speeches and other non-literary material add context and background material. As every individual text is edited to the same high standard, you can rely on the quality and accuracy of each edition and the collection as a whole.

LGBT Magazine Archive

The resource archives of 26 leading but previously hard-to-find magazines are included in LGBT Magazine Archive, including many of the longest-running, most influential publications of this type. The complete backfile of The Advocate is made available digitally for the first time. As one of the very few LGBT titles to pre-date the 1969 Stonewall riots, it spans the history of the gay rights movement. LGBT Magazine Archive also includes the principal UK titles, notably Gay News and its successor publication Gay Times.

Twentieth Century Religious Thought III and IV

Twentieth Century Religious Thought Library is a multivolume, cross-searchable online collection that brings together the seminal works and archival materials related to worldwide religious thinkers from the early 1900s until the first decade of the 21st century.

Vol I (Christianity) and Vol II (Islam) are already available in Oxford.

Vol III (Judaism): Focuses on modern Jewish theology and philosophy and details Judaism’s evolution from the late 19th century by examining printed works and rare documents.

Vol IV (Buddhism, Hinduism & Taois): Focuses on the various facets of Eastern Religion spanning over two-hundred years.

Women and Social Movements, International

Through the writings of women activists, their personal letters and diaries, and the proceedings of conferences at which pivotal decisions were made, this collection lets you see how women’s social movements shaped much of the events and attitudes that have defined modern life.  This digital archive includes 150,000 pages of conference proceedings, reports of international women’s organizations, publications and web pages of women’s non-governmental organizations, and letters, diaries, and memoirs of women active internationally since the mid-nineteenth century.  It also includes photographs and videos of major events and activists in the history of women’s international social movements. Additionally, there are 30 essays from leading contemporary scholars exploring themes illuminated by the primary documents in the archive.

Trench Journals and Unit Magazines of the First World War

Published by every type of military and support service unit, from every involved nation, trench journals were a means of expression through which men and women engaged in all aspects of World War I could share their thoughts and experiences.

Over 1,500 periodicals, drawn from the holdings of major libraries and research collections, including the Imperial War Museums and the British Library, make this resource the most comprehensive collection of trench journals available to scholars anywhere in one place.

This resource brings together complete runs of journals from disparate sources. Functionality allows both browsing and precision searching for editorials, advertisements, poetry, cartoons and illustrations, photographs, and obituaries, opening up opportunities for research in multiple fields: literature, history, war studies, cultural studies, and gender studies.

Bodleian New History eBooks – May 2020: The History of the British Isles

Bodleian New History eBooks – May 2020: The History of the British Isles

This royal throne of kings, this sceptred isle,
This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars,
This other Eden, demi-paradise…

(William Shakespeare, Richard II, II.1, 40-43)

The “British Isles” are defined by the Encyclopaedia Britannica simply as the “group of islands off the northwestern coast of Europe” consisting of the two main islands, Great Britain and Ireland, and numerous smaller islands and island groups, including the Hebrides, the Shetland Islands, the Orkney Islands, the Isles of Scilly, the Isle of Man, and possibly also the Channel Islands. The accompanying illustration of the “Terminology of the British Isles”, however, already contradicts the seeming simplicity of the definition.

In addition the expression itself is of course politically controversial, particularly for many people in Ireland – prompting General Editor Paul Langford in his Preface to the Short Oxford History of the British Isles to make the disclaimer that in the series they “use the words British Isles solely and simply as a geographical expression” and to reassure the readers that “[n]o set agenda is implied”. Considering the number of different peoples who at one point or another colonised, invaded, annexed, left or were driven out of various parts of the island group, and the various kingdoms, colonies or republics they founded (as illustrated beautifully in this video), the difficulty in establishing a sense of unity among these changing sovereignties and shifting boundaries is readily understandable.

Such difficulty also extends to the subject of the History of the British Isles and its scope: scholars and students of English History are often accused of ignoring the History of Britain as a whole, while those who study the History of Britain are often accused to take the inclusion of Ireland for granted, and those who want to write on or study specifically the History of Scotland, Wales or Ireland quickly find that such exclusivity can be difficult to achieve. To quote Paul Langford again, “What constitutes a concept such as British history or four nations history, remains the subject of acute disagreement, and varies much depending on the period under discussion.”

The plethora of such periods that can potentially be discussed, stemming from a recorded history of over two millennia, is not helping either – the “short” Oxford History of the British Isles spans 11 volumes from The Roman Era and Vikings and Normans to The British Isles since 1945, with individual volumes covering the 12th/13th, 14th/15th, 16th, 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries, and two full volumes dedicated to the 20th century. The subject of the History of the British Isles in the Further Honours School here at Oxford on the other hand is subdivided into seven eras from “The Early Medieval British Isles, 300-1100” via “The Late Medieval British Isles, 1330-1550” and “Liberty, Commerce and Power, 1685-1830” to finally “Changing Identities, 1900 to the present”. In short, the options for subdividing the 2000 years of history into thematically coherent segments of widely varying length are legion, from Pre-Historic Britain to The Anglo-Saxon Era, The Elizabethan Age, The Tudors, The Victorians, The Long 19th Century, The Edwardian Era, The World Wars, The Inter-War Period, Britain Post-1945, The Cold War, The Sixties, The Thatcher Era, or The 21st Century, to name only a few possibilities.

