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10th April 2014

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What is that fire?

There are no bunks but bare planks, all the way to the ceiling. Here nothing has been prettied up. With me was a woman friend of mine, Giuliana Tedeschi, a survivor of Birkenau. She pointed out to me that on every plank, 1.8 by 2 meters, up to nine women slept.  She showed me that from the tiny window you could see the ruins of the cremation furnace. In her day, you could see the flames issuing from the chimney. She had asked the older women: “What is that fire?” And they had replied: “It is we who are burning.”

Primo Levi, The Reawakening

Tagged: bookshistoryBirkenauHolocaustPrimo LeviEurope

3rd April 2014

Quote

There exist many things considerably worse than death, and the S.S. saw to it that none of them was ever very far from their victims’ minds and imagination.
— Hannah Arendt, Eichmann in Jerusalem

Tagged: bookshistorydeathEuropewarHolocaust

24th March 2014

Post with 2 notes

Mudlarks, Scufflehunters, Bludgeon Men

If we are to credit one of the most industrious investigators, Patrick Colquhoun, there were, at the turn of the [19th] century, 50,000 harlots, more than 5,000 publicans, and 10,000 thieves in the metropolis alone: his more extended estimates of criminal classes, taking in receivers of stolen property, coiners, gamblers, lottery agents, cheating shopkeepers, riverside scroungers, and colourful characters like Mudlarks, Scufflehunters, Bludgeon Men, Morocco Men, Flash Coachmen, Grubbers, Bear Baiters and Strolling Minstrels totals (with the former groups) 115,000 out of a metropolitan population of less than one million.

E. P. Thompson, The Making of the English Working Class (1963)

Tagged: historysociologycrimejargonsocial historyBritish history

24th March 2014

Post with 2 notes

The working class made itself

The making of the working class is a fact of political and cultural, as much as of economic, history. It was not the spontaneous generation of the factory-system. Nor should we think of an external force — the “industrial revolution” — working upon some nondescript undifferentiated raw material of humanity, and turning it out at the other end as a “fresh race of beings”. The changing productive relations and working conditions of the Industrial Revolution were imposed, not upon raw material, but upon the free-born Englishman — and the freeborn Englishman as Paine had left him or as the Methodists had moulded him. The factory hand or stockinger was also the inheritor of Bunyan, of remembered village rights, of notions of equality before the law, of craft traditions. He was the object of massive religious indoctrination and the creator of new political traditions. The working class made itself as much as it was made.

E. P. Thompson, The Making of the English Working Class (1963)

Tagged: historyeconomicssociologybookssocial historyindustrial revolutionworking classclassEnglandBritish history

13th March 2014

Post with 1 note

From a book about Bosch by Walter S. Gibson: “The feeling of impending doom grew particularly acute in the late fifteenth century.”

I wonder if it’s worse now.

Tagged: boschbooksdoomanxietymedievalpaintinghistory

6th March 2014

Photo reblogged from The Appendix Tumblr with 52 notes

appendixjournal:

The history behind the rocket cat.

appendixjournal:

The history behind the rocket cat.

Tagged: historycatsanimalswarfaremedievalwar

18th February 2014

Photo with 5 notes

Gustav Moreau, L’Apparition (1876), watercolour on paper, 102 × 76 cm.

Gustav Moreau, L’Apparition (1876), watercolour on paper, 102 × 76 cm.

Tagged: artpaintingGustav Moreauart historySaloméhistory

13th February 2014

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From the speechless past

One of the excitements of archaeological prehistory [is] that the past which seemed for ever gone can be brought back by the skilled use of archaeological reconnaissance, excavation, and interpretation. We are now accustomed to learn of whole civilizations being recovered from the speechless past — the Minoan and Harappan are two that come immediately to mind. We are even accustomed by now to recover the faces of the past: the dead in the Scythian barrows at Pazyrik and in the Danish peat-bog at Tollund live again after hundreds of years. But these enormous possibilities had to be learned, and the apprehension by the scholars and public of the [eighteen] seventies that Troy and Mycenae could be made to live again by the spade is one of the great moments of the development of an idea of prehistory.

Glyn Daniel, The Idea of Prehistory (1962)

Tagged: bookshistoryprehistoryclassical historyancient historyGlyn Danielarchaeology

19th December 2013

Post with 1 note

A drastic distortion in perception

When it repudiates a past paradigm, a scientific community simultaneously renounces, as a fit subject for professional scrutiny, most of the books and articles in which that paradigm had been embodied. Scientific education makes use of no equivalent for the art museum or the library of classics, and the result is a sometimes drastic distortion in the scientist’s perception of his discipline’s past.

Thomas Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962)

Tagged: sciencehistoryphilosophy of sciencehistory of sciencebooksThomas Kuhn

27th November 2013

Photo with 6 notes

Yan tan tethera pethera pimp: old sheep-counting systems in the UK

Yan tan tethera pethera pimp: old sheep-counting systems in the UK

Tagged: languagefarmingsheepnumber systemsyan tan tetheraphilologypoetrydialecthistoryCeltic languages