Culture

The definitions of what is culture may change but the practice of understanding, and unpicking cultural history is an important dimension to understanding any historical period. In this section articles explore the way that definitions of culture have changed and how those changes have affected values and attitudes.  The impact of the written word on fashions and ideas and the role of historic movements such as the renaissance are all addressed in this section.

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  • Does historical fiction matter for children?

    Article

    Can you remember a book from when you were young that took you to another place that was fascinating, intriguing and felt real but wasn’t Narnia? Quite often those books were historical fiction; sometimes they were more fiction than history and sometimes vice versa. While the Ladybird histories were some people’s...

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  • Out and About in Haworth

    Article

    Kimberley Braxton takes a tour of Brontë country, through Haworth and onto the iconic Yorkshire Moors that were central to Wuthering Heights. Haworth is a place for walkers; even before you reach the breathtaking moors it is likely your legs will already be burning from climbing the steep Yorkshire terrain....

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  • Linking Law: Viking and medieval Scandinavian law in literature and history

    Article

    Ongoing interdisciplinary developments have cast light on the surprisingly sophisticated world of Viking-age and medieval Scandinavian law and its wide-ranging influence in these societies. In many ways, the Viking Age and its inhabitants are more familiar than ever before. From video games to television and films, new narrative frontiers and bigger...

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  • The Memory of a Saint: Managing the legacy of St Bernard of Clairvaux

    Article

    When Bernard of Clairvaux died in 1153, the Cistercian Order was faced with a problem. The self-proclaimed ‘chimera of his age’ had enjoyed an unusual and varied monastic career, as abbot of the Cistercian monastery of Clairvaux and papal confidante, making him remarkably well-known for a monk. At the funeral the...

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  • Blurred Lines: the ever-decreasing distinction between fiction and nonfiction

    Article

    Everyone who studies history would love to visit the past. Few of us would like to stay for long, I suspect – if unfamiliar viruses did not finish us off within days, the superstitious locals might – but a visit would be nice. The ability to do so would settle a...

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  • Show and Tell: three Branch book events

    Article

    When members of the Glasgow and West of Scotland Branch were invited to share their views on ‘Books that Changed History’, not all the contributions were as overtly revolutionary as Thomas Paine’s Common Sense nor as familiar as the King James Bible. Marie Davidson and Richard Binns tell us more....

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  • Gone with the Wind: a great book?

    Article

    HA President Tony Badger examines the historical context which shapes our understanding of Margaret Mitchell’s enduring novel. I had been a historian of the American South for 50 years and like Ringbaum, I had a secret. I had never read Gone with the Wind. As I came up to retirement...

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  • Willington and the Mowbrays: After the Peasants' Revolt

    Article

    Willington and the Mowbrays: After the Peasants' Revolt, Dorothy Jamieson, Bedford Historical Record Society Vol 95, Boydell Press, 2019, 241p, £25-00, ISSN 0067-4826. At one level this scholarly and meticulous study introduces us to the Willington neighbourhood in Bedfordshire. Based on Dorothy Jamieson’s careful transcription of its manorial court rolls,...

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  • Literary Trails: Haworth and the Brontës

    Article

    Literary Trails: Haworth and the Brontës, Catherine Rayner and David Walford, Pen and sword History, 2018, 276p, £14-99. ISBN 9781526720856 Crossing the moors in West Yorkshire, even in mid-summer, there is a sense of being remote in what clearly at times is a challenging and bleak landscape. It is in...

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  • My Favourite History Place: Petra

    Article

    Ghislaine Headland-Vanni visits the ancient city of Petra, in Jordan. When you hear the word ‘Petra’ what images does the word conjure up for you? Maybe you have visited and know it already; if not, then like me you may not fully comprehend its size. I naively thought I could...

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  • Elizabeth Jennings: The Inward War

    Article

    Elizabeth Jennings: The Inward War, Dana Greene, Oxford University Press, 2018, 258p, £25-00. ISBN 978-0-19-882084-0. This biography contains much detail on Elizabeth Jennings’ life and poetry. Jennings (1926-2001), born into a Roman Catholic family in Oxford, was often depressed, guilt-ridden, needy and lonely. However, for long periods of her life she...

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  • A European dimension to local history

    Article

    Trevor James raises the prospect of broadening our approaches to local history to take a wider European perspective. When Professor W. G. Hoskins published his The Making of the English Landscape in 1955, he taught us how to observe and understand the topography of our landscapes, urban and rural, and...

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  • George Eliot and Warwickshire history

    Article

    David Paterson explains how George Eliot’s vivid memory of her childhood in north Warwickshire is revealed through her novels. George Eliot, born 200 years ago this year, is one of our greatest novelists, born and brought up in Warwickshire, a county in which she spent the first 30 years of...

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  • My Favourite History Place: Erbil Citadel, Iraq

    Article

    Andy Reid reveals that enthusiasm for a particular historic site can develop over a number of years with more familiarity with the setting. Erbil Citadel is claimed to be the oldest continuously occupied human settlement in the world. The site is roughly circular, occupying a plateau about a quarter of...

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  • Petit’s Tours of Old Staffordshire

    Article

    Petit’s Tours of Old Staffordshire, Philip Modiano, RPS Publications, 2019, 180p [with 185 images], £14-00. ISBN 978-1-9164931-0-0 Occasionally a remarkable book appears on a most unexpected topic. Philip Modiano’s research into the life and creative output of the Reverend John Louis Petit is just one such work. Modiano presents this...

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  • Dr Joseph Parry: the story of Wales’ greatest composer

    Article

    Colin Wheldon James introduces us to a 19th-century Welsh composer who deserves far greater recognition for his achievements in Wales as well as in England and America.

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  • National distinctions entirely laid aside?

    Article

    Bethan M. Jenkins considers why it was important to Lewis Morris and others to have the distinctive Welsh contribution to British history and culture properly acknowledged.

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  • Yr Ysgwrn: keeping the door open

    Article

    Naomi Jones describes a Welsh poet who has left a different kind of memorial to the First World War.

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  • My Favourite History Place: Llanelly House and Saint Elli’s Church

    Article

    There are so many delightful places of historical interest in Wales that it is very difficult to select just one or two as favourites but among contenders must be those visited by the Pontllanfraith Branch of the Gwent Historical Association in August 2018...

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  • Aunt Branwell and the Brontë Legacy

    Article

    Aunt Branwell and the Brontë Legacy, Nick Holland, Pen and Sword History, 2018, 160p, £12-99. ISBN 9781526722232. Nick Holland offers a very constructive and helpful introduction to the life and achievements of Elizabeth Branwell, ‘Aunt Branwell’ to the four Brontë children who survived into adulthood.  He is already a biographer...

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