In the face of this, this blog on the new eBooks arrived at the Bodleian on the subject of the History of the British Isles cannot hope to be anywhere near comprehensive, or touch on every important, let alone every interesting era or aspect of these 2000 years. This edition, then, features a somewhat eclectic (but hopefully interesting) rather than representative sample of the various books on the wider topic which are newly available for online access. You can find all our new eBooks on our LibraryThing shelf here, and all our books tagged “Great Britain” here.

The envy of less happier lands

The 2000 years of British History have seen a lot of armed conflict, some of it occasioned by, some of it causing the changes or shifts of borders. I have chosen just three studies on the topic, two from the early modern and one from the modern era, to highlight here.

Paul E. J. Hammer’s Elizabeth’s Wars charts several of the politically and materially costly but ultimately successful military conflicts England engaged in between 1544 and 1604 under Elizabeth I. Starting with the gradual rebuilding of England’s military power on both land and sea against the double threat of France and Spain at the beginning of her reign, the study covers England’s great war with Spain in the 1580s and 1590s with its campaigns spanning the Low Countries, northern France, Spain and the Atlantic, as well as the famous Armada campaign of 1588; and also touches on the last Irish resistance to English domination which was crushed towards the end of Elizabeth’s reign. Ann Hughes’ 1991 The Causes of the English Civil War, one of the standard textbooks on the subject, is also now available online through SOLO in its second, revised edition. Hughes offers an accessible and  comprehensive guide to the historiographical debates surrounding the middle of the 17th century, with discussion not only of the political leaders and their parliaments, but of the wider European context, the general political and religious background of the era, and relevant social and cultural issues and aspects. For the 20th century, Angus Calder examines The Myth of the Blitz as a piece of World War II propaganda in a detailed discussion of the events of 1940 and 1941. While acknowledging its sustaining powers in Britain’s “finest hour”, his close scrutiny inevitably dispels a good part of a myth which rested upon the assumed invincibility of an island race distinguished by good humour, understatement, and the ability to pluck victory from the jaws of defeat by team work, improvisation and muddling through.

Dear for her reputation through the world

There is inevitable overlap with the topic of warfare in the studies of England’s and later Great Britain’s international relations, which am turning to next.

A collection of new studies on Tudor international relations, Tudor England and its Neighbours analyses important changes and continuities in England’s foreign policy between 1485 and 1603. Taking into account recent developments in cultural, gender and institutional history, the contributors discuss Tudor England’s relations with Germany, France, Spain or Scotland, examining such wide-ranging subjects as Henry VII’s pursuit of peace with France, the impact of the break with Rome and the introduction of Protestantism on England’s relations with other countries, and, yes, the inevitability or otherwise of war between Elizabethan England and Spain. The British dimension of the whole span of the American Revolution, from its origins to the Declaration of Independence in 1776 and its aftermath, is the topic of another collection of essays newly available online, Britain and the American Revolution. The nine contributions discuss Britain’s response to the blow the Revolution represented both to her Atlantic empire and to her position as a great colonial and commercial power, as well as the importance of the Revolution in the dynamics of British politics in the later 18th century. The chapters cover the problems governing the American colonies, Britain’s diplomatic isolation in Europe over the war, the impact of the American crisis on Ireland, ideological dimensions and public opinion, and the consequences of the loss of America for Britain. Imperial Britain is also the subject of Andrew S. Thompson’s beautifully titled The Empire Strikes Back?, which looks at the influence of the global superpower Britain on its colonies in Africa, Asia and America not only in terms of politics and government, but in aspects of life as varied and wide-ranging as culture, religion, law and order, health and sexuality. More than that, however, the study shows how the dependent states hit back, affecting and changing British social life and class, economics and domestic politics, and British identity itself.

Bound in with the triumphant sea

Or, as Flanders and Swann phrase it in their 1963 parodistic “Song of Patriotic Prejudice”, a work “calculated to offend practically everybody”,

The rottenest bits of these islands of ours
We’ve left in the hands of three unfriendly powers:
Examine the Irishman, Welshman or Scot,
You’ll find he’s a stinker, as likely as not!

True to this prompt to examine these nations (but obviously with rather different outcomes!), several of the new eBooks focus specifically on the history of Wales, Ireland, or Scotland.

Kathryn Hurlock’s Medieval Welsh Pilgrimage examines the Welshmen with respect to this most popular expressions of religious belief in medieval Europe, looking both at the historical and religious significance of the Welsh holy pilgrimage sites to explore what motivated pilgrims to visit these particular sites, and at Welsh pilgrims to both local and overseas pilgrimage destinations – their expectations, their engagement with pilgrimage both practically and ideologically, and their experiences and emotions on the journey and in the achievements of their ultimate goals. A very close examination of a fascinating group of Irishmen and Irishwomen is offered by R. F. Foster in Vivid Faces, which deal with the “revolutionary generation” of 1890-1923, surveying the lives and beliefs of the people who made the 1916 Irish Revolution, and their shared youth, radicalism, subversive activities, enthusiasm and love. Working from contemporary diaries, letters and reflections, Foster brings to life the members of the student societies, theatre groups, feminist collectives, volunteer militias, Irish-language summer schools, and radical newspaper offices who made the revolution, as well as the disillusionment in which it ended. Finally, Tom Devine’s 2017 Independence or Union turns to the Scots, and looks closely at the vexed and uneasy relationship between Scotland and England which has shaped the island since the Middle Ages though a continuous exchange of inhabitants, monarchs, money and ideas, both in peacetimes based on consent and mutual advantage, and in wartime characterised by force and antagonism. Devine’s study explores the relationship between the two countries from the 17th century to the present, weighing up benefits, and raising the question which has become possibly more pressing than ever since the 2016 Brexit referendum.

This happy breed of men

British Society, and the Brits themselves, are the object of a number of widely varied nwly available studies in the fields of social and cultural history.

Authority, Gender and Emotions in Late Medieval and Early Modern England collects essays on situations of authority, governance, and influence related to gender before 1600. Investigating how gender and emotions shaped the ways different individuals could assert or maintain authority, or indeed disrupt or provide alternatives to conventional practices of authority, the contributions explore case studies of women and men’s letter-writing, political and ecclesiastical governance, household rule, exercise of law and order, or creative agency.

Ideology is at the heart of two further new eBooks on British culture, both focusing on the 20th century: The Culture of Fascism explores the cultural history of fascism and the Far Right with a view to British fascism from the early 1900s not just as a political movement, but one that established a wide-reaching fascist culture reaching into film, theatre, music, literature, the visual arts and mass media. The contributions offer discussions of fascist marching songs and “Aryan” music, fascism in science, the cult of the New Fascist Man, and fascist masculinity and femininity. Peter Clarke’s Hope and Glory also looks at British society in the 20th century, considering a number of diverse aspects of three generations who lived through a century of unparalleled change. He offers a wider examination of the political, social, cultural and economic changes throughout, and how issues such as jobs and prices, food and shelter, and education and welfare have shaped the society we live in.

Finally, fundamental questions of Britishness and British identity in the 21st century are raised in Afua Hirsch’s Brit(ish): On Race, Identity and Belonging, a provocative exploration of the personal experiences of a mixed-race British woman living in a nation in denial about its imperial past, and about the racism that plagues its present. Described as a memoir with social analysis and a political and social challenge of unconscious biases, or as part historical exploration, part journalistic exposé of racism and class disadvantage in modern Britain, Hirsch’s book looks at the real world impact of concepts such as ‘racism’,  ‘prejudice’, and ‘disadvantage’ on the lives of real people, placing her own lifelong search for identity against the backdrop of a national identity crisis, and offering insights on the issues of race, identity and the multiple meanings of Britishness.

Temporary access until 30 July: Secret Files from World Wars to Cold War: Intelligence, Strategy and Diplomacy

Colleagues in the Social Science Library have organised temporary access until 30 July to Secret Files from World Wars to Cold War: Intelligence, Strategy and Diplomacy. Oxford researchers, use your SSO for remote access.

This resource provides access to British government secret intelligence and foreign policy files from 1873 to 1953, with the majority of files dating from the 1930s and 1940s.

Spanning four key twentieth century conflicts, with a spotlight on the Second World War, the material is sourced from The National Archives, U.K.

Please send feedback to Jo Gardner, Bodleian Social Science Librarian.

Library update 21/5: etextbooks, Numérique Premium trial, Sources Chrétiennes Online

In today’s update, we have news of some etextbook availability, a trial of French ebooks and a new purchase of interest to church historians.

Use SSO for remote access as usual.

VitalSource is a supplier of ebooks and etextbooks to individuals. https://www.vitalsource.com/
They are offering up to 7 free rental for UK students and academics until the end of June due to the pandemic on their Bookshelf site, as long as you sign up with your .ox.ac.uk address. Bookshelf is a sub-set of VitalSource’s complete content. Records are NOT on SOLO.

Kortext (access until June 30, 2020). Another etextbook supplier. Includes The Oxford World Classics series and a selection of other e-books and e-textbooks. Access and SOLO loading is still in process. Not hugely useful for history, compared to other subjects, but it includes e.g. E. Said’s Culture and Imperialism or P. Marshall’s Reformation England 1480-1642. Records in SOLO will be very brief and not very accurate! Best to do a keyword search.

Numérique Premium (trial until 12/6): a French Humanities e-book collection. It contains about 1,500 French-language Humanities ebooks. Access the resource via SOLO but note that records of individual ebooks are NOT on SOLO. Let Isabel Holowaty know if this is useful.

Sources Chrétiennes Online (SCO), purchased by Classics and Theology colleagues. Access the resource via SOLO. The series consists of critical editions of Christian texts in Greek and Latin, but also in oriental languages, such as Syriac, Armenian and Georgian, dating from the first 1,400 years of the Church, accompanied by a French translation as well as an introduction and notes.

Bodleian New History eBooks: May 2020 – Masculinities

Bodleian New History eBooks: May 2020 – Masculinities

The question of what makes a man a man, or what exactly is meant by “masculinity”, is one which has been asked innumerable times in recorded history in sources as different as ancient theatre and medieval chronicles, early modern letters and nineteenth-century pedagogic tracts, or 20th-century movies and self-help books. Humans, both men and women, have tried to answer it in a similarly wide range of media, not only explicitly in academic papers and studies, but both explicitly and implicitly in self-help manuals, popular culture, feminist ideas, psychoanalytic theory, or simply in the daily interactions between boys and their fathers, husbands and wives, or children and their teachers.

Ideas of masculinity are inextricably intertwined with history – in their volume on What Is Masculinity? Arnold and Brady explain that the habit of masculine domination is bound so closely both to social power and to the idea of “how things are” that it is a prime example of “history turned into nature” (p. 1). There is, then, a question of whether there is a need for a “men’s history”, or a “history of masculinity” at all – as highlighted in the March edition of this New Books blog, the aim of the feminist movement and women’s history often is to re-balance history and redress the exclusion of women from it. But since men, their lives, and their activities in the public sphere are already the substance of traditional historiography, is there really a need to re-examine historic masculinities today?

Sussman in his Masculine Identities argues that it is specifically the conflict between the historical (or even pre-historical) male image with the realities of male life today that accounts for much of the questions about and discontent with their identity in contemporary men. There is no doubt that the question is very much part of our contemporary culture – while originating in the 1990s, the term “toxic masculinity” came to prominence in media use only in the 2010s; the coinage, only half a decade ago, of such emotionally and culturally charged portmanteaus as “mansplaining” and “manspreading” points to a very current discussion of masculinity and male stereotypes; and the #MeToo movement just over two years ago highlighted a widespread hegemonic masculinity even in countries which are considered frontrunners of gender parity.

One argument for a history of masculinities is that the flip side of privilege is disadvantage, and while undoubtedly men as a group are privileged, there is much insight to be gained from considering the costs of such privileges and the ways in which not all men are granted equal access to them, whether on account of their race, class, or sexuality – similar to women’s history, gay history is a historiography which charts repression, resistance and self-discovery. The main argument for a history of masculinities, however, is that masculinity really only has meaning in relation to other identities, whether of gender, sexuality, class, age, religion, or culture – contextualisation and interconnectedness are the crucial factors. Any historical approaches to masculinity thus never stands alone – rather than a free-standing strand, the history of masculinities today can be understood as an enrichment of a large variety of other emphases, from the history of the family to women’s history, post-colonial history, workers’ history, political or cultural history. As John Tosh explains it in his chapter on “The History of Masculinity: An Outdated concept?“, a historical perspective and experience within our lifetimes shows manliness as constructed by culture and also changed by it, so that masculinity “takes its place as one lens, among several, through which the texture of society and culture may be more fully understood” (p.20). This is also the reason that we speak of masculinities in the plural, rather than masculinity in the singular – to account for the many variations of the concept in different historic era and cultures, but also in the self-perception of the individual. The new eBooks on the topic of masculinities which have been added to the Bodleian over the past weeks, and which I would like to highlight in this blog, take full advantage of the potential widths and depths of this field, and study masculinities in historic eras from Antiquity to the present, in connection with issues from class to politics, religion and magic, and in relationships from homosocial to homosexual.

Macrohistorical Masculinities

In a fascinating piece of macrohistory spanning historical eras from Antiquity until late Modernity, Aleardo Zanghellini’s The Sexual Constitution of Political Authority looks at the issues of sex and power, specifically related to homosexuality. He examines the relationship between ideas of political authority and male same-sex desire in a series of case studies of statesmen whose (sometimes only alleged) homosexuality was seen to problematize the good exercise of public powers. Studying the sometimes literal, sometimes metaphorical “trials” of same-sex desire, the book begins with the Roman emperor Hadrian and moves on to the Middle Ages and early modern period with chapters on the English kings Edward II and James I, through the Victorian Age with the Dublin Castle and the Cleveland Street scandals of the 1880s, and finally to the 20th century with the McCarthy-era and the 1950s Montagu-trials which led to the decriminalisation of homosexuality in Britain.

Greek and Roman Masculinities

Situated at the early end of these historic eras, in ancient Rome, Maud W. Gleason’s Making Men on the other hand is a fascinating piece of microhistory which compares the careers of two popular 2nd-century public speakers. Celebrities in their day, the differences of self-presentation in features such as gait, gesture, facial expression, and voice between the orator Favorinus, a eunuch, and Polemo, a man who met conventional gender expectations, offers many insights into the ways ancient Romans constructed masculinity during a time marked by anxiety over manly deportment. Halperin’s One Hundred Years of Homosexuality is another study which focuses on the question of masculinity and more broadly sexuality in Antiquity, with a look at the original “Greek love” and the erotics of male culture in ancient Greece. Contrary to his title, however, Halperin argues that the modern concept of “homosexuality” is actually inadequate for understanding this facet of sexual life in this period, and instead urges us to look at the native Greek terms which contenporaries used to construct sexuality and sexual experiences in the ancient Mediterranean world.

Early Modern Masculinities

For the early modern era, Frances Timbers singles out one particular facet of cultural history to examine gender in her Magic and Masculinity, with a study of how in early modern England, the practice of ritual or ceremonial magic both reinforced and subverted existing concepts of gender. Drawing on  records of well-known magicians such as John Dee as well as unpublished diaries and journals, contemporary literature and legal records, her examples include a wide range of practitioners from male magicians in their customary patriarchal positions of control to those who used the notion of magic to subvert gender roles, and to females who employed magic to undermine the patriarchal culture. A wider view of early modern English gender is taken by the contributors to English Masculinities, 1660-1800, a collection of specially commissioned essays which draws on diaries, court records and prescriptive literature to provide a social view of the masculine identities of late Stuart and Georgian men – from fops to gentlemen, blackguards to men of religion, and heterosexuals to homosexuals. In their efforts to explore the complex and disparate masculinities enacted by the men of this period, the different contributions touch on such a variety of topics as the correlations between masculinity and Protestantism, the connection of masculinity with taciturnity, the impact of changing representations of homosexual desire, misogyny, the literary and metaphorical representation of the body, and the roles of gossip and violence in men’s lives.

Modern Masculinities

Starting in the Victorian era, but moving into the later 20th century, Masculinities and the Nation in the Modern World provides some fresh perspectives on the role of masculinities in various processes of nation-building in the modern world between the early nineteenth century and the 1960s. The contributions concern the production and perpetuation of nationalized hegemonic masculinities in Western societies, highlighting their ambiguities in transnational contexts created by colonialism and imperialism, where transnational processes of exchange, translation, and adaptation allowed Western nations to subdue and marginalize non-Western and non-white masculinities. The individual papers collected in this volume discuss these issues with respect to the Confederate States in the 1860s, Mormon polygamy, the American family of the early 20th century, the masculine ideal in fascist Italy, competing notions of masculinity in the United States and Nicaragua, the emasculation of the Mexican community in the second half of the 19th century, or martial masculinities in late Meiji Japan. Taking up the thread at the turn of the 20th century is Helen Smith’s Masculinity, Class and Same-Sex Desire in Industrial England, 1895-1957, which explicitly focuses on the experiences of working-class men in areas outside of London, and in this offers not only a new chapter in the history of homosexuality, but also widens our more general understanding of masculinity, working-class culture, regionality and work in the period. Drawing on a wide range of primary sources on the lives of men who have been forgotten, Smith shows how, contrary to perceived ideas, same-sex desire could be a part of everyday life in the industrial towns of early 20th century England.

Finally, Anthony W. Clare’s On Men: Masculinity in Crisis offers an exploration of the challenged state of masculinity in a post-feminist society of gender equality at the turn of the 21st century. With shifting gender roles many men have lost their traditional position of  provider for their families, and modern law, family constellations and medical advances mean that men are also getting pushed out of similarly traditional roles as protectors, parents, and even procreators. Male violence is no more a source of honour and pride, but a threat to our culture and civilisation, and the dying-out of the assertive, authoritative, dominant man is mirrored by a rise in male suicides. Practising psychiatrist Clare brings his knowledge of science and medicine as well as his understanding of the human mind to this readable, fair-handed and sympathetic examination of the male in today’s society.

You can find all new eBooks on our LibraryThing shelf here, and more books on this topic tagged with “masculinity” here.

Ebooks from Cambridge University Press

We are delighted to announce that over 21,000 ebooks in Humanities published by Cambridge University Press are available to members of the University from 12 May 2020 to 31 May 2021 via their EBA (evidence-based acquisitions) programme. It joins our growing collection of ebooks in Oxford.

This will be particularly be welcomed by students revising for their exams, studying for their essays or doing research while the libraries are closed due to COVID-19.

Access requires SSO or VPN.

What is included?

All CUP books on the list are available online to University members via SOLO during this period. Any new titles newly published during this time will also be added. They can also be found directly on Cambridge Core though remember to sign in with SSO or switch on VPN first.

For History, the programme includes over 7,500 CUP ebooks, with a large number of important monographs relevant for all periods and covering global history.

How can I find a title list?

To

To see a title list of the history books available, sign into SOLO with SSO (or use VPN), go to Cambridge Core > History > Explore History Books. Pick a section and select “Only show content I have access to”.

The books are DRM-free (digital-rights-management-free), which means there are no restrictions on use such as downloading, printing or copying.

What happens in May 2021?

At the end of the period, Humanities subject librarians will make a selection of about 500 books based on appearance on reading lists and heavy use during the period. These selections will be added permanently to the ebook collection of the Bodleian Libraries.

While you are here:

Temporary access: East View ebooks / Late Qing and Republican Era Chinese Periodicals and Newspapers database

Colleagues in other Bodleian Libraries have been busy setting up trials or temporary access to resources which will be of interest to historians working on modern Slavonic, Jewish history and Chinese history. As ever Oxford scholars need to use their SSO to gain remote access.

East View e-book collection (trial until 31 May 2020)

This resource gives you access to the East View Essential Classics Collection, the Dostoevsky Research series: Dostoevskii materialy i issledovaniia as well as East View’s Slavonic and Judaica collection. In addition it offers, reference works including encyclopedias and atlases as well as e-books from a wide range of different subject areas including linguistics, philosophy science, social science, history, business, economics.

It also includes biographical works. Some of the e-books in the collection are in Russian and others are in English.

Please send feedback to Nick Hearn.

Late Qing and Republican Era Chinese Periodicals and Newspapers database (until 28 July 2020)

The database offers full-text access to Chinese periodical publications (academic, popular, literary, professional) from 1832-1949 covering a whole range of subjects including politics, history, law, language and literature, humanities and social sciences.

In addition to Chinese periodicals, the database offers access to archives of several major newspaper titles published in English in China before 1949, including North China Herald and the China Press, among many others.

Please send feedback to Mamtimyn Sunuodula.

Bodleian New History eBooks: April 2020 – Science and the Occult

Bodleian New History eBooks: April 2020 – Science and the Occult

Iam patet horrificis quae sit via flexa Cometis;

Iam non miramur barbati Phaenomena Astri.

Now we know what curved path the frightful comets have;

No longer do we marvel at the appearances of a bearded star.

Edmund Halley, “Ode on This Splendid Ornament of Our Time and Our Nation, the Mathematico-Physical Treatise by the Eminent Isaac Newton.”

The “Scientific Revolution” is understood to consist of a series of events during the early modern period that marked the emergence of modern sciences through revolutionary developments in such areas as mathematics, physics, astronomy, biology, human anatomy and chemistry. Its starting point is usually taken to coincide with the publication of Nicolaus Copernicus’s De revolutionibus orbium coelestium in 1543, while its end point is the publication of another revolutionary study, Isaac Newton’s 1687 Principia, the Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy. It would be quite easy to imagine the Scientific Revolution as the great divide between the occult and the scientific – with magic, alchemy, astrology, and  any other “practical arts held to involve agencies of a secret or mysterious nature” (as the OED defines the term “occult sciences”) on the one side, and modern sciences like chemistry, physics, biology, medicine, and astronomy on the other. But the divide, if it even exists, is nowhere near as neat.

For one, esotericism, occultism and mysticism are very much alive and flourishing, and making headlines even in the 21st century: last year US Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’ birth horoscope, drawn up by self-described psychic and astrologer Arthur Lipp-Bonewits, made “Astrology Twitter” go wild, while a coven of Brooklyn witches publicly hexed then-Supreme Court candidate Brett Kavanaugh. Alternative medicines from acupuncture to homeopathy, and from Ayurveda and therapeutic magnets to faith healing are also experiencing a considerable revival – “healing crystals”, for example, endorsed and commercialised by celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Adele and Kim Kardashian, have  become a (often shady) billion-dollar industry.

For another, evidence keeps mounting that the so-called occult sciences, especially alchemy, lie at the heart of much of the emerging modern science, and that even canonical figures of the Scientific Revolution pursued chrysopoeia seriously. Newton is a case in point – the Indiana University website Chymistry of Isaac Newton provides online access of his impressive collection of alchemical manuscripts, and even the The Cambridge Companion to Newton concedes that “[a]lthough his long engagement with alchemy did not lead Newton to his fundamental discovery of universal gravitation, it had highly significant impacts on other aspects of his science, particularly in the realms of optics and in the study of the Earth’s internal processes.” (p. 455) The “Father of Modern Chemistry”, Robert Boyle, is a similar case – surviving papers show clearly that his work on transmutational processes was integrated into his chemical research, and “document unambiguously Boyle’s lifelong chrysopoetic activities, his search for the philosophers’ stone, and his attempts to contact adepti.” (Principe, 2011, p. 308). This relationship of science with the occult does not even start and end with the Scientific Revolution – some of the outstanding figures of the very early history of medicine in Islam in the 9th and 10th century have an equal importance as alchemists, and the New Cambridge History of Islam, in its chapter on “Occult Sciences and Medicine”, labels the Islamic tradition of alchemy as “most important for the history of science”. On the other side, Modern Alchemy: Occultism and the Emergence of Atomic Theory argues convincingly that as modern nuclear physics was born, the trajectories of science and occultism briefly converged: in their joint 1902 papers on “The Radioactivity of Thorium Compounds”, Ernest Rutherford and Frederick Soddy demonstrated how radioactive elements disintegrate, releasing radioactivity and transforming into other elements in the process, a process now known widely under the same name as the supposed change of base metals into gold in alchemy – “transmutation”.

In the spirit of such relationships, this selection of History eBooks newly purchased by the Bodleian on the wider topic of “Science and the Occult” includes studies from classic occult subjects such as demononolgy and witchcraft, discussions of the occult sciences and their relationship with modern science, and books on the Scientific Revolution itself.

The Occult

We are starting off with one of the “classics” of the history of witchcraft, Demonolatry: An Account of the Historical Practice of Witchcraft, a new 2008 edition of Ashwin’s English translation of Nicolas Remy’s 1595 Daemonolatreiae, an amplification and update of the 1486 Malleus Maleficarum, and the leading witchcraft handbook of its day. In addition to defining the black arts and their practitioners, making it possible to “recognize” witches, it offers civil and religious authorities directives for persecution of the accused and punishment of the condemned – and if you need any more incentive to read, Remy’s collection of notes, opinions, and court records features lurid details of satanic pacts and sexual perversity as well as the particulars of numerous trials. Lynda Roper’s Witch Craze (2004) then illustrates how handbooks like these were put into practice, offering a gripping account of the pursuit, interrogation, torture, and burning of witches during the 16th and 17th centuries in Southern Germany. Drawing on hundreds of original trial transcripts, Roper examines the lives, families, and tribulations of the condemned witches, analysing the psychology of witch-hunting, and discussing how the depiction of witches in art and literature has influenced the characterization of elderly women in our own culture.

Religion, the Occult, and Science

Another classic study of the subject, this one concentrating on the 16th and 17th centuries in England, is Keith Thomas’ Religion and the Decline of Magic, now also available as an eBook through SOLO. Thomas analyses the connections between magic and popular religion at a time the Protestant Reformation worked to take the magic out of religion, and science and rationalism also began to challenge the older systems of beliefs held by people on every level of English society. Staying with the topic of religion, but moving a bit further into the realm of science as well as into the 18th century is Rob Iliffe’s Priest of Nature, which focuses on an often-neglected side of Isaac Newton, his private religious convictions that set him at odds with established law and Anglican doctrine. Iliffe’s discussion of Newton’s long-suppressed writings on his theological positions sheds light on the relationship between faith and science at a formative moment in history and thought, and the theological discussions that dominated Newton’s age, giving an insightful picture of the spiritual views of a man who fundamentally changed how we look at the universe.

The Occult Sciences

Two of the books newly available as eBooks discuss some of the classic occult sciences – Secrets of Nature (2001) offers eight essays on various aspects of the disciplines of alchemy and astrology in early modern Europe, from the work of Renaissance astrologer Girolamo Cardano to the astrological thinking of Johannes Kepler and Galileo Galilei, the history of the Rosicrucians and the influence of John Dee, the work of medical alchemist Simon Forman, and the existing historiography of alchemy. Connecting the occult science of alchemy with the modern scientific area of chemistry, Bruce T. Moran’s 2005 Distilling Knowledge looks past contemporary assumptions and prejudices to determine what alchemists were actually doing in the context of early modern science between 1400 and 1700. His examination of the ways alchemy and chemistry were studied and practiced show a shared territory between their two disciplines in the way the respective practitioners thought about the natural world, and even exchanged ideas and methods – to a point where he argues for accepting alchemy, on its own terms, as a demonstrative science.

The Scientific Revolution

Finally there are two books which focus on the Scientific Revolution itself. John Henry’s 1997 seminal study The Scientific Revolution and the Origins of Modern Science is a concise but wide-ranging account of all aspects of the Scientific Revolution from astronomy to zoology, and offers a guide to the most important aspects of the Scientific Revolution. Its 3rd revised and extended 2008 edition, which takes into account the latest scholarship and research and new developments in historiography, is now available as an eBook on SOLO. The 2000 volume Rethinking the Scientific Revolution, however, challenges some of the traditional historiography of the Scientific Revolution – the papers collected here reconsider canonical figures from Copernicus to Robert Boyle and especially Newton, moving from their ideas on alchemy and astrology to the influences, ideas and attitudes towards religion, theology and philosophy during this seminal period of European intellectual history.

You can find all books newly available as eBooks on our LibraryThing shelf, or check out the tag pages for “witchcraft“, “Scientific Revolution” or “alchemy” for more books on this topic!

Center for Research Libraries (CRL) – expanded digital collections

The Center for Research Libraries (CRL) has made more of its digitised holdings open. See their announcement at https://www.crl.edu/news/crl-reduces-access-barriers-nearly-10000-digitized-titles.

“Specifically, CRL has reduced access barriers to nearly 10,000 titles previously digitized through on-demand and strategic scanning. These titles were part of the more than 30,000 titles previously digitized through CRL initiatives but which had been restricted to member access. The additional resources include materials published between the 1920s and early 1960s, which may not have registered or renewed copyright in the U.S., or for which CRL perceives little risk of making accessible under “fair use” guidelines.”

The content is mixed with c 85% of the unlocked content published outside the US. The collection includes monographs, serials, newspapers and digitised archives.

The catalogue has a tab for digital material. Browse digital collections at https://www.crl.edu/electronic-resources/collections.

Bear in mind that there is still some restricted content and that not everything will be available. In addition to digitised monographs, the following digital collections will be of interest to historians:

Pamphlets and Periodicals of the French Revolution of 1848
The 1848 collection is comprised of over 100 pamphlets and periodicals from 1848 to 1851.

Digital South Asia Library
“The Digital South Asia Library provides digital materials for reference and research on South Asia, including books and journals, full-text dictionaries, bibliographies, images, maps, and statistical information from the colonial period through the present.”

Chinese Pamphlets: Political Communication & Mass Education
“Pamphlets, picture books, and other propaganda issued during the early years of the People’s Republic between 1947 and 1954. This is the “street literature” of the revolution: comic books, leaflets, and other ephemera distributed to the general population of provincial cities and villages.”

Dziennik Zwiazkowy
“The first ten years (1908–17) of Dziennik Zwiazkowy, founded in Chicago in 1908 by the Polish National Alliance. Representing local, national, and international issues of concern to the Polish community, the paper continues today as the Polish Daily News.”

Official Gazettes and Civil Society Information
A collection of official gazettes and other key historical government documentation from countries where the integrity of the public record is known to be at risk. Covers Libya, Morocco, Algeria, Iraq, Somalia, Mozambique, Sudan, Iran, Zimbabwe, etc.”

Slavery and Manumission Manuscripts of Timbuktu
Arabic nineteenth-century manuscripts relating to slavery and manumission in Timbuktu provide documentation on Africans in slavery in Muslim societies. From the Bibliothèque Commémorative Mama Haidara in Timbuktu, Mali.

The Mexican Intelligence Digital Archives (MIDAS)
“MIDAS, the Mexican Intelligence Digital Archives (los Archivos del Autoritarismo Mexicano), is a crowd-sourced, public access digital archive of historical documents from Mexican intelligence agencies. The collection is drawn from Mexico’s two principal security services, the Dirección Federal de Seguridad (DFS) and the Dirección General de Investigaciones Políticas y Sociales (DGIPS) and covers the period c.1940 to c.1985.”

Finally, Oxford has full online access to Latin American CRL digitised material until 30th June 2020. This followed LAC’s involvement in the Mellon-funded CRL Global Collections Initiative (GCI). The Latin American eresources are accessed using the GCI search box over VPN – link and instructions here: https://www.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/lac/services/center-for-research-libraries-ills.

Temporary access until 31 May: ProQuest History Vault

[partially re-blogged from VHL blog.]

The VHL has organised temporary access to the ProQuest History Vault, to support our readers wishing to access primary resources to support their studies and research during the current COVID-19 situation.
While the majority of the sources are relevant for American history (see VHL blog post, the resource also includes the following records which are not focused on US History:

 

“The British Foreign Office Political Correspondence files on Palestine and Transjordan, 1940-1948 are essential for understanding the modern history of the Middle East, the establishment of Israel as a sovereign state, and the wider web of postwar international world politics. Early records in the collection focus on events in Palestine, Britain’s policy toward Palestine, and how the situation in Palestine affected relations with other nations. The files also survey the contours of Arab politics in the wider Middle East. Since the interests, rivalries, and designs of various Arab leaders were often played out with reference to Palestine, the documents provide insight into the complex and sometimes bloody Arab world. In the 1947-1948 period, this module explores the tensions within Anglo-American relations over the creation and recognition of Israel as a sovereign state. A large section of the material is devoted to United Nations deliberations on the Palestine question. The records also illuminate the political, philosophical, and personal fractures within and between both the Jewish and Arab communities from 1940-1948.” From ProQuest History Vault LibGuide (https://proquest.libguides.com/historyvault/israel1940).

 

Nazi Looted Arts and Assets: Records on the Post WWII restitution process

“This module focuses on the diplomatic, legal and political maneuvering during and after World War II regarding German art looting in Europe, recovery of cultural objects dispersed during World War II, efforts by the U.S. and other Allied Powers to prevent the secreting of Axis assets, claims from victims for financial or property restitution from the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG), other claims cases, and meeting minutes and background materials regarding the Tripartite Commission for the Restitution of Monetary Gold. On the topic of looted art, the documents primarily relate to negotiations and litigation for return of items to legitimate owners. Many missing art treasures surfaced in the U.S., usually when individuals attempted to sell items. Notable cases included paintings by Albrecht Durer, rare postage stamps, gold medals, and historic coins.” From ProQuest History Vault LibGuide (https://proquest.libguides.com/historyvault/israel1940).

More help can be found via the ProQuest History Vault LibGuide. 

Access can be found via SOLO. Use SSO for remote access. These resources will be available for Bodleian readers until 31 May 2020